Web Designer vs Web Developer: Key differences & Career comparison

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It’s an age of digitalization. People are heading toward online platforms. So, businesses want to boost their presence and make high-end sales. Well, high sales numbers are possible. Yet, they need to think of a few aspects. For example, the structure and layout of their company’s website. This is where the roles of a web designer vs a web developer come into play.

Both roles tend to appear similar. They often work together to build a good website. But, the roles of a web designer vs web developer are different. This article will break down the web designer vs web developer roles. Also, we’ll discuss how to choose between the two paths.

Let’s get started!

What Is A Web Designer?

A web designer is responsible for the way your website looks. They aim to make your website attractive and user-friendly. Also, they add conversion-generating elements. Thus, they build marketing websites. They also ensure that all your pages are easy to open.

They discuss the client’s needs before they work on website design. Then, they gather all the essential data and create a website space. They also record the user experience. 

What Does A Web Designer Do?

A web designer works on web design. And, what is web design? It is the layout of a website or web page. Web designers create new website layouts. Or, they may update existing ones. So, they work on how a website looks to the user. When we talk about a web designer vs web developer, a developer codes to bring these online designs to life.

Types of Web Designers

UI Designer

A website’s interface, or how a website appears, is the responsibility of UI designers. They decide how to present a brand in a style so that it appeals to people. So, UI designers must understand branding through color and web design concepts (a design project management tool). Also, they research the client’s field and the target audience. They use specific tools to design. For example, Sketch (a collaborative design program) and InVision.

UX Designer 

UX designers make sure the website structure is sound. It must engage visitors. Also, they must get a great experience. So, UX designers make human-focus designs based on data-driven decisions. So, they research a lot to gather and analyze data. Then, they create a final design. 

Web designer with visuals

Visual web designers work with the layout and visual elements of a website. Both UI and UX are their areas of expertise. They make sure that the interface is easy to use. Also, it should please the users.

What is a web developer?

A web developer is a person responsible for building and maintaining the core structure of a website. It needs a lot of technical work. For example, complex coding and programming languages. They take the concepts laid out by designers. Then, they turn them into fully-functioning websites.

What does a web developer do?

A web developer is known to do various tasks for keeping a website in working condition. Their target will vary based on your work environment. But, their work involves the following:

  • Incorporating multimedia into a website
  • Testing web applications 
  • Solving issues with user experience or performance 
  • Cooperating with stakeholders, designers, and developers 

Types of Web Developers

Comparing a web designer vs web developer, there are three types of web developers. Let us discuss it:

Front end developers

These developers focus on the website’s face. They make sure it strikes a chord with the users. They code the actual website for web development. So, their web development abilities include CSS, HTML, JavaScript, and other languages, as well as Content Management Systems (CMS) such as WordPress.

Back-end developers

Back-end developers code the database and server. They use programming languages. For example, PHP, C#, Java, Ruby, SQL, and NodeJS. Their work includes the ‘behind the scenes of a website. 

Full stack

Full-stack developers do front and back-end web development. They have a solid understanding of how these parts function. They use CSS, HTML, and JavaScript. Also, they set up and configure servers, Application Programming Interfaces, query databases, etc.

The Role of a Web Designer

So, what does a web designer do? A web designer’s primary duty is to check that the website outlook is great. They make sure the website appeals to the target audience. But, these days, the even a simple web design requires new capabilities. For example, website upkeep, user experience design, and search engine optimization. There is no longer a distinct difference between a web designer vs web developer. So, they seek to diversify their skill set.

●  Web designers are entrusted with considering user experience and strategies. They make websites visually appealing. 

● They check how users interact with websites. For example, the first thing people do when a page loads.

● They learn Search Engine Optimization (SEO) strategies. To be specific, on-page SEO is a vital part of web design. 

● They also keep up with off-page SEO to bring traffic after website creation.

The Role of a Web Developer

And, what does a web developer do? A web developer builds and maintains websites. They also create a unified and user-friendly online gateway for clients, customers, co-workers, and others. They aim to create websites that users want to connect with. So, they combine content, photos, graphics, videos, and other tools.

● A web developer helps create codes to make a proper, functioning website.

● They also make sure that the website’s maintenance is not hampered. 

● They take care that the backend of the website has no glitches. Glitches affect website performance. 

How do web designers and web developers’ portfolios differ?

Developers use some platforms to showcase their excellent coding work samples. For example, GitHub and Behance. This shows other developers how they can work. They showcase their code to improve it and make it readable. This is what the portfolio of a web designer vs web developer looks like:

Web developer portfolio

Web developers use GitHub to showcase their excellent coding work samples. Portfolios exemplify their skills as well as their previous works.  

