Im trying to create an account in a job/career site and they want me to specify a role. Im basically an IT person. The suitable matches I could find are:

  1. Software Developer
  2. Graphic/Web designer
  3. Client-Server technology

My key skills are PHP, CakePHP, CSS, HTML, AJAX etc. And I prefer working in them. I dont have any claimable expertise in graphic designs (if they mean photoshop/flash etc.) So which one is most suited for my case?

And by Graphic/Web designer, do they mean, only those candidates with both qualities?

Is it ok to choose Web Designer role even though I dont have much graphic design abilities? Because they both are given together - Graphic/Web designer.

  • 2
    It really doesnt matter. They are going to spam you with jobs that are not even IT anyway. The people considering you for employment are going to look at your resume not what box you checked on a job site. Commented Aug 21, 2012 at 16:42

5 Answers 5


You would ideally title yourself as a software developer or software engineer. In your case, you have experience with back-end languages and frameworks which, in some companies put you squarely in programming the back-end of websites, far removed from the design. Other places would have you using a lot of HTML, CSS, PHP and some frameworks, bridging the contexts of design and function. The degree of specialization often depends on the company size.

Website/graphic design is concerned with the presentation and organization of information in the medium. In a perfect world, having an expertise in graphic design would carry over well into website design, but website design comes with its own idiosyncrasies and rules for good practices. So those designers have to understand the technical requirements and limitations for design for an online medium.


It sounds like you're what some would call a web developer, though I'm not a fan of that term. Personally, of the three, I'd choose "software developer" from what you've said.

A web designer is a graphic designer with specific expertise in designing websites. They will likely have UX (user experience) skills in addition to graphics/design skills. The person responsible for taking the output of a web designer and producing a website from them that is more than a static HTML site, for example using PHP, is called a web developer to distinguish them - but really they're a software developer with web skills.

Client-server technology is a bit dated as a term, I wouldn't pin your colours to that one. It's generally applied to thick client (e.g. Windows application) development, talking to a central server hosting database and/or services.

  • could you please help me understand the term User Experience skills? Under which category come my skills?
    – Ivin
    Commented Aug 21, 2012 at 15:51
  • 1
    @Orbb en.wikipedia.org/wiki/User_experience
    – Zelda
    Commented Aug 21, 2012 at 16:05

I would describe you as a "web developer." You've basically answered your own question about not being a graphic designer.


My rule of thumb is: if you're worried about how something looks, you're a designer. If you're worried about how it works, you're a developer. However, since many development teams don't have a designer on the team to work on the look and feel of the program, you get some overlap where developers are designing as well (and often get clunky, hard to use applications if they're not qualified in that department).

In the web world, the developers are the ones writing functionality (ASP, PHP, JSON), whereas designers work primarily with the HTML/CSS "look" of the site.

(However, you're probably not going to find much useful from an umbrella job hunting site, so you might as well check all three boxes and get ready to ignore a truckload of spam anyway.)


This is a rather ill defined area of job titles at the moment. Consider the following jobs:

  • UX Designer
  • Web designer
  • UI Designer

None of these titles directly imply anything about development. At certain companies these titles mean "developer who also designs X". At others these are completely separate job functions and the designers may never need to touch code, or they may only code to create prototypes as opposed to final working products.

The scope of expected job capabilities can generally be inferred from the size of the company. When Microsoft says Web Designer, they mean designer; you will almost certainly mostly do design. They have distinct, large teams for all areas of projects. On the other hand, at a small start up, you can probably bet that their "web designer" does a great deal of coding work.

This is something you'll have to clarify by reading the description and asking. If the job description lists coding responsibilities, clearly code is involved. As for how much balance between design and code, you'll have to ask directly; they may even be flexible.

This is a very fuzzy area so you're just going to have to look at what each company is looking for in their web designer/developer.

Now, if the job is graphic designer you can really assume Photoshop and Illustrator are going to be a large part of what you do rather than anything code related. Slamming "graphic" and "web design" together (as the only option) is a pretty terrible choice frankly, but I'd say many companies looking for "web developers" also (hopefully) look in the "graphic/web designer" section as well. Again, horrible categorization, but employers are hopefully looking for skills not job titles.

  • So i presume its better to choose software developer in my case, which is more of an umbrella term, right?
    – Ivin
    Commented Aug 21, 2012 at 16:29
  • @Orbb well my concern there is most places looking for web development people include "web" in there somewhere. My mind thinks more of compiled languages like C# when I just hear "software developer"
    – Zelda
    Commented Aug 21, 2012 at 17:00

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