Web Developer vs Web Designer: Differences and Similarities

3 min

In this post, I show you the differences and similarities between a web developer and a web designer.

A. Who is a Web Developer?

A web developer or web dev, is a person who builds and engineers the infrastructures of a website from the server level.

This person might be a computer scientist or engineer, and is well versed in the different stacks, like the LAMP (Linux, Apache, MySQL, PHP) or MEAN (MongoDB, ExpressJS, AngularJS, NodeJS).

Types of Web Developers

Web developers are sometimes referred to as web engineers, and are classified into various classes.

Front End Web Developer

When you visit a website, what you see is known as the front-end. They are coded by an arrays of carefully and beautifully placed css and html codes, and classes. Arranged in a way, that is pleasing to your eyes.

The implementation of what you see when you visit a website, is done by a front-end web developer. Sometimes, web designers are front-end web developers, or the work hand in hand, with a front-end web developer

Back End Web Developer

What you don’t see, when you visit a website, is referred to as the backend. The server infrastructures, stacks, libraries, etc, all is handled by a back-end developer.

In other words, back-end developers, are responsible for managing the website infrastructures, hosted at the back-end server.

Full-Stack Web Developer

Well sometimes in life, some people are jacks of all trades, like Usain Bolt, who can run, and play soccer.

A Full-stack Web developer, can do both jobs of a front-end and back-end developers. They are highly priced because, they can streamline workflows faster, by developing a project from start to finish.

Regardless, most full-stack developers, have a long list of portfolio projects which they have built, before been certified as full-stack developers.

Jobs and Responsibilities of Web Developers

  • Building up, web infrastructures
  • Testing and debugging web infrastructures and finding solutions to problems encountered
  • Building up website databases
  • Managing website databases
  • Installing web applications and stacks on the server side
  • Setting up programming rules in scripting software’s like PHP
  • Setting up backup environments for web applications, and scripts
  • Monitoring server health, and rolling back security breaches
  • Choosing content management systems
  • Coding up security patches for bugs in application and server databases

B. Who is a Web Designer?

A web designer on the other hand is a graphic artist who is tasked with getting the best look in design for a web application.

Sometimes before, a web designer, has nothing to do with coding, and is just a very good graphic artiste, who uses their artiste mind, to draw out a website design from scratht (although this was in the early days of web design).

Nowadays, web designers must have some basic knowledge of editing html and css code.

Types of Web Designer

Web designers are responsible for designing web apps, with user experience in mind. Web designers fall into three categories.

  1. User interface (UI)
  2. User experience (UE)
  3. Visual

User Interface (UI)

User Infaceface graphic designers, are in charge of designing simple, application interfaces, that is easy for the customers to love.

The are in charge, of removing, and changing positions, of button, and menu items, etc.

User Experience (UE)

User Experience designers, are in charge of improving designed applications, through feedbacks and complaints gotten from customers.

As their name implies (user experience), they are in charge of designing web applications, with create customer feedbacks.


Visual web designers, are mostly tasked with beautifying and improving the aesthetics, of web applications, by careful selection of color palettes, that will sooth, the customers better.

Jobs and Responsibilities of Web Designer

  • Develop graphical user interfaces with customer satisfaction in mind
  • Responsible for setting up

C. Differences between Web Developer and Web Designer

1. Responsible for building up and maintaining server side, web infrastructures, from the front and back-end.1. Responsible for designing and improving the front end graphic interface, which users interact with.
2. There are three types of web developers, front-end web developers, back-end developers, and full-stack web developers.2. There are three types of web designers, and they are user experience (ux) web designer, user interface (UI) web designer, and Visual web designer.
3. Deals mostly with strings of code all day.3. Might deal with only graphic web design elements, like color palettes, visual elements, etc.
4. Rarely uses graphical user interface to work.4. Makes use of visual tools, which the web developer might have developed, to improve productivity.
5. Web developers rarely care about customer satisfaction. Their jobs is to develop web applications to work, without user experience in mind.
They mostly get their feedbacks from the web designer.
5. Web designers, are advised to think from the users perspective, they take customer feedbacks very seriously, and convey the pain points to the web developer.
6. They spend most time going through their lines of code, and finetuning, and applying bug fixes.6. Web designers, spend most of their time, going through the graphical user interface, taking down notes, and finding ways to simplify tasks for the end user customer.
Differences between Web Developer and Web Designers

D. Similarities Between Web Developer and Web Designer

  • Both are responsible for improving the user experience, through carefully planned out user interface
  • Sometimes a web designer, might be a junior front end web developer, who is still refining the html and CSS coding skills
  • Both are essential in the success of an online apps, and put customer satisfaction first.