Web design portfolio

Web designers showcase their creativity on certain websites. For example, Behance.com and Dribble.com. These websites allow designers to show their originality, graphic designing skills, and mastery of color schemes. 

Web Designer vs Web Developer: What’s the Difference?

● The structure, usefulness, and visual appeal of a website are its main elements. A web designer focuses on the site’s look and usability. But, a web developer aims for good functionality and structure.

● A web developer must have solid technical knowledge. For example, complex programming languages and frameworks. But, the role of a web designer is less technical. It is concerned with visual and creative elements.

● A web designer ideates the website’s look. Then, they create a mockup based on visual, UX, and UI elements. But, a web developer checks if the concept is financially and technically feasible. If yes, then they code the site.

● A web developer uses coding libraries, frameworks, code versioning, and issue tracking platforms. For example, GitHub, Jira, hosting control panels, FTP clients, and CMS platforms. But, a web designer uses design editing software, website builders and CMS. For example, Photoshop, WordPress, and Elementor. They also use wireframing and prototyping tools.

How much does a web designer vs a web developer charge?

The cost of hiring a web designer vs web developer depends on many variables. It includes the size and scope of the project. But, web design is less expensive than website development.

Comparing the salary of a web designer vs web developer, developers charge between $100 and $175 per hour. On the other hand, web designers charge between $50 and $100. This amounts to annual earnings for web developers of $70,000 to $90,000. While for web designers, the annual earnings are around $50,000 to $75,000.

What does that entail for your spending plan? 

For a straightforward one-page website, a web designer may charge as low as $50. While a 20-page website with plenty of content may cost $5,000. Suppose you want a comprehensive website with specialized functions. A web developer can charge more than $10,000. This includes hosting and making online stores. Many a time, mobile apps cost $50,000 or even more.

What kind of salaries can web designers and web developers expect to earn?

Each profession has a different range of earnings. The actual cost varies depending on the work, area, and level of seniority. So, the average yearly wage for a web designer salary in the US is $57000. It is important to note that the wage ranges change significantly between roles. For example, UI designers earn more money than other designers. On the other hand, a web developer salary is slightly more than a web designer. A web developer makes between $65,000 and $75,000 per year in the US.

What tools do web designers and web developers use?

Tools that a web design vs web development project needs are different. Both are important to creating a great website. Here we mention a few tools that they use.

Tools for web developers

  • Computer languages such as HTML and CSS
  • Coding libraries and frameworks such as Python and Javascript
  • Code versioning and tracking platforms such as GitHub and Jira
  • FTP clients
  • CMSs such as WordPress 

Tools for web designers

  • Graphic design applications – Adobe Photoshop, Illustrator, Inkscape, and GIMP
  • CMS platforms such as WordPress
  • Prototype and wireframe tools such as Adobe XD

Hiring : Web Designer vs Web Developer

A web designer vs web developer is needed for different requirements. But, teamwork makes the website dream a reality. But, to be specific, you need a web designer if you have a detailed professional website design in mind. You may want to add images, sounds, or graphics. And, your aim could be to make an appealing site. Thus, you need a web designer.

On the other hand, you need a web developer if you want to change the core structure of your site. You may want someone to take care of your site or add complex features. Or, your current site might need many changes and different content. In such a case, you can hire a web developer.

Web development vs web design: Best career option?

Choosing between both careers is confusing. You can make it simple by thinking about the aspects of website creation that most interest you. For instance, are you drawn to the idea of website coding? Or, do you like the visual design? If the latter suits you and you can answer the question “what is web development?” working as a web developer in a web development company would be more ideal. Otherwise, a web design career in a web design agency is good for you.

Furthermore, you may also expand your skills and advance your career. Books, online classes, and development tools can help you do that. You can learn about web designing and website development.

It will be helpful for you to start looking at some internet resources. After that, you may begin chasing web design jobs or web development jobs based on your interests, future scope and growth. 


By now, you must be aware of all the differences between a web designer vs web developer. So, keep in mind the different skill sets involved in web design and development. If you’re drawn to the technical side. But, if you’re more into color theory, branding, and other creative elements, a web designer is a more practical career choice.

Both web designers and web developers play a vital role in building and maintaining websites. In the end, the two roles depend on each other to create a great website. But, the main difference between a web designer vs web developer is that a developer focuses on technical aspects of the project, while a designer handles the visual and conceptual work. So, you can consider the web design vs web development concept to decide on a career path for you. Websites are incredibly important for businesses. So, both roles are promising in the longer run. Web design and development are here to stay.

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