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If I'm applying for a client side developer job, am I usually expected to know designing as well? Such as CSS? I have knowledge of JavaScript, JQuery, Ajax and HTML5 basics, and HTML DOM. Is this enough or should I also be able to style nicely in CSS? I have a basic knowledge of CSS, but I certainly can't style anything at all. And I really dislike CSS or styling tasks

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css, java, dba work, taking boxes out to the boss's car ... –  NimChimpsky Jun 13 '12 at 8:31
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Maybe if you dislike CSS, you shouldn't be looking for work as a web developer. It really is one of the essential tools of the job. Would you want to be a carpenter if you didn't like screwdrivers? –  David Wallace Jun 13 '12 at 8:46
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@karank I tried to run away from it as well, it worked for a while, but eventually i reached a situation where i HAD to do that and my ignorance hit me hard in the head. What is it that you don't like about it? Maybe you can find some solution. –  Silviu Straliciuc Jun 13 '12 at 9:11
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If you find UI work at all interesting, I would try putting some more effort into the CSS side of it. As you start to see what it's capable of doing for you, you'll want to learn more. –  Erik Reppen Feb 27 '13 at 6:45
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@karank "But there are server side developers who wouldn't need any knowledge of CSS, but they're web devs." No they are not. –  NimChimpsky Feb 27 '13 at 11:06
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3 Answers

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It really depends on your team's work model. Design skills are sure a "nice to have" thing for a web developer, however the extent to which you have to do actual design will vary between places and projects. While you might not be expected to design a site from scratch, you should be able to style a page in CSS when handed a layout from a designer. At the very least, you would be dealing with CSS as a client-side developer anyway in JavaScript, so there's really no way to avoid it completely.

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Glad you think my answer hit the jackpot, however it's customary to give others some time to answer before accepting one. 30 minutes and 2 answers is a tad too fast ;) –  scrwtp Jun 13 '12 at 8:39
    
Well, your answer seems to be applicable in my current company atleast. Though I'm also open to any other answers or opinions, especially ones saying 'CSS isn't necessary' :p –  karan k Jun 13 '12 at 8:46
    
Design skills can also keep you in a job because employers will tend to view this as a two-fer. –  jfrankcarr Jun 13 '12 at 11:25
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CSS is not a designer skill. It's a client-side developer skill and not at all an optional skill for exclusively UI development. And yes, you should make it a goal to be able to take a layout from a PSD and turn it into a near-exact replica using CSS. Because when you can do that, two good things will happen for you.

  1. You'll never go hungry.
  2. As you get better at it and learn more, the amount of js it takes to write robust, performant UI widgets will typically be reduced by anywhere from 30-95%.

You can get away with not being great at CSS, but I wouldn't be excited about working with a client-side dev who had years of experience and never got around to learning the nitty gritty of how the various positioning schemes work or who wanted to use tables or grid-positioning schemes rather than be bothered to learn the basics of how to work with HTML flow.

Like JS, the rest of web technology isn't spreading all over the place like wildfire by accident. It's fast and flexible.

But I'll be honest. "can't style" sounds like you're not even functionally literate in it. I wouldn't hire you if I had that impression. Not even at the entry level. It's a critical component on the client side for both styling and robust behavior. None of it is rocket science, but there is a lot to know and you're not going to be able to compete on the client-side if you're not really interested in learning more about all of this stuff constantly because there's a new layer of it to learn every 2-3 years or so.

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It really depends on the size of the team and the company, but I would say yes, during your career as a client-side developer you will certainly encounter projects that are too small to hire a dedicated person for the styling.

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