For the past 6 months or so I have been hearing the term “Devigner” or “Hybrid” floating around the Flash industry. While having many talents may be a wonderful thing in small-scale agencies and freelance work, I don’t believe that the skills of a Designer and a Developer should be looked for in the same individual.
I started out in the industry as a graphic designer and web developer but quickly came to realize that the more code I wrote, the less design prowess I had. The trend in the industry to find a hybrid developer / designer is a good idea on the surface but has many flaws. I have always been a fan of the phrase “jack of all trades, master of none”. While it is a great asset to know a little bit about what is happening on the other side of the fence, it should stay on the other side of the fence.
Both designers and developers are creative and skillful in their own ways so why should they try to do it all? I have worked on countless projects where I have been put on a project that was “almost completed” by a designer. Upon getting the files, I am told that I just have to do a little bit of optimization and get the files delivered ASAP. More often than not, once I take a look at the files it is obvious that they need a LOT of work. The designers that I work with are spectacular at what they do, but when they try writing code I am given files that take hours just to understand.
If you would like to be a developer, take a course or two and practice. I didn’t learn to write code over night, nor do I try and create complex designs expecting a designer to pick it up and think it was a job well done. There is a lot more than just being able to write a frame script in Flash that goes into being a good developer, especially when you are creating international pieces.
When I am busy and on a tight deadline, I don’t want to (nor do I have the time to) spend hour after hour ripping apart a project just to re-write 90% of the code that went into the “almost completed” version.
An ideal situation for me is to be able to sit down with a designer as they are starting to work on a project and come up with boundaries and share ideas. I respect their skills and would like to utilize them as much as possible. Just as it isn’t efficient for me to rewrite an application from them, it isn’t efficient for them to spend days creating things that could have been automated with a little bit of code. It is also inefficient for them to realize that it can be done with code and try to do it on their own.
So next time you are thinking about becoming a hybrid or hiring one, take into account the fact that it isn’t as easy or productive as you might think.