About time I dusted off this thing, didn't I? Not even a week into the New Year and already there's a small debacle over the profession.
Having read Zeldman's article, It's 2014. Is Web Design Dead?, as well as Andy Clarke's response to the former article, it's interesting to see what some people see as a standard and necessity for working in the industry. Personally, I don't see the 'need' or 'want' to diversify. Being young and personally having difficulty on understanding complexities, I've never seen why I should go to extreme lengths for my own role or have to know everything that's out there at this point, let alone for something I'm no passionate in. I'm 24, I shouldn't need to feel old or behind because of a new language that I seemingly have to learn while I finished learning about the other. It's not as if keeping up to date on the latest languages or frameworks will save my career tomorrow.
Yes, I am 24. Thank you if you thought my age was anything other than under 21.
Given that I don't design as much anymore (or at least, right now), and that this website needs a serious overhaul, I've never forgotten my education and not a moment goes by that I don't miss design. Being a Front End Developer it's important for me to have a strong design knowledge in typography, colour theory and grids even though my job isn't design in the typical sense. I'd say that's just as important as a web designer understanding how we mark up their designs and style them as to give them understanding, and I'd say, for me, knowing design is much more important than knowing the hottest framework of the moment.
My skills lie in HTML, CSS, Sass, a smidge of jQuery, WordPress, as well as little bits of PHP, Git, and htaccess, but it doesn't mean I can't learn more and it doesn't mean that I need to learn more for the sake of it. Skill and intelligence is all very subjective but also what you want to do as a career, or need to do to fulfil your design objective, is important. Regardless of the skill set, whatever you know is always valuable, as I'm very sure not everyone knows how to use a preprocessor but can still write very strong CSS.
In an opposing opinion towards Jeff Croft's Web Standards Killed The HTML Star, there will always be 'gurus', but as Zeldman has already expressed it's not a profession to be desired, only so many have made a living on their knowledge alone but they also have done other things besides. I don't see everyone having to know as many languages as possible as an intelligence standard in what we do; I think what we want to practice in, learn, and seek to achieve is more important than what someone else thinks is a serious requirement.
There are some necessities, which is why we have standards, but other than that it's really up to the developer in question as well as the project. As well as that it needn't be a massive time sink to learn and practice something new, like a CSS framework or snippet, or a CMS templating language, even something as essential as Git can be very simple to learn, given time. Learning comes from experience let alone a good book.
In conclusion, not every language, framework, CMS or tool is essential for a job but is important to understand design ideas and principle for a website to succeed, let alone following standards. Web Design will never go away, the design is what pushes and sells the website, but web standards, as ever-changing as they can be, can't be forgotten in order to make that experience possible.
No matter how young or old you are, yours skills and knowledge in design, web, and standards, will be desired somewhere, regardless of your level or your certificate in education. We're all unique in our own way, even in our own skills and intelligence, and I think that means more than learning something just for the sake of its existence.
John Locke said on January 7, 2014
Rightly said, Iain. Having a good grasp of design theory, grids, typography, and basic front-end is more important than being adept in framework-of-the-week.