Seattle Web Designers vs. Web Developers — Is there a difference?

7 min readJun 21, 2022


Seattle Web Designers vs. Web Developers — Is there a difference?

Seattle has one of the world's fastest-growing tech markets and is a powerhouse for any job within the tech industry. Second, only after San Francisco, when it comes to building a career in tech, there is no shortage of web-related employment, with an estimated 35.4% growth range in tech-related jobs in the last five years (Geekwire). Within this outburst of tech jobs in the Seattle area, Web Designers and Web Developers are frequently seen in job titles offered on websites such as Clutch and Recruiter. Web Developers and Web Designers are no strangers to the tech market. Currently, 1,554 Web Developer jobs are offered within Seattle and around 854 Web Designer jobs (clutch. co). With that being said, what is the actual difference between a Web Designer and a Web Developer, and do they differ within Seattle?

How do Web Designers and Web Developers Differentiate?

The difference between Web Designers and Web Developers is pretty big, but they share some similarities compared to each other. A Web Designer is a person who will build and design the layout of a website and its pages. Often, a Web Designer is responsible for the graphics, animations, and other components to make a Website look decent as an interior designer for a digital website. A Web Developer will use coding languages to develop and build foundations for a website that frequently a Web Designer brings to the Web Developer. Web Developers tend to do all the technical work behind a Website. A simple analogy when looking at Web Developers and Web Designers is like constructing a building: Web Designers will create a "blueprint," and they will hand it off to the Web Developer, who will make the "blueprint" into a reality.

A web designer leans more towards brand imagery and appeals rather than code. A Web developer usually decides on color pallets, fonts, graphic design, etc. To make the website interactive, a web designer needs to know code to ensure their design can correctly correlate with the (depending on the software used) coding language. There are three general areas Web Designers focus on, and there are frequently different jobs for each title. They are concentrated on User Experience (UX), User Interface (UI), and Visual appeal.

A Web Developer will focus on the coding to ensure the program functions to the determined design. A Web Developer will focus on three areas, but there are usually different jobs specified for each category. Web Developers must focus on Front-end, Back-End, and Full-Stack. A Front End Developer will code the mainframe of the website with a chosen coding language. A Back End developer will focus on the website's database and servers. A full-stack developer will code both the Front and Back ends of the website as well as focus on the Application Programming Interface,

Education Needed (and where to get degrees in Seattle)

The education needed for both career paths is similar regarding time and degree major. According to (ZIPPIA) 67% of Web Designers will hold a Degree such as AAS in web development, Graphic Design, Computer Science, or Computer Applications, and 18% will have an Associate's Degree or equivalent. With that being said, many of these Web Designers don't have anything higher than a High School diploma. If the employee has a strong knowledge of Web Design theory, understands how to use applications such as Photoshop or HTML, and has a decent portfolio with many projects, the chances of landing a Web Design job are equivalent to someone with a bachelor's degree in Graphic Design.

There are an increased amount of businesses that aren't requiring degrees to land a Graphic Design job in Seattle. No one should get discouraged from pursuing a career in tech. Some Seattle organizations are hiring without a degree. However, it is still encouraged to obtain a degree if you are looking for more opportunities. A strong portfolio with examples of projects is required for the highest chances of employment.

A Web Developer's education is similar to a Web Designer, according to (ZIPPIA) stating that qualifications vary from business to business. Most Web Designers have a bachelor's degree in Computer Science, Programming, and Graphic Design, followed closely by having an Associates's degree in all of the previously named majors. Like Web Designers, Web Developers don't require a degree as many web developers need programming skills with a strong portfolio. However, many employers look to employ people with a bachelor's degree as a BAS in any tech-related field in Seattle is worth more than the majority of other cities. However, a Web Developer should have a strong understanding of HTML, CSS, and JavaScript. Many employers want employees to have a robust Python, Java, and C++ foundation before entering their field.

