Difference Between Web Designer and Web Developer

Planning to launch a website? Who will you hire for the job: a web developer or a web designer? It is so easy to get mixed up with the two. A career in web development or web design are both appealing and rewarding. They both involve working with a website and include courses in HTML and CSS. Web developers and web designers need coding and programming skills. 


In order to determine which career path to take, you need to determine the difference between being a web developer and a web designer. In this article, we shall help you understand the difference between a web developer and a web designer. 

  • Role & Function 
  • Skills Needed
  • Tools Needed
  • When To Hire A Designer and A Developer 

1. Role & Function 

Both web designers and web developers have an important role in site construction. However, they have different functions. Knowing the difference will help you in deciding which one to hire for a project. 

Web Developer 

A web developer builds a website from the ground up. Web developers build the core structure of a website using complex coding techniques and advanced programming languages. Web developers are also called programmers because they convert the design created by web designers and convert it into a fully functioning website. 

Web development involves a lot of technical work. They perform testing and debugging and handle a wide range of post-launch services like providing ongoing support and maintenance and fixing server or hosting issues. Web developers configure the server and database on the back end and incorporate user-facing features and functionality. 

Web developers use programming languages like HTML, CSS, and Javascript in creating websites and applications. Most likely, they will also use other languages for setting up email services, user authentication, databases, and other technical aspects of a website. Web developers will have a specialization or focus. There are three types of web developers:

  • Backend Developer. These types of developers work on all functions that occur behind the scenes on websites like coding databases, server frameworks, and advanced programming languages like PHP, Java, and Ruby. 
  • Frontend Developer. Frontend developers code everything visible to the user when interacting with a site. They use HTML, CSS, Javascript, and other coding languages in creating visual elements appearing on your pages. Frontend developers often collaborate with designers when building different features or elements on a website. 
  • Full-Stack Developer. From the name itself, full-stack developers can pretty much do it all. They are a jack-of-all-trades in web development, they work on both frontend and backend of the website.       

Web Designer 

Web designers are tasked with making websites look good. They focus on the style and overall feel of the page. Their job is to make the website aesthetically pleasing and user-friendly at the same time. Web designers focus on the style and overall feel of websites using different software like Photoshop, Corel Draw, and others to make the website more appealing. 

Just like web developers, designers also perform some post-launch services like content creation and updates, maintenance and monitoring services, and ongoing performance checks. Designers take into consideration how their design affects the coding of the website. They create a site structure and mockup. There are three types of web designers. 

  • User Experience (UX) Designers. UX designers help ensure that the website is structured in a way that is engaging to visitors and delivers a positive experience. Their role is to create human-centric designs based on data-driven decisions. UX designers do a lot of research and testing for data gathering and analysis.
  • User Interface (UI) Designers.  UI designers play an important role in the design of a website. They prioritize interactions and enhance the usability of a website and optimize in a way that will encourage conversions. 
  • Visual Designers.   As the name suggests, visual designers work with the layout and visual elements of a website. The visual design combines elements of both UX and UI as they ensure that the interface is both aesthetically pleasing and easy to use. 

2. Skills Needed 

To become successful, web designers and web developers need to possess certain skills: 

Web Designer 

  • Creativity and creative problem solving
  • Understanding of design principles
  • Photo editing and graphic design
  • Familiarity with various coding languages
  • Detail-oriented
  • Interpersonal skills
  • Communication and customer service
  • Knowledge of marketing and business strategy
  • SEO experience
  • Project management

Web Developer 

  • Familiarity with front-end coding languages such as HTML, CSS, and Javascript 
  • Knowledge of backend coding languages like PHP, Java, and Ruby 
  • Experience with content management systems and ecommerce platforms
  • Interpersonal Skills
  • Analytical Skills
  • Multitasking 
  • Creative Problem Solving
  • Experience with APIs
  • Project Management
  • Communication Skills

Aside from the above technical skills, there are also some non-technical skill sets that come in handy as a web developer. During the debugging process, problem solving and analytical thinking skills will come in handy. 

 3. Tools Needed 

Here are some tools that web developers and web designers need: 

Web Developers: 

  • Code editors
  • Version control systems
  • Web application frameworks 
  • Frontend application frameworks 
  • Project management tools 
  • Prototyping tools 
  • Internal communication software 

Web Designers: 

  • Content management systems
  • Wireframing tools 
  • Debugging tools 
  • User testing tools 
  • Graphics editor 
  • Project management software 
  • Screen design tools 
  • Internal communication software 

When To Hire Web Designer vs Web Developers

Planning to launch your website? Wouldn’t it be great to have both a web designer and web developer working together to ensure the success of your website? The truth of the matter is that it is not necessary to hire them both for such a project. If you are looking to build a website it will all depend on your goals and vision to decide who you will hire. Let’s cite some examples to help you with your hiring decision. 

These are the common instances when a web designer needs to be hired: 

  • Design of a new homepage layout 
  • Conceptualize new website branding 
  • Edit photos and videos 

Projects requiring a web developer: 

  • Building a new Contact Us form 
  • Creating a mobile app 
  • Fixing server/hosting issues 

When you find yourself confronted with choosing which one you will hire between a web designer or web developer, it really depends on the situation. For example, if you prefer to do it yourself and want some assistance with enhancing the look of your website, then a web designer is the right guy for the job. However, if you are looking for an ambitious design for your website that requires lots of time and effort, a web developer is the best person for the job. 

If you are building a website from scratch, you need to hire both a developer and a designer. You will also need both a developer and designer to make sure that your site looks great and is completed on time. 

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Just finding the right resource can be a job in and of itself. Instead, our recruiting staff and service delivery managers work with all our resources to assign your job to the person best qualified for your request. Submit your custom task and you’ll be assigned the perfect specialist to complete it for you with a no-nonsense inclusive price.


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