Graphic Design Career Path to UI / UX / Motion / Coding / HTML

I’m going to go in to a lot of detail so I thought it best for the fast paced people of the internet like yourselves is to do a short and long version of my question.

Short version: I’m a middleweight graphic designer working for a voucher site as a in-house Graphic Designer. I’m looking for what I should do in my next step in my career and thought that UX/UI design would work. Is that a good choice or would I be chucking most of what I know out the window to do something else?

Long version: same as above but i’ll go into more detail.

I’ll start with my general skills.

I’ve been working as a Graphic Designer using many Photoshop and Illustrator for the past 3-4 years but been using the Adobe suite for over 6-7 years now, UNI and all that.

The other programs I’m ok but not amazing at are inDesign, After effects (Animated GIFs) and Google slides. I do a lot of presentation work for my company so it’s a lot of powerpoint presentation using Google slides. Not the greatest program in the world but it’s free and can be shared with the rest of the company (100+).

I’ve dabbled in some prototyping software such as Invision and Sketch but mainly as a teaching tool rather than using it with clients which comes with the back a worth of what I do with the rest of my work.

I’m basically the only designer that deals with all facets of the business including but not limited to:
Banner creation / Photomanipulation
SEO graphics (infographics etc)
Presentation (google slides)
Motion graphics (animation presentations)
Brochures ( InDesign)

There’s other smaller stuff but that’s a general overview of that I do.

I feel like I’m stagnating so I want to move on and with recently developments in the company I’ve been able to acquire time to develop myself in whichever way I see fit before I move on.

After a little research and thoughts on what I like to do I’ve found there’s two different career paths I’d like to go down and moving in one way or the other will put me down a completely different path.

The First is UX/UI design. Now, I know some of you will be rolling your eyes saying that these are two different disciplines and can be studied in two different ways. The problem I’ve found while looking for said job is that not all UX/UI job are treated as equal.

Meaning that the way a lot of UX only designers talk about the role is that it has a lot to do with user research and prototyping. Understanding the customer journey. Keeping it this way makes it very specialised and doesn’t give much room for UI design and more to the point all the other skills required in some of the job role in the searches I’ve done on Indeed and a like.

Some of the jobs are asking for UX/UI designers with Coding experience. HTML CSS Java and in some cases PHP.

These are developer programs and something that I’ve never dealt with in the past, and to be quite honest something that I don’t really want to learn. I’ve development myself a person that knows photoshop/Illustrator like the back of my hand and the graphic design principles that come with years of experiences in said role.

I understand that there’s an element of understanding web coding to know the limitation of what the “true” developers can do. I see it as more of a “Jack of all trades, master of none”

Is this just the corner I’ve painted myself in to or is there something I can do that’ll help?

The best way I can put it is, I like the idea of UI design but found that there aren’t jobs out there that will be looking for UI designer only.

Like all of us, we all want to be paid a fair wage and want to do something they love. These never really coincide with each other. UI only designers earning just as much as motion graphics designer. Not that much basically. At least compared to how much im earning at the moment.

So, on the note of motion graphics this is the other career idea I had but after looking in to what I’ve done in the past and what the future would hold in said role would make it hard for me to choose. Limited job roles and low wages. This is more of a passing thought but I thought id put in there so you know where I’m coming from and where id like to go.

So, to finalize. Im looking for advice on which direction i should take next and what i should look in to learning to help make my new skills more palatable to my future employers.

If I go down the UX route, should I learn coding or not? Learning HTML, CSS and JAVA is quite a tall order on top of the UX only design skills I’d have to learn to even think about getting a job in that field.
I’d love to hear from any UX/UI designers out there and what skills you have that got you the job in the first place? Although a day to day run down of what you do would be very handy indeed.

Thanks in Advance


Lots of people are heading into the UI/UX area, so I’m unsure whether or not it’s a good career choice. It’s certainly a viable choice with a solid future, but it’s the competition and saturation of the market that I’d be concerned about. If you do go down this route, yes, I’d definitely learn how to code, at least, HTML and CSS because you’ll be competing against those who have these skills, and they are important skills to have (Java, probably not unless you want to be a Java developer).

Just a suggestion…

There are lots of online job recruitment sites, like Glassdoor, Zip Recruiter, Nexxt, etc. You can sign up for free on each of these platforms, and they’ll send you daily emails about open jobs that match your interests.

The reason I’m mentioning these services, is because in addition to looking for jobs, they’re great resources to find what kinds of jobs employers are looking for and the kinds of skills, aptitudes and qualifications employers think are important for those jobs.

You can use the information gleaned from this kind of data to plan out a strategy for developing expertise in those areas that seem to be in high demand.

For example, I’ve recently noticed that a whole lot of places are looking for designers with video production skills added into the mix. I don’t remember this being nearly as common just three or four years ago.

Hi J-B

Thanks for the information. Ill have a look in to the recruiter/Glassdoor side of things. It should give me a better understanding of what employers are looking for.

Its still very confusing to me but im sure ill find out more as i look it to it more. At least i know that HTML and CSS will be a good choice to start learning.

Thanks again


Basically it comes down to Client side (front end) or Sever side (back end) languages.

If you’re a ‘visual’ designer (as I am) interested in how a website is structured (HTML) and how it looks and feels (CSS) with an interest in interactivity (Js & PHP) then I’d suggest learning HTML, CSS, Javascript and PHP.

Those are my main languages but lately I’ve been interested in learning Python to create simple games …with no end in sight.

For some inspiration on front end devs checkout Codepen:

Good luck!

Forgot to mention a great tip when learning this stuff … use your browser’s Dev Tools. Take a look at the Rules. Layout, etc etc and start messin’ with the code and see how the website you’re inspecting reacts :slight_smile:

And if I can lay down one thing to keep in mind … at all times try to think of those who use screen readers and create websites accessible to all.

ARIA Guidelines

This is a similar path to what I’ve taken. When I started at the software startup I’m at now, I was the only design asset, dealt with mostly marketing material and little product. A short time down the road I ended up growing our design team to spend more time with our branding and product. Now I’m nearly 100% involved in product.

There are a lot of transferrable skills between graphic design and UX UI design. However there is still a lot of discrepancy around what the role entails and it can carry drastically which is evident from postings for UX, UI, and or product designers.

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