Thinking like a developer for designers


(5 ratings)


5 Days


Cohort-based Course

Level up your technical literacy to become a better communicator, collaborator, and designer without learning to code.

Course overview

Skip learning to code, enjoy the benefits of technical literacy instead.

Learning to code takes months/years of sustained effort, bootcamps & courses that accelerate this process cost $$$, and the time we spend here is time not spent improving our core design skills.

Now, it's clear why we still do it – understanding technology helps us communicate & collaborate with developers, which is essential because our designs are always at least one degree removed from end users.

Think about it – no matter how user-friendly or documented or beautiful our designs are, they're ultimately implemented by a developer before they reach a user. So, our ability to improve a user experience is directly throttled by our communications & interactions with developers.

Clearly, there's tremendous ROI from getting better at technology, but we don't have to waste our efforts learning skills and syntax we'll never use. Instead, we can get the majority of the benefits by just understanding the technology behind the products we design, i.e. developing our technical literacy. In doing so, we can refine our ability to think critically about the tech that powers our designs, vastly broaden our career horizons, and amplify our impact on product strategy.

If you're ready to level up your technical literacy, we'd love to see you in class 👋

This course is for you if...


You want to understand and participate in technical discussions.


You want to grow your design career by working directly with developers.


You want to improve your digital design skills and create practical solutions.

What will we be doing?

Developing our technical vocabularies

Frontend, backend, APIs, CRUD – we'll explain all those technical terms you keep hearing but have never really been taught so you can clearly and precisely communicate with developers.

Deep diving technical concepts

How exactly does the internet work, and why does a designer need to know that? We'll be covering all of the fundamental concepts you need to know, in just enough detail, to understand how technology works today.

Building useful mental models for how tech works

Did you know data has a lifecycle? Most designers don't because it's never taught to us! We'll explore beyond vocab and concepts to understand how technology shapes the solutions we can offer users.

Exploring tools & techniques for better collaboration

Building on our solid foundation, we'll tie everything together and learn how to better collaborate with developers so you'll have the skills to catapult your design career forward.

Course syllabus

3 live sessions • 20 lessons • 59 lessons
Expand all modules
  • Week 1

    Dec 4—Dec 9

    Week dates are set to instructor's time zone


    • Dec



      Mon, Dec 4, 10:30 PM - 11:00 PM UTC

    • Dec


      Tech support

      Wed, Dec 6, 6:00 PM - 6:45 PM UTC

    • Dec


      Tech support + graduation

      Fri, Dec 8, 6:00 PM - 6:45 PM UTC


    • Free preview

      What are developers thinking about?

    • What is code?

    • What are coding languages?

    • How does the internet work?

    • What's the deal with frontend & backend?

    • What is data all about?

    • Where, oh where, does data live?

    • Developers use components too?!

    • What about interactions?

    • How are interactions managed?

    • How does data move around?

    • How does data relate to other data?

    • How does data live?

    • How reliable is all of this code?

    • Does performance matter?

    • Is this code sustainable?

    • How is engineering work scoped?

    • How can I collaborate better with developers?

    • What does an ideal collaboration look like?

    • How far have we come?


(5 ratings)

What people are saying

        This course is very concise and straight to the point. There is no fluff, only the most important information. Nick's teaching style is great, and he was very open to our questions. 
Maja R.

Maja R.

Cohort 1
        Great presentation, storytelling, and breaking down of the content. Gradually build up to more complicated concepts, then connect everything in the end. It helped big time with “connecting the dots” for me.
Alice G.

Alice G.

Cohort 2
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Thinking like a developer for designers


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Free resource

The power of technical literacy for designers

Looking for a taste of what we'll cover in the course? Well, look no further – you've found it.

In this jam-packed video, Nick & Ridd take a sneak peek at what we'll cover in “Thinking like a developer for designers” including...

  • what technical literacy is,
  • why it's so important for designers,
  • a real-world example of how to think about data needs,
  • and more!
Get your free sneak peek

Course schedule

~8-12 hours
  • Orientation

    Monday, 12-1p Central

    Meet Nick, get the lay of the land, make some new friends – it's going to be a blast.

  • *Live* Tech Support Q&As

    Wednesday & Friday, 12-1p Central

    Get answers to your burning questions, feedback on work in progress, and maybe even some help with that spotty internet.

  • Self-paced Lessons

    ~1 hour per day

    Learn at your preferred pace with our video lessons.

  • Stretch Exercises

    Whenever you'd like

    Life's busy enough, so we're not going to give you a mountain of homework. Instead, practice on your own terms with our stretch exercises.

Who's teaching this course?

Nick Basile

Nick Basile

Product designer & developer

After a decade of crafting digital products as a product designer & developer, I now run a digital agency, called Markham Square, where I bridge the gap between these disciplines.

But, it took a long time for me to get here. I started as a designer who struggled to understand the technical side of things. To level up my understanding, I spent years and thousands of dollars learning to code.

Along the way, I realized that designers don't need to spend all of this effort to learn to code. Instead, we just need a solid foundation in technical literacy.

I've packaged up all of my learnings into this course so you can avoid these costs and get right to the good stuff.

See you in class!


Frequently Asked Questions

What happens if I can’t make a live session?
What is the expected time commitment?
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Thinking like a developer for designers


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