UX/UI Designer vs. Developer. Career Tips From the Man Who Came Back

UX/UI Designer vs. Developer. Career Tips From the Man Who Came Back

Polcode Team
3 minutes read

Check out a few questions for Bartosz Nowak, our UX/UI Developer with a coding past. We should probably call him something like the prodigal son, 'cause he came back to Polcode after spending a while in different places. See for yourself what he has to say about combining UX and coding skills, specialized education in the IT world, and most importantly – what’s so good about Polcode that made him wanna come back!

How has your career path been so far?

I first dabbled in IT by creating templates for personal blogs in secondary school. Ahh, beautiful times! It was a thing back then. After graduation, I started working as a junior frontend, doing freelance projects as a design & code guy after hours. After a few years at the front, I got an offer to prove myself as a Project Manager. An interesting and inspiring adventure, but also a demanding one, which accelerated my ageing process and made me turn gray a lot quicker. In the meantime, my freelance coding got some WordPress skills, which served as a low entry threshold backend and an introduction to PHP programming. To me, the goal was and is one - to deliver beautiful and functional pages. Only the skill and tools change.

You came back to Polcode after working somewhere else for a while. What made you decide to come back?

After spending a few years away and visiting several offices, it turned out that the quality of HR work at Polcode is not something as common as I initially thought. Nowhere else have I encountered such a great commitment and support from the company. At Polcode, it is remembered that you are more than an employee. So as soon as I had the opportunity to drop everything and come back, it took me about 2.137 seconds to make up my mind.

What would you advise your younger version a few years ago?

Don't sell that Bitcoin just yet.

Oooh, that must have hurt. Okay, so what's the best career advice you've ever heard?

Communication is everything. Without communication, the project becomes a torment, at the end of which the client will not get his dream product. So why bother?

And have you ever given someone some good career advice?

Take notes. Are you taking notes? Then take notes more. Someone is asking you to change something in the code. You say you'll remember. Spoiler: you will not. Take a note. Today, apps are supposed to remember for you – Todoist, Anydo, even a calendar. Write down everything that needs doing. However, what if there are too many tasks on the list and you are afraid to check the app? Declare the to-do-list bankruptcy and start over. Onwards!

In your opinion, what changes await the IT industry in the near future?

Recruitment budgets are still higher than budgets for raises, so headhunters will still have their hands full. Remote work will stay with us permanently Offices will be reduced to several-person coworking spaces. It's a pity – there is no substitute for the working atmosphere in the office, jokes by the coffee machine, and joint lunches from the chain store.

What have your specialization studies given you? What do you value most about them in retrospect? (or you hate, cool too)

I studied English because I have been fascinated by the United States and its culture since I was a child. You see, I worked in many areas of IT (programming, management, design) before I decided that UI design gives me the most joy. But if we were to find the common denominator that was present with me in every type of work, it would be English. Nice luck with that pick.

Do people without specialized education have fewer opportunities in the IT world? How do you think?

They do not. All you need is the ability to focus and stay on course. Today, knowledge is free but it is practice and experience that let you earn your desired 15k.

You combine different approaches and experiences. Does being a UI help in being a developer?

Very much so. Creating a design that is easy to implement later means achieving the business goals faster. It also makes your developers enjoy working with you. They know everything will go smoothly and you aren’t the one to come up with unnecessary bells and whistles when there is no space for it.

Do developers who do not have such a design background have anything to worry about? Are such skills desirable, what does it give you in your daily work?

They don't need to worry. Everyone has their own specialization. My task is to prepare a nice, functional UI that generates leads. Whether it will be a Figma design or a front-end UI - it doesn't matter to me. For several years, I have been watching the industry try to name such position. Full Stack Web Designer, Web Developer/Designer, UX/UI Developer. The lottery drawing machine is still running.

Due to the fact that you have UI background, can you afford to be less of a "clapper" and for a more creative approach to problem-solving?

Please do not slander the ticket-closers! The world is on them because they do their job and do not overstep. When approaching problems creatively, you also need to close the ticket. I respect the closers and I admire that in the end they are the ones on their way home at 5:01 pm. They spend time with their families or practice hobbies. They enjoy the life and money they have earned when the dynamic and creative ones "just have to fine-tune that last little thing before they go". Work-life balance is a super important matter.

Very well said! Okay, so the final questions are extremely important, hope you’re ready. If Polcode were an actor, what movie would they star in?

Polcode would play Bond in Casino Royale.

Nice. And why is purple the best color in the world?

Because it has the coolest name in CSS that can be used with words instead of HEX: rebeccapurple!

And that’s the correct answer, congrats! Thank you!

Anytime :)

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