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I'm just coming into my final year of university so I'm going to start looking for jobs as a software developer and I just wanted to know just how important it is to be able to design good looking interfaces and produce good quality content in a software development job?

I'm only asking because I struggle to be creative due to my dyslexia but If given a design to do (i.e. a picture or description of some sort) I am able to do it to a high standard,

Will this affect my career options?

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you could wait for more answers before taking an answer as the correct one. This way, you can get more opinions. :) –  Saeed Neamati Aug 22 '11 at 16:54

3 Answers 3

up vote 4 down vote accepted

The blatantly obvious answer is: yes, this will affect your career options.

But only in as much that you won't be able to go for jobs where designing the UI is a (major) part of the job description. And, as the others mentioned, most software shops have either dedicated UI/UX designers or at least someone else who writes the specifications of what the software is supposed to do and that usually includes a mock up or description of the UI.

So actually, no, don't worry about it. And who knows, training can overcome many of the drawbacks of dyslexia, so the struggle may become less the more UI designs encounter and implement.

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Most development shops will have someone else to design the UI for you. They'll give you the UI design, your responsibility will then be to implement it.

You'll be expected to design the UI yourself only in very small companies.

The problem lies in getting your career started. You will find that no one will want to hire you until you have shipped a product to end-users. For example all the job board posts seeking iOS or Android developers require that applicants have published Apps that are in the respective App Stores.

The way around that is to write a program all on your own. It's up to you whether you give it away free-as-in-beer, shareware, payware or open source. However you distribute this first application, it's important that you write it, that you do a good job writing it, and that you ship it to actual end-users.

That program will need to have a well-designed UI. If you cannot design the UI yourself, maybe you can find someone to help you.

When I was trying to break into Mac development for the first time, I wrote a simple vector graphic editor in C called CircleDraw. I brought the binary to job interviews with me on floppy disk, and put a hardcopy of the entire program's source code in a binder.

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I agree with the first two paragraphs of your answer, but the rest is very specific to a very small portion of the software developer job market. Software development is a lot broader then iOS or Android development. So having or not having a published app is only going to affect him if OP wants to go in that direction. I didn't see that in his question... –  Marjan Venema Aug 22 '11 at 16:24
Marjan, I used Android and iOS just as illustrative examples. Just about anyone who hires coders requires that they have a published commercial product. Many know how to write programs. Very few know how to actually finish them. –  Michael Crawford Aug 22 '11 at 16:31
My mileage is quite different. I have been in programming since 1985 and have done a lot of employed and freelance work. In that time I have never come accross anybody asking for published work to hire me. Perhaps for a contractor it might make sense, but even they ultimately work for companies and those companies usually do not allow them to disclose anything. Hiring and contractor agencies know that... –  Marjan Venema Aug 22 '11 at 16:34
@Don Quixote: I disagree with that, there are many enterprise products I've worked on that are not "published" or "commercial". Some are used only in-house, some are corporate web applications that are only available to a relatively small group of users, some are only used once or twice (data conversion/migration systems). There are many such projects in the world (maybe more than "published" products?) and many people work on such things. –  FrustratedWithFormsDesigner Aug 22 '11 at 16:36
@FrustratedWithFormsDesigner: I wrote many, many in-house programs while at the same time searching in vain for my first retail coding job. None of that experience seemed to count for anything. I was completely unable to break into retail development because I had never worked as a retail developer before. That's why I wrote CircleDraw, so I could bring its source and binary with me to job interviews, to prove that I knew what I was doing. –  Michael Crawford Aug 22 '11 at 17:36

I doubt it, because it's not often you get a job where the UI design is left entirely up to you.

If you are working for a large corporation as part of their code-monkey team, they usually have a team UI Designers as part of their staff.

If you're working for a small company with only a handful of developers, or as the sole developer, you're in charge of an entire application, including the UI design, so you get a chance to sit down with the requester and have them tell you what they want

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