Are you a developer or designer, is an age-old question that seems to have no answer?  If I’m asked, I answer, both. Though I was once told, “You are really just a designer.” I had no response. I do know that reinforced my “imposter syndrome genie.” Does it really matter how someone classifies themselves? After thinking about it, for me, the answer is yes and no.

I know there are those who can’t design, but write beautiful code, and in turn, there are those who create amazing designs, but can’t write a lick of code. As with most things in life, it only becomes a problem when you sell yourself as one thing that you clearly are not.

For years, I’ve heard, only people who write code should be considered a developer. Likewise, only those that take that code, and make something of it, should be considered a designer. Really? Believe it or not, there those of us out there that can do both. While we might be stronger in one area than the other, it is possible to do both. You just need to know when you’ve reached your limits, put the imposter syndrome genie back in the bottle, and ask for help.

Recently this happened to me. A client contacted me about adding a feature to his website that was well beyond my limits. Immediately my imposter syndrome genie popped right of her bottle.

After grabbing my irrational thoughts and getting them in order, I accepted that fact that no one should expect themselves to know everything. Now thinking rationally, I remembered I knew someone who can handle this for me without a problem. Off goes an email to my good friend Jonathan Bossenger. As I suspected, Jonathan did have a solution; time for my happy dance.

I didn’t expect Jonathan to do this for free, but whose responsibility to pay for this project would it be. In my mind, this is definitely not under his care plan, but what were his thoughts? He’s always had a care plan, but long before I had my care plans well defined. Again, time to be practical, the cost of this project should definitely be his responsibility. Thankfully, he also agreed that this was well outside of what should be considered under any care plan.

The task has now been completed and everyone is happy. For me though that age old question is still there; am I a developer or designer? I’m both. I write and understand HTML, CSS, and PHP, I don’t write or understand JavaScript, which is what this project required, and that’s ok. Realizing I don’t have to know everything, and accepting my limits, I have put my imposter syndrome genie back in the bottle where she belongs.

Are you stuck with a client request that you don’t begin to know how to accomplish? Is your imposter syndrome genie out of the bottle, then let’s chat?

I am an awarding winning logo and website designer who when not designing logos and websites, likes to write about how the industry has changed and what it looks to become in the future. I started designing websites around 1995. For the past 8 years, all sites have been developed in WordPress. Originally, I would develop the site in HTML and then convert those files to WordPress. Today all child themes are built on the framework of Divi. Guest blogger at 3lovablelabs,  Tropic Moon Media, and Patti & Hank.

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