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Business

Is HTML & CSS worth learning?

Im currently learning HTML & CSS, is it worth its time now the market is bringing out more WYSIWYG websites?.

My goal is to be able to freelance in web design/development in the future, but worried that all my time and effort will be for nothing due to the ease and accessibility of WYSIWYG websites.

Thanks, Josh

4 Answers

Erik McClintock
Erik McClintock
45,783 Points

Joshua,

I would advocate that it 100% absolutely yes is worth your time, if your goal is to be a web developer. You are not incorrect that WYSIWYG editors are a dime a dozen these days, but that doesn't mean by any stretch of the imagination that raw code or the people that know it are in decline. While there are many editors out there that let you design websites visually and without needing any knowledge about the languages that are actually putting things together behind the scenes, they are NOT flawless systems, and more often than not, you will likely need or want to tweak things here and there that will be more easily or better done in the code itself rather than through a WYSIWYG, or hell, maybe you'll want to develop your own theme(s) because you are unable to find one(s) that match your/your clients' desires. In fact, I would say that it's easier and more efficient to hand-write code over using those WYSIWYG editors, because they come with their own quirks and weird ways of presenting your data that will likely not be what you actually want. You'll also need to be able to debug problems that arise, and/or fight against these default quirks that these editors bring to the table, and you will only be able to do that if you have a knowledge base of the languages themselves. Those editors can be great tools in the right situations, but they absolutely do not replace the actual code that they mask.

My day job is at a development house that focuses mainly on developing with WordPress, and I can tell you, even though I'm building things in WordPress, it's 98% of the time via custom templates/themes, and using the text portion of the WYSIWYG over the visual portion. WYSIWYG is a solution for people who can't or don't want to hire a developer, it's not for a developer to lean on as their only provided service. You will not get nearly as many clients if your only expertise is how to work within the given bounds of a particular WYSIWYG site.

Erik

100% agree with what Erik has just written. WordPress (as a WYSIWYG example) is a great product but you'll find that the more HTML / CSS (and eventually moving on to PHP) you know the easier it is to customise and you'll essentially have an extended skillset to provide to your future clients.

-Rich

Erik McClintock
Erik McClintock
45,783 Points

Joshua,

A lot of the time, the line between a web designer and a web developer will be blurred, and the two become one (especially if you're freelancing on your own), but technically:

-A web DESIGNER would be the person who does more of the design work, meaning they create the look of the site through color palettes, physical site layout, content flow, logos and other graphics, etc. They design the concept of the site, and generally/technically don't need to know as much about the languages that will be used to actually construct the site. That said, however, nowadays, it's very common to create prototype sites as your design comps, rather than using image editing software like Adobe's Photoshop or Illustrator (though that practice is by no means dead, either), so knowing at least HTML and CSS (if not a little JavaScript, too) as a designer is not a bad thing.

-The DEVELOPER, on the other hand, is generally the one who knows the languages and actually constructs the site from the comps that the designer has made. They will be the ones creating the skeletal structure of the site (using HTML), applying all the skin to it (using CSS), attaching ligaments to allow for behavior and user interaction (using JavaScript), and building muscle for heavy lifting with the back-end/databases (using server-side languages like PHP, Python, or Ruby).

Hope this helps to clear things up for you a bit!

Erik

Mike Adam
Mike Adam
11,901 Points

If you don't know html/css how are you going to differentiate yourself in a competitive market? Most of the work I get is from clients who want to make adjustments to standard templates and themes, without html/css knowledge I would not be able to do this work. You will not last long in web design or development environment without these core skills.

Hi all,

Im very new to all of this but that was my only concern, I want to know the ins and outs of the languages, and develop as it develops but was worried that the job market would be drying up, due to the WYSIWYG web sites surfacing. Its reassuring from you guys that all the time I am wanting to put in to this (when i'm not working at Homebase lol) can be worth something as I apply myself to this sector.

This question i'm about to ask is going to sound stupid but I am confused between what a web developer does to what a web designer does?.

Next step is to get HTML & CSS under my belt!

Thanks guys!

Josh