Many Washington schools offer degrees in Computer Science, Web Design, or any other related field(s). The City University of Seattle offers a BS program in information systems which can propel me into a career in Web Developer or design. The majority of Universities within Washington have some computer science/ coding programs, and many are prestigious. The University of Washington has the 16th-ranked Computer science program globally and 3rd in the United States. They also offer a 24-week coding program that gives a University of Washington Coding Certification, which can be used at Microsoft or other Seattle-based companies that support the program.

What is the difference between the software they use?

Web developers and Web designers need software to do their jobs. Their whole job surrounds how well they can use specific software. They need their software to provide a solid resume, and the chances of an employer hiring any web job is low if they only know the web theory, not the application (and vice versa). The software Web Developers and Web Designers use are usually different, but they share some of the same applications.

Seattle Web Designers tend to use tools that cater to designs and organization. They use some coding software, but mostly, they use more design-based software. Web Designers often use a website frame builder(s) such as WIX or WordPress, both of which are used to create the actual website. Web designers often use one of the thousands of templates each website builder offers, but very skilled designers create their original designs. Web Designers also heavily utilize Photoshop because it is arguably the best graphic editor on the market. It is widely diverse compared to other applications such as Picmonkey or GIMP. Lastly, many Web Designers use HTML, a coding language (technically, although many don't consider it to be) designated to build the framework of a website. HTML allows a browser to display its web page.

A Seattle Web Developer needs more technical skills than design skills; however, Web developers utilize both types of software. Like Web Designers, Seattle employers prefer Web Developers know how to use WordPress and Wix so that they can navigate through the program fluently when they code. However, it is critical that they know either CSS, JavaScript, or HTML and perfectly understand the programming language(s). Web Developers must know coding languages because they need to know how to code out any bugs in the program or make it user-accessible—learning the coding language to build the web application from the ground up. The more languages the programmer knows will boost the resume and raise their pay.

What is the pay difference?

The salary between Web Designers and Web Developers don't differ too much. The Average Web Designer will start at around 35k a year and can work upwards to an average of 87k a year, according to The Average Web Developer will start around 44k a year and finalize upwards to about 88k a year, with an average making 60k. However, that is just the national average; when it comes to the Average in Seattle, it is drastically increased due to Seattle's enormous tech industry. A Seattle Web Developer can start at around 61k yearly and up to around 120k-160k a year. And Web Designers' salaries in Seattle drastically changed, with the starting pay of 32k a year but going up to a high of 270k in the Seattle area, according to GlassDoor.

What is more in Demand in the Seattle Area?

Web Developers and Web Designers are in high demand compared to other job titles and even higher within the Washington tech giant. Both have many jobs in Seattle for big companies like Amazon and Starbucks. Still, if you look west towards Bellevue, more jobs are provided by Microsoft and Nintendo for web developers and web designers, along with many small companies. So there is no shortage of opportunities; however, the growth for both job titles is vastly similar.

A Website Developer is a large field with much potential, especially as the world's technology advances and the need for web applications increase heavily. According to Kathleen Swed, an accomplished writer and computer scientist from ComputerScience.Org, the growth for Web Developers has been 8% higher than all jobs, making it an enormous field. In the next ten years, Web developers will be in demand by 27% ( And the growth only increases within Seatle as the Web Developer job has risen by 13% compared to other cities such as San Antonio and Los Angeles.

A Website Designer is also filled with plenty of potentials and has a decent amount of projected growth. Web Designer jobs are also expected to increase by around 27% in the next ten years. However, the increase in Seattle isn't as high compared for a Website developer. According to Medium, Web Designers have only increased by 9% compared to Web Developers' 13% growth (medium). This may be because there are more Web Designers in general.


There is no doubt that the Seattle Tech Market is ever-growing and has enormous opportunities for anyone thriving to find success as a Web Developer or Web Designer. Web Developers and Web Designers are different fields with different tasks that work coherently together to create beautiful Websites and applications — disregarding salary or status, job title, or business name, whether designing outlines for tomorrow's website or building an application from the ground up. Whichever area you choose, either choice will lead to great opportunities within the beautiful city of Seattle! The education needed and the tools to become successful are widely available in Seattle, and the career one can have in Seattle is high compared to other big cities.




A Seattle web design and online marketing agency that delivers high-end websites. A passion for web development and SEO.