I code, therefore…

As someone with a broad (I like to think) digital skillset, I still feel uncomfortable describing myself as a developer, although I do admit to putting it on my CV sometimes to make life easier.

Recently I’ve been describing myself as a designer and coder. The ‘designer’ part is relatively straightforward; my background is in graphic design and communication. The label of designer covers a wide range of disciplines — a few of which I can claim a fairly decent amount of knowledge and experience in.

The ‘developer’ label I find more problematic. My personal definition of a developer is someone who works with programming languages, or in layman’s terms: someone who builds things that do stuff. An engineer. They might use javascript, Ruby, C#, PHP or whatever. The fact is, beyond a WordPress post loop and a few rudimentary javascript functions, my programming knowledge is basic at best. I understand some of theory, but I have little academic practise to back it up.

However, I do spend a lot of my time working with code, designing with code even.

And this is why I prefer describing myself as a coder; the interpretation is broader (yey for semantics). In the same way that ‘designer’ covers a whole spectrum of disciplines, the word ‘coder’ can be applied to anyone who spends the majority of their time working with code — which sometimes I do.

Within the spectrum of coding, the languages I work with, HTML, CSS (including preprocessors like Sass), are markup languages, not programming languages. They deal with content and style. For me, they are the logical extension of the design and communication skillset I’ve built up over the years.

This is why describing myself as a developer is inaccurate. But sometimes I do put it on my CV because ‘designer’, ‘UX designer’ or even ‘hybrid designer’ still tends to imply that I can’t code. Which is a shame, because I’m a designer and I love coding.