I’ve been working at prairieFyre Software Inc. for the last 6 years. I was hired here to the Applications teasm as a junior developer. Through my time here I’ve transitioned roles from bug crusher to build master to TFS guru and out to deployment specialist. prairieFyre doesn’t employ any designers, only developers. I’ve decided, because I find this role so interesting, to branch out my skills into a D/D (Developer/Designer).
I’ve been working on rebuilding a deployment mechanism from the ground up over the last year or so. It’s gone through many iterations, prototypes were trashed, started anew, and now I’m nearing the home stretch. I’ve grown a lot as a designer over this project, but most of that involved swinging in the dark. One major turning point from my prototyping period was reading up on Windows Metro style (Now known as Windows 8 Style due to a legal battle with some German company). I watched video after video, followed examples and integrated key tenants of the Metro style. After all, designing your UI after an operating system is a great way to keep your application looking and acting as users would expect.
As an active and growing developer for the last 6 years, I have a huge leg up on anyone just starting out trying to become a designer. Designers and Developers need to work closely with one another in order to deliver the best value to customers, and to produce the highest quality products. A designer without a developer would have a hard time avoiding any pit traps for confusing design under the hood. A developer without a designer would just slap a CRUD (Create, Read, Update, Delete) interface on top of a back-end. A Developer/Designer would be able to produce higher quality prototypes quicker than either. A Developer/Designer would be able to keep style in mind the entire process, instead of trying to slap it on at the end of the project.
I believe the Developer/Designer will be a key role moving forward that will be in huge demand all across the software/web industry. Someone with good knowledge of both roles should be able to produce higher quality content and deliver greater value to the users.