Should Designers Code????
Alan Cooper

Bold, hard truths here, rarely if ever uttered in “polite company,” by which I mean in the company of people that might hire a designer.

If designers want to code, great. But a few coding classes does not an engineer make. They are still designers, and if that makes engineers sad then we can see the extent to which ‘empathy’ is a garbage argument for coercing people to do something against their nature.

Alan mentions real damage. In my mind, that includes the idiocy of otherwise rational companies — such as General Electric — who make it company policy to hire only designers who code. As a result, GE, its customers, and its users, will have increasingly crappy software products… not because the work done by designers-who-code is inferior to those designers-who-don’t-code. But rather because few great designers code, and so the teams will be under-staffed. We see this happening again and again in the startup world as well. This is professional malpractice, plain and simple.

Designers go out of their way to invite non-designers in their process; many designers even try to teach design (or ‘design thinking’) to non-designers. Great. But they do so not because they believe (for instance) that engineers should design but, rather, because many engineers (and others) desire to design. Dig the difference.

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