The One Thing Designers Can Do To Gain Freedom HINT: It’s Completely Free


Freedom is probably one of the most sought after things today.  We all want the freedom to do what we love, financial freedom, freedom of time, the list is endless.  Over the years, I’ve noticed one thing that has provided me an insane amount of freedom.  What is it?  Learning to code.

If you don’t have any knowledge about coding, it might seem pretty scary, but there are so many resources that turn learning code into a step by step process.  My favorite is the Code Academy.  What’s more, is that the benefits of learning to code are pretty insane.

design freedom

How Learning to Code Has Made Me a Better Designer

I’ll be the first to tell you that I am by no means a stellar coder.  I’m mediocre at best.  I really just hack away at it until something works.  But here’s how I’ve noticed my career as a designer improve since I’ve learned to code.

Coding teaches you how to break large tasks into smaller parts.  When I really learned how to code, I noticed that I started thinking how to break down large tasks that I was doing into smaller, bite sizes pieces.  You’ll learn how to build a solid framework that you then add detail to.

One trap that’s easy to fall into as a creative is getting too detailed to quickly before having the larger picture in place.  Coding reinforces the larger picture because it’s simply not possible to get to the detail before the framework is in place.

Coding is going mainstream.  If you’re an advanced Sketchup user, chances are you’ve discovered dynamic components.  They’re pretty awesome, but take some knowledge of coding.  Along the that, Autocad has dynamic blocks, Revit has families, and Archicad has objects.  Software companies are starting to allow users to program the objects they’re using within programs.  If you really want to save time as a designer, these parametric features are the way to go.

Money in the pocket.  You don’t have to get so good at coding that you make money at it, but if you plan on becoming a freelancer or owning your own business, knowing how to code will save you money.  Hiring a web developer can be expensive.  Even if your plan on hiring a web developer for your freelance or business website, it’s good to have some knowledge of what’s going on behind the scenes.  At least be competent enough with code to be able to edit your website on your own.

It’s the future… Seriously.  Coding is an ever growing field and every day there are more and more things that need coding.  It wont’ be long until kids are taking coding in school is just like taking language arts.  Don’t get left in the dust.

Where to Learn Coding

I highly recommend snagging the book Code: The Hidden Language of Computer Hardware and Software.  It’s a great introduction to computer science and is an easy read considering.  Charles Petzold takes some really technical information and makes it consumable.

After you’re through that book, head on over to Code Academy, pick a programming language, and just get started.  If you stick with it and learn something, I promise you won’t regret it.  It’s much easier than you think.

Are you interested in learning how to create dynamic elements to use in your design software?  If so, leave a comment below!




  1. allstarcarpetandtiles June 24, 2019 at 10:31 am #

    Great tips. I’m bookmarking this page. Its a great resource to keep. Thanks for sharing.

  2. hamzakhan17826 May 19, 2019 at 7:16 am #

    Ok sure, I will follow your steps before going to do exams. I hope your article will help me more.

  3. karlmistos May 14, 2019 at 10:41 pm #

    Thanks for sharing this. I’ll definitely share this with my classmates at de la salle zobel.

  4. classboat01 October 17, 2018 at 7:37 am #

    Hello there and thanks for your information, I have certainly picked up allot new info from right your post. You are also provided information about best tips for exam,Which is very helpful to me and other people also.

  5. mikemoreno September 5, 2018 at 3:48 am #

    thank you very much, verry helpfull…

  6. jogesh12345 August 14, 2018 at 1:55 am #

    Very effective and informative article.Thanks for sharing such an important tutorial.

  7. FLMIMA August 11, 2018 at 9:20 pm #

    Really helpful website

  8. Rumi July 15, 2018 at 7:16 am #

    I feel very grateful that I read this. It is very helpful and very informative and I really learned a lot from it.

  9. RJennings April 28, 2018 at 6:12 pm #

    Thank you for this website. The practice questions are helpful.

  10. Scott March 22, 2018 at 1:50 pm #

    Taking this test on Saturday. Last 4.0 exam to complete for the trio, then on to 5.0. This site is my go-to place when organizing what materials I’ll be studying

  11. shozab January 30, 2018 at 2:22 pm #

    Hi , very good article.

    thanks for sharing, keep up the good work

  12. dyba January 27, 2018 at 1:08 am #

    Good advice. Best of luck to all!

  13. KendraShirley January 16, 2018 at 4:04 pm #

    This is my favorite site for practicing for my tests! Great advise and super helpful.

  14. reximagetrim January 16, 2018 at 10:37 am #

    Nice post to read. A complete guide that can help all of us.

  15. tylerstockholm December 17, 2017 at 9:37 pm #

    Nice one… very helpful! Thanks!!!

  16. Aartiwalvekar November 21, 2017 at 8:56 am #

    Nice post

  17. Aartiwalvekar October 9, 2017 at 9:45 pm #

    Great post!

  18. Tony August 30, 2017 at 7:07 am #

    In the NCARB ARE 5.0 handbook they reference Fundamentals of Building Construction: Materials and Methods in both of their example questions for cost estimating. Unfortunately there isn’t a specific chapter on cost estimating, it’s woven throughout the content.

  19. Spencer August 30, 2017 at 1:15 am #

    What is the best reference for cost estimating for PDD.

  20. Amy July 26, 2017 at 3:24 pm #

    Thanks! Great advice

  21. Tony June 29, 2017 at 7:23 am #

    Deciduous trees should only be used for shade (especially in temperate climates). Deciduous trees lose their leaves in the fall and will have little protection against wind in the winter when it is most needed. Likewise, the leafless trees allow solar heat gain in the winter when it is desired, and shade in the summer.

    Coniferous trees are only to be used to block wind and views. Since they don’t lose their needles, they work great for these two items year-round.

  22. Shahid Logan June 28, 2017 at 4:50 pm #

    Hello. My name is Shahid. This comment is for anyone who would like to reply. On the Siteplanning test. To block the wind, can you use a Deciduous tree or must you use a Coniferous tree?

  23. Mike January 4, 2017 at 11:04 am #

    Hi Tony,

    I need to take 5.0 PPD & PDD. Do you plan on posting notes such as “Caroline’s Notes” that you had posted for the various 4.0 exams for either of those sections? I found those notes to be some of the best resources in studying for the 4.0 sections. If so any idea when? Thanks

  24. Stephen October 17, 2016 at 9:30 pm #

    Hi Tony,
    Any updates on the SS exam ? If there’s an expected release date ? Thanks

  25. DesignerHacks October 4, 2016 at 12:11 pm #


    We are releasing practice exams for the SS exam later this fall.


  26. Paige October 4, 2016 at 11:34 am #

    Will you have SS questions on here at some point?

  27. Daniel September 9, 2016 at 8:47 am #

    Great post, very helpful with the lists of suggested materials, I just passed CDs in July and am taking PPP in November so I definitely needed the list.

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