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Being a software developer doesn’t give you any sort of license to design beautiful things, particularly when you can’t draw, like me. Yet every development role I’ve ever been employed in has required some sort of UI design, and in most cases a small amount of web design. Understandably on larger projects the work is more cleanly split between developers and designers, but on the small-medium end of project sizes it’s reasonable to expect that a developer can do more than just write lines of code.

In the two rounds of computing studies I have undertaken I’ve found that design theory has been grossly understated, to the point where it’s almost non-existent. Obviously web design is a field in its own right, and for a comprehensive education in this area you don’t study Computer Science. Why though, is design not more integrated throughout Computer Science and related degrees, even if only very mildly?

If you were to use the assignments and pracs used throughout the Software Engineering degree I completed (similar to a Computer Science degree) as a guide to what I would be spending my career doing, I’d spend 90% of my time developing console applications that read some input, do something, and produce some output. Sure this is the easiest way to learn about data structures, algorithms, and the theoretical side of computing, but I find myself with a gaping hole in my skill-set with respect user experience and design.

For now I’ll be hitting the books and trying to get myself up the curve, but at some point I may need to do some formal PD in this area.

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