avatarMegan Ng


The rise of 'full-stack' designers is transforming the tech industry, enabling UX designers to become founders by building their own applications using no-code tools.


The article discusses the evolution of UX designers into 'full-stack' designers, who can ideate, design, and implement their own applications using no-code tools. The author argues that UX designers are well-positioned to become founders due to their experience in meeting user needs and improving user satisfaction. The reduced barrier to entry in the tech industry has made it possible for designers to take ownership of their projects and create opportunities for themselves. The author shares their experience building an app with Bubble.io, a no-code tool, and highlights the benefits of using no-code tools for rapid prototyping and iteration.


  • UX designers are well-positioned to become founders due to their experience in meeting user needs and improving user satisfaction.
  • The reduced barrier to entry in the tech industry has made it possible for designers to take ownership of their projects and create opportunities for themselves.
  • No-code tools facilitate rapid prototyping and iteration, enabling designers to bring their ideas to life swiftly.
  • The author believes that building an MVP is no longer a team sport and can be a solo endeavor for designers with the right skills and tools.
  • The author argues that the debate between code and no-code is unnecessary and that tools should be used based on the needs of the project.
  • The author suggests that designers may need to pick up new skills to stay relevant in the tech industry.
  • The author believes that the future belongs to creative people with grit and agency who are empowered to build their own ideas.

The rise of the ‘full-stack’ designer

Designing, building, and launching my own app

In Nov 2021, I wrote an article about my experience with no-code tools.

And recently, I saw this tweet by Fons Mans on X and it got me thinking.

Source: Fons Mans on X

It’s Jan 2024, over 2 years have gone by, and so much has changed in the no-code tech space. I caught up with the changes lately when I was looking to build an idea I had for an app. I realised the playing field has definitely changed.

Building an MVP is no longer a team sport

Avatar credits to Cecile Parker

Building a tech product used to be a team sport of a minimum of 3 players — Founder, Designer, Developer. You needed someone with the big idea and who sets the direction (Founder), someone who translates the vision into tangible digital experiences (Designer) in pixels, and someone who executes the design in code and makes sure everything is running smoothly (Developer).

Avatar credits to Cecile Parker

Now, it’s possible for building an MVP to be a solo sport. One person can handle both ideation, design, and implementation. (I’m not saying this is the best way to build an MVP. I understand that independence comes at a cost.)

To be clear, this is nothing new. Over the years, we’ve seen developers and unicorn designers (people with design and development skills) become solopreneurs by building indie apps. It’s prime time for more designers to walk down the same path.

Why UX designers are just one good idea away from being a founder

As UX designers, we spend a lot of time thinking about how we can meet users’ needs and improve user satisfaction when they interact with our digital products. A lot of research and testing goes into ensuring our designs cut it.

UX Designer + A good idea = Founder?

Our experience primes us quite well to be a founder. By designing and building our own applications, we can ensure a cohesive integration of visual elements with user interactions. We are familiar with the continuous feedback loop required between users, creating prototypes for testing, and the iterative nature of software. This is the process of getting a product-market fit for any product.

Evolving into ‘full-stack’ designers

How do we evolve beyond the coding/designer spectrum and become a founder? Take ownership.

The ‘full-stack’ designer

Lean into your desire to control every aspect of your product. Take advantage of the reduced barrier to entry and create opportunities for yourself.

What I’ve learned in my journey of building my app is how autonomy forced me to take ownership of my project from inception to deployment. There is no part of the process I did not have a say in. Its success and shortcomings are a direct result of my oversight or intention. This is perhaps both an empowering and debilitating thought.

Why I find no-code tools are best for MVP

Bro, I’m not technical.

AI/No code is your friend.

No-code tools facilitate rapid prototyping, allowing you to bring your ideas to life swiftly. The ability to prototype and iterate at a faster pace not only accelerates the development process but also enables you to respond promptly to user feedback and evolving market demands.

[FYI I am not sponsored in any way]

For my project, I used a no-code tool called Bubble.io. I believe you can use other similar platforms — just do your research beforehand to see if it can support all the functionalities you want to offer.

My experience building my app with no-code tools

Before that, here’s a brief idea for my app: I wanted to create a platform for local tutors to publicize their services and where students and parents can find peer-reviewed tutors. Think of it as LinkedIn but for the tuition industry.

I came up with the UI screens in Figma and went to a software company for a quote. For my project, I was quoted USD$15,000 with a 3-month development timeline.

Comparison between traditional software development vs no-code tool

This was a hefty investment for me, and I resolved there had to be a better way to go about this, so I decided to DIY it. I took about 1.5 months to work on it in my spare time while holding a full-time role.

Side note: I do have some prior experience working with Bubble so it came in handy. Online forums and YouTube videos also came in clutch when I was in a sitch. I only pay $32/month in hosting fees. For a pet project, I think this is a very affordable price.

You can view my site here: www.tutorroll.com (still in BETA)

Pixel Perfection

Comparison between Figma design and Live version of TutorRoll

In 2021, I couldn’t get my apps to be pixel-perfect. But fast forward to 2024, Bubble’s new responsive engine was a real game-changer. I did make slight tweaks to my design to make it easier to implement but I got my designs almost pixel-perfect.

It’s never been easier to build software. This makes its distribution even more important.

The unnecessary debate between code and no-code

  • No-code: Idea validation, basic features, and quick launch and iterations
  • Code: Enhanced, complex features, a more robust product with more control

Tools are created to make our lives easier. Similar to design templates, they save time and get the job done. You can use them if it fits your needs. Whichever option you pick, you are sacrificing something be it time, control or SEO metrics.

As tools become easier and easier to use, perhaps the opportunity for developers to step in lies further downstream (ie. when the business idea has been validated) but we will still need custom code.

By building in Bubble, I was hoping to get my idea quickly validated and adjust its features to get the best product-market fit. I’m taking it one step at a time and seeing where this takes me.

The Career Ladder

As I grew in my career, I’m starting to see that the path isn’t as linear as I thought it was. In 2020, it felt like Junior, Senior, Manager, and Lead was the natural progression. I’m not sure if this hierarchy is still strictly followed these days.

Simplified coder/designer spectrum

With the growth of tech, we may need fewer designers at each rung. I can’t predict the future but there is definitely a reorganization going on.

The rise of multi-disciplinary designers

I think designers may have to pick up new skills. Be it a prompt engineer/designer, or researcher, everyone may be a ‘/’ something. While wearing many hats may be an overrated flex, I think technology has enabled us to do more with less and it would be wise to tap into it.

Wearing multiple hats might be the norm

Whether you’re a designer or not, I believe the future belongs to creative people with grit and agency.

The combination of perseverance and self-belief in one’s ability to influence their circumstance will be the true game-changer. As technology advances, we are empowered to build our own ideas and we can all try our hand at value creation.

No Code
Product Management
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