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Unicorn designer/developers are highly sought after in the software industry because of their ability to streamline the development process, reduce communication barriers between design and development teams, and deliver high-quality, user-centric software products. However, finding individuals with such a wide range of skills can be challenging, which is why they are often referred to as "unicorns" in the tech world.
In short, this is someone who can design as well as code. Although these types of developers/designers can bring a wealth of unique skills to an organization, they are sometimes overlooked in favour of hiring more specialized employees.
However, this leads to businesses often missing out on the potential of innovation that comes with working with unicorn developers. Because these developers are constantly working between more than one domain, this leads to different ways of thinking that cannot always be achieved by the traditional way of designing/developing. An example of someone like this is Don Norman who put two schools of thought (psychology and technology) together to coin the term User Experience (UX) which is used across most software development cycles.
Some benefits of hiring Unicorn developers are as follows:
- we know what designs are feasible to create in code vs. designs that just look good, because of our experience with both designing and developing
- we can bring new perspectives to both design and developing that someone who only does one of the two might not be able to see straight away
- we can bring much value into business meetings because of our involvement in both sides of the development process
- we can also be efficient managers of a development team because we know what we need to ask from alll parties in the development team as well as roughly how long certain processes will take
The skills required from a unicorn developer is as follows:
- Cross-Functional Collaboration
- Problem Solving
- User-centered Approach
- Project Management