I'm apparently a unicorn

About 2 min reading time

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If you’re looking for a designer who can come up with your identity, design your site, create UIs with great user experience for your web and mobile apps, and on top of that code his or her work in HTML/CSS (and why not throw in Javascript in the mix!), then I’m sorry to inform you that you’re hunting unicorns.

Sacha Greif – The Next Web, 2012 Follow the linked article above and read about why startups today can't find decent designers. Further down the article I think the author pinpoints two issues:

  • Companies want "unicorn designers/developers", "ninjas", or "rockstars", or <insert corny brogrammer term here>.
  • Their demands are set too high. Let younger guys and girls in.

There are two sides of the designer-developer hybrid part. In the web world front-end code and design are so close together these days, and I think it's wrong and a mistake to focus on only one of those two. Sure: you could get by, but wouldn't it be boring not to be able to implement your own designs? Or never be able to create something nice for your own without, say Twitter's Bootstrap?

In the native world where the "front-end" code generally is a bit heavier and hard-core, I can see how designers really are designers, and developers are developers (if you can do both: awesome!). Personally I think it's easier to do both code and design in the web world.

The article says there are few "unicorn" designers/developers, e.g. hybrids. For me it's a matter of interest and a never ending thirst of knowledge: I want to learn advanced Javascript patterns as I read about typography and grid techniques.

Unicorns do exist! How to become one? Never stop moving. If you are one? Consider yourself lucky, and start choosing your next employer with care.


Also, read the Hacker News comments on the linked article. I've also written related posts about designer-developer hybrids: