What Is a Creative Developer?

There are many different roles involved in the creation of a web page. A web page needs to be designed according to what a user needs, have a well-styled layout, and be able to function and have interactive elements. Creative developers are key to this process and have a role to play in creating the user interfaces that other professionals design.


A creative developer creates user interfaces for web pages and web applications based on designs and has a specialized skill set in building interactive features and animations. They are very similar to front-end developers and use many of the same coding languages and tools. 


This article will discuss the responsibilities and skills of a creative developer. To understand more on the other capabilities and required knowledge to become a creative developer, read on. 

Creative Development

Careers in creative development can take different shapes and forms but share a few main responsibilities and skill sets. 

Job Responsibilities

A creative developer is essentially a kind of web developer that focuses on making artistic user interfaces, often incorporating interactivity, music, and animation. Creative developers are typically employed by digital media or marketing agencies, although any company making products for the web could have been used for a creative developer.


Creative developers may be responsible for any part of the website creation process and are expected to be highly skilled at translating designs into user interfaces, including any interactive elements. 


Creative developers need to be able to code. Depending on the system a company is using to manage content, a creative developer may use a number of different coding languages, but the most common are HTML, CSS, and JavaScript.


HTML, also called Hyper-Text Markup Language, is the language used to build the structure of a webpage, where CSS is the language used to build a layout and design based on that core structure. 


JavaScript has many different functions. It is known as a scripting language, and can dynamically change the content on a page either in response to user behavior of some kind, like a dropdown menu appearing on click or after a certain period of time, like a popup displaying after 10 seconds. 


A creative developer may also be asked to have experience with database MySQL or PostgreSQL and programming languages like and PHP and Python. These languages allow a creative developer to create data-rich user interfaces, for example, taking in user information and personalizing the interface based on that information.


A creative developer should also be adept at using Photoshop, Indesign, and other Adobe Creative Suite products, as these are commonly used in building and interpreting designs.


Typically, a creative developer has a bachelor’s degree in information technology, computer science, or a related field, although this is not necessarily required. What is most important is having a grasp on the necessary programming languages, tools, and techniques used on the job. 


In addition to traditional schooling, there are many boot camp programs available for fast-paced introductory learning to kickstart a career in web development. These skills could be translated into a career in creative development with the right focus and portfolio.


The following are some of the best online coding boot camp programs available that teach the skills necessary for a career in creative development:


  1. AcadGild: 24/7 online support, learn from expert mentors
  2. Actualize: Part-time or full-time, live classes with video conferencing
  3. Altcademy: Intensive online classes, aimed at total beginners
  4. App Academy: 90% pair programming, 10% lecture
  5. Barcelona Code School: Heavy JavaScript focus
  6. Bloc: Offers one on one mentorship
  7. Bottega: Daily classes and projects
  8. BrainStation: Part-time or full-time, offer collaborative learning based on projects
  9. CareerFoundry: Flexible pace, guidance from mentors
  10. Code Fellows: Part-time or full-time, daily lectures, pair programming


Creative developers may make anywhere from $62,000 to $151,000 per year, with the average base pay for a creative developer being $98,123 per year.

Related Careers

Creative developers share responsibilities with other professionals in the web design and development process, and most commonly work with front-end web developers, back-end web developers, and user experience (UX) designers. 

Front-End Web Development

A front-end web developer, like a creative developer, focuses on building the user interface of a website and pays less attention to issues like database storage and server configuration. They focus on making a website or application pleasing to the eye and functional, often working together with designers and back-end developers who manage databases and servers.


A front-end developer is different from a creative developer in that they are not as likely to be hired to create artistic interactive elements or animations, although they may be able to. Creative developers can be considered a kind of specialized front-end web developer. They use the same coding languages and could manage a lot of the same tasks. 


Front-end web developers typically make between $48,000 and $131,000, with the average base pay being $76,929 per year.

Back-End Web Development

Back-end web development involves servers and databases, essentially all parts of the web development process not covered by front-end developers. This means focusing on how the database is communicating with the browser and monitoring the function of a site and its connection to the server. 


Back-end web development involves some of the same coding languages as creative development, like HTML and CSS, but requires many more back-end languages. All of the following are common languages used by a back-end developer:


  • Java
  • PHP
  • Ruby on Rails
  • Python
  • .Net


These languages can be used to make a website faster and more efficient by changing the way that information is stored and used. 


Back-end developers typically make between $38,000 and $117,000 per year, with the average starting salary at about $70,000 per year.

User Experience Design

User experience (UX) design is a multidisciplinary field that involves understanding and designing for a user’s needs and feelings. This means understanding how a user will likely attempt to use a product or service, and designing that product or service in order to match those expectations and guide the user through an easy and pleasant experience. 


UX designers need to be able to conduct research, develop products, and strategize to create user experiences that can be translated into workable technological solutions. These plans are created by the UX designer, then moved to a user interface designer who can create the plan for a specific layout. Then the design is passed to creative and other developers.


UX design can be further divided into four different categories:


  1. Experience Strategy: create business strategies that incorporate the needs of the customer and the needs of the company
  2. Interaction Design: create interaction designs involving things like buttons, animations, and transitions between pages
  3. User Research: Identify user problems and design solutions based on customer feedback. Conduct tests, gather data and structure a user’s objectives and needs
  4. Information Architecture: organize services and information in a way that makes a user’s navigation simpler and easier


Unlike creative developers, UX designers do not need to know any coding languages. However, they do need to be familiar and comfortable with the coding process in order to be able to devise solutions based on available technologies. They should understand what kinds of interactions are possible and how they’ll want and need to incorporate user data.


User experience designers make between $59,000 and $128,000 per year, with the average base pay at $85,277 per year.


A creative developer creates dynamic user interfaces for websites or web applications and can be considered a kind of specialized front-end developer. They also have similar coding skills and similar responsibilities but create more advanced interactive elements and animations. Creative developers may also work closely with front-end and back-end developers, and UX designers.

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