Web design is a part of a process known as the web development process. Besides the design component (which is handled by web designers), the website development process has several other components. One of those is the web programming component – aimed at enhancing the underlying functionality and interactivity of the ‘plain’ website rendered by the web designers. Another component is the copywriting component, aimed at populating the ‘plain’ website rendered by the designers with content. Yet another component is the search engine optimization component, which is aimed at promoting and improving the visibility of the websites.
Now strictly speaking, web design professionals are only required to know how to come up with website layouts, and fine tune the aesthetics of the websites (to come up with ‘professional looking’ websites). But they are not required to possess the advanced web development skills, such as the previously mentioned web programming or search engine optimization skills. Yet we see many web designers opting to go out of their way to acquire such advanced web development skills (notwithstanding the fact that they don’t really have to). A question arises as to why they go to such lengths. And that is where we come to learn that there are at least four factors that motivate the web design professionals to acquire such advanced web development skills. Briefly, the web designers typically acquire the advanced web development skills in a bid:
To enhance their (real world) employment prospects. The way the manpower market works in this area is such that possession of the said advanced web development skills by web designer is regarded as some sort of an ‘added advantage.’ This means that, most employers, given the choice between employing a web designer with such skills and another web designer who lacks such skills, will unhesitatingly opt for the one with the advanced web development skills. This means that a web designer who lacks such skills will always be at a disadvantage, when looking for jobs. To overcome that jinx, the web designer in question has to acquire the advanced web development skills.
To enhance their earnings. Even where employers hire web designers who lack advanced web development skills, they tend to pay them peanuts. On the other hand, web designers with advanced web development skills, whom employers desire greatly, tend to have better bargaining power, when it comes to pay issues.
To be of greater service to their employers/clients. This is where web designers who are already employed and earning well nonetheless feel inclined to acquire such skills, in a bid to be of greater use to their employers or clients. This is also a job protection strategy, seeing that such designers risk losing their well paying jobs should, better-equipped designers come into the picture. Thus, they acquire the advanced web development skills in a bid to protect their ‘turfs.’
To keep up with peers. This is the scenario where the acquisition of the advanced web development skills by some web designers has the effect of pushing the other designers (who don’t want to be left behind) to acquire such skills. It is a situation where the latter group of designers is inclined to view the acquisition of advanced web development skills by their peers as a threat. They thus start figuring out ways of warding off/neutralizing that threat. And more often than not, they come to the conclusion that the only way to ward off the threat, and keep themselves professionally relevant, is by acquiring the advanced web development skills.
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