Industry Tips in Design and Coding P2: The Changing Industry

In Web by Andrew Selepak

The University of Florida’s College of Journalism and Communications Master’s in Mass Communication in Web Design and Online Communication is an online graduate program for students interested in learning the design, coding, and strategic communication skills sought after in today’s digital marketplace.

Our students learn the knowledge and skills necessary to create dynamic websites to increase engagement and improve user experience. One of the ways we make this possible is through feedback from our Advisory Council who help ensure our students are gaining the knowledge they need to succeed by recommending the skills employers are seeking from graduates of our Program.

Recently I asked two of our Advisory Council members about the skills our graduates will need to be successful. Brian Holt is a Senior User Interface Engineer at Netflix. Ryan Stewart is a Senior Product Manager at Adobe.


What is one thing you love about design in 2016? And one thing you don’t love?

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Ryan Stewart:

I love that design has never been more accessible in terms of lowering the barrier for people to get involved. Tools are cheaper, online resources are plentiful, and it’s very accessible now in 2016 for people to become engaged in design. What I don’t love is that web design has stagnated somewhat. I think a lot of innovative things are happening in mobile apps and that the web has kind of taken a back seat. I think the pendulum will eventually swing back, but right now it seems like people aren’t pushing the boundaries of the web as much as they used to.


What do you consider the most significant development in the design or coding industries in recent years?

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Brian Holt:

In front end development, we’ve had a huge renaissance in the past three years. We went from jQuery to Backbone to React/Angular/Ember. In the process we’ve gained a lot of tooling, discovered how to borrow techniques from other industries, and really grew up as an industry.

I’d consider the move from spaghetti jQuery to MVC to component-oriented architecture to be the biggest win for us as developers. We’ve now discovered the architecture that works best for us and we’re carving out our own paradigms that work best for us as engineers that concise, clean, and maintainable.


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Ryan Stewart:

Github. I think they revolutionized how teams collaborate and have done a very good job of making coding social in a productive way. It’s changed the open source landscape by making it easier than ever to publish an open source project and also lowered the barrier for individuals to contribute to projects. I think they nailed it. On the design side I think sites like Behance and Dribbble have done something similar because they’ve opened up the process of sharing and critiquing design work. It’s now incredibly easy to share an idea or a design and get feedback on it. 


To learn more about our Program in Web Design and Online Communication and our Advisory Council, check out our website. And check back for Part Three in this series which will cover advice for those who want to pursue a career in the Coding and Design Industries.

About the Author

Andrew Selepak

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Dr. Selepak is a professor in the department of telecommunication at the University of Florida, and director of the graduate programs in Social Media and in Web Design and Online Communications.