I suck at web design and it's holding me back

Hey guys I don’t know if anyone else is in the same boat here but i’ll try to explain:

When it comes to actual coding/programming I can go for hours and do pretty good. But when it comes to designing web sites and apps I just fall flat on my face. And after a year, i’m about ready to give up on web development as a whole, because i’ll never be able to compete with these art students that come in and blast up these big beautiful portfolio sites.

And the thing is - I don’t want to learn how to design. That’s not what I am. I’m here to do programming, not become Picasso. So is there still room in web development for guys like me or should I just move on to something else?

You don’t have to. That’s what your teammates are for.

I’ve been a programmer and web server admin for over 20 years and here to get up to speed with front-end development (notice I didn’t say frameworks). My forte certainly isn’t design, but I still enjoy doing it and if I do it myself, it means I don’t have to rely on someone else to do it for me.

Why do you feel that it’s holding you back? Plenty of free templates (some that include the html/css) out there that you can use if you want to do web development, but don’t want to do the design (or front-end) part. So long as you have some knowledge with HTML/CSS you can customize any template to suit your needs.

If you have found something that you are passionate about, focus on that, it will keep you motivated and wanting to learn more. Curiosity is an great skill to have in this industry. Tune out the people who tell you that you shouldn’t be learning “xyz technology”, that IMO, is asinine advice. There is never any waste in picking up a new skill in this industry, besides which, it makes you more employable, and granted that you get the fundamentals of programming, it will make you a better programmer. Especially if you can explain and weigh the pros and cons of using different tech stacks in different scenarios. This will come with hands on experience and working on a variety of projects.

Do you know the type of work you’d like to do or types of organizations you’d like to work for? If you know those things, you can search out their jobs postings and see what skill set is required.

I am with you, absolutely. I’m learning this stuff to be a code monkey. Write good code, get the job done. I’d like to eventually get more into back-end for this exact reason. But, while it’s true that good designers have better instincts than schmucks like us, there are a lot of basics that anyone can grasp. Reach out to some of these artsy folks and see if you can talk to them about what sorts of things they were thinking about when they were deciding on things like their margins, color choices, etc. A couple of times, I have gone onto codepen, found pens I like, and reached out to the designers on twitter or whatever contact means they have on their profile.