Difference between Web designer and Web developer

This is what most people are usually thinking of when they talk about web careers. The web publishing group is responsible for creating, posting, changing and maintaining the web pages on a web site. Although there can be many different positions within a web publishing group, the most common is web developer. Many tasks are often associated with the role of web developer. Programmers, graphic artists and site designers all can fall under this catchall title. But generally, the responsibilities are split between the artistic endeavors and the programming tasks. Therefore, we will concentrate mainly on two common careers: web developer (programmer) and web designer (site designer). However, depending on the size of the company and the web development group, these roles can often both be assigned to the same individual.

Web Developer (Programmer)

After the content is created, someone has to take it and format it into web pages. This is the responsibility of the web developer. Using a blend of programming, artistic and business skills, the developer weaves the content into an engaging format to keep folks riveted to the web site. In addition, developers are also involved in overall site design (in conjunction with the web designers) and usability testing. Interaction with network administrators and database administrators is also frequently required.

The main task of the developer is to generate code for web pages. This usually involves the use of a web development tool such as Dreamweaver, FrontPage, GoLive or Visual Interdev. In addition, good web developers are also expected to be familiar with graphic editing packages (such as Adobe Photoshop) since making changes to the formats of graphics is a common task when developing web pages. Therefore, make sure you have training in at least one of these packages (preferably two) prior to applying for a web development job.

Web Designers (Site Designer)

Site designers and web developer roles can be very similar depending upon the organization. However, web designers usually have a more artistic background and training in interface design (as opposed to developers who have more training in programming). The site designer’s main function is to develop an effective interface between the customer, company management and the web development team.

The designer must ensure that the site design helps management effectively communicate its message to the customer while still maintaining customer functionality of the site. This delicate juggling act is more art than science. Often site designers end up being the project managers for the web site since they tend to interface with all groups responsible for development and maintenance of the web site. Therefore, strong communication skills are a requirement of this job.