If you’re confused about the difference between a front-end developer and a web designer, you’re not alone. Trying to maneuver through the job market is made more difficult by the different job titles used to label what are virtually the same positions.
The use of clear and consistent definitions to classify job titles helps clarify what different positions entail. Without them, it’s easy for people to refuse to do a task based on their interpretation of what they have been hired to do.
Also, in job hunting it’s essential to know exactly what the position you are applying for involves.
Regardless of the lack of congruency in the titles of advertised employment positions, there are ways to interpret titles that are associated with different jobs involving comparable duties.
To clear up some of the mystery surrounding what some jobs require, take a look at this list of frequently used job titles and their definitions.
Remember that these are general job descriptions and their interpretations are not at all rigid. Make sure you fully understand the requirements of a position before you apply for it.
If you’re looking for a job with actual design elements to it, you want to make sure the title reflects that specifically. If the job you are looking at doesn’t include the word ‘designer’, there’s a good chance it doesn’t necessarily have any designing duties associated with it.
Design work generally entails daily use of special software. If you don’t see a reference to Photoshop, Illustrator or any other type of design program, more than likely there is no regular design work involved.
Brand Identity Designer
A brand identity designer generates a unique visual representation of what a client wants to convey. Essentially image brokers, these designers may express the company’s image through a logo, sign or symbol that is woven throughout the client’s marketing and promotion efforts.
Words are not necessarily required to set a company’s brand apart from its competitors. The Nike “swoosh” is a perfect example. Nike’s ubiquitous logo is synonymous with Nike products. The visually definitive “swoosh” is the symbol Nike uses to trigger recognition.
Its strength, fluidity, and upward movement symbolize the items Nike manufactures and promotes. Logo designing essentially entails collaborating with the client to present what the client is seeking to portray.
Designated logo designer positions are rare; the creation of logos generally falling under the purview of art directors or graphic designers.
Using a variety of diverse media, illustrators design images to narrate a story. Illustrators may draw, paint, or digitally create 2D or 3D images. Utilizing multimedia and design skills, illustrators also produce content for publications like books and magazines.
Art directors are a unique combination of graphic designer and administrator. With expert level design skills, art directors frequently create illustrations and images for clients.
Their primary responsibility, however, is overall direction of the company’s design production. Also known as Design Directors, individuals holding these positions must ensure that each design job is at the necessary quality level. They lead the other designers, as well as facilitate communication and collaboration with clients.
Ensuring that various graphic designers (such as illustrators and production artists) fulfill the client’s needs on every level is very important to art direction. As decision-makers, art directors guide the visual development of a product from start to finish.
Leading a team of art directors, graphic designers, illustrators, photographers, copywriters, production artists and/or other creative individuals, the creative director supervises art production.
The artwork generated for marketing campaigns is the result of a coordinated effort facilitated by the creative director between the different designers, production staff and clients. Ultimately, the creative director is responsible for generating artwork for marketing campaigns.
Along with project management and representing and translating the client’s needs, the creative director may have risen from the ranks of art direction or copywriting. The creation process, from inspiration to initiation, is one of this position’s key responsibilities.
UI Designer and Interactive Designer
In a design-oriented position, the user interface (UI) designer works to define the specific details of user interface. Observing and interpreting are major components of this job.
Sometimes labeled as Visual Designers, the goal of this position is not implementation but design work with fluency in various designing tools and with very little required in the way of HTML or CSS.
Like a UI designer, an interaction designer primarily engages in design work. In this position, however, the focus is specific to the use and motion of things.
Motion designers travel in more glamorous circuits than other designers. Frequently employed in the movie or entertainment industries, these positions entail animation design work for both graphics and titles.
A motion designer job can either be dependent on the individual’s expertise with 3D or may not require that specific technical prowess at all.
A user experience (UX) designer is skilled at comprehending a website’s purpose. In this role, the UX designer analyzes ways to improve the use of the website and tests these suggestions with actual users to verify their effectiveness.
This position is all about focusing on the user’s experience, with little need for design ability or implementation.
The title of UX developer doesn’t necessarily resonate with people. However, it is a position requiring front end development. Ideally, a UX developer skillfully and sensitively works to create a more satisfactory user experience.
The focus is on gaining insight into what the user is looking for and needs in order to lay the groundwork for design.
UX developers are big in to grasping strategic approaches that propel product decision-making. Although they enjoy a great deal of research, they are also interested in running their own tests to verify customer usability.
Less intrigued by communicating and networking with clients, this position involves seriously sophisticated data interpretation.
Front End Developer
Technical understanding of things related to performance and regression testing is paramount.
A front end developer may also be referred to as a Front End Engineer. The “engineer” in the title, though, implies a higher level of skill targeted more specifically to a particular aim or purpose.
The web developer is the language expert in this group of position descriptions. Well-versed in web languages such as PHP, ASP, Ruby, Python and others, this job focuses on the consumer’s weightier concerns about programming such as security and structure.
Full Stack Developer
A full stack developer does the whole enchilada from design to development, along with a dose of UI and UX capabilities. This position is highly valued for its versatility and ability to move from one genre to another.
Generally a higher level or more senior position, the skilled full stack developer is fluent in design as well as development, and is conversant in the ways these two elements interact.
Dev ops isn’t the clearest title out there. With multiple responsibilities, the person in this position does a number of things from server software management to process building and testing, deployment to version control. Even though it sounds like the title of a covert military operation, this is a job held by one individual with multiple skill sets.