Do UI and UX designers need to code?

One of the most common questions from the field of UX is about programming. Do UI and UX designers have to code? Here’s your answer.

Do UI and UX designers need to code?

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Do UI and UX designers need to code?

No. As a UI and UX designer you do not have to code. However, that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t. There are numerous benefits to being able to code as a designer.

As a UX designer, our work takes place during the early steps of the larger product development process. At that time, the project is still in a concepting phase. Nonetheless, there are many companies that expect you to be able to code, but not all companies are that way. If you do not want to code or do not know how you can find a company where you do not have to.

However, that does not mean you shouldn’t be able to code. The very least you can do is have a basic understanding of programming. There are a few reasons why being able to code as a UI/UX will benefit you greatly.

The benefits of knowing how to code as a UX designer

As a designer you are building bridges between the business and users. You are a facilitator and a connector. This also applies to your role within the office. In any UX job you will have to collaborate with roles like business analysts and developers.

This means that there are quite a bit of situations where knowing how to code might be a useful thing to have.

  • You will have to collaborate with developers. Knowing how they do their work makes your work as a UI/UX designer a lot easier.
  • You know technical restrictions beforehand. This will speed up your work and prevent you from having to start over and do your work twice.
  • You can prototype your work by yourself in tools like Axure for example.

You do not have to code per se, but being able to do so brings many benefits. It will provide you with an edge over competitors when you’re trying to land a job or a new client.

Which programming language should I start with?

If you do decide you want to learn to code as a UI and UX designer the safest bet would be to start learning about HTML, CSS and JS. In addition to that, understand what front-end and back-end is, how applications work and how servers work.

Further reading

UX design is a tech job. However, that doesn’t mean you need to code. Your focus is on the user experience of tech. Yet, knowing how to code can be a valuable skill to any UX designer.

Maybe you’re the UX unicorn everyone in UX is looking for!

Do you have feedback on this article? Missing something? Or just a question? Reach out to me and I’ll get back to you!

Profile picture of author Nick Groeneveld, a senior UX designer and mentor for The Designer's Toolbox

About the author

Hi! I'm , a senior designer from the Netherlands with experience in UX, visual design, and research. I have completed a wide range of projects in finance, tech, and the public sector.

Take a look at my LinkedIn and Medium for more.