Designer who can code or programmer who can design?

Some articles like “We don’t hire designers who can’t code” still make me realize how things have changed or wonder if there’s some kind of generation thing I can’t catch. I’ve always thought there were a lot of designers who can code. Have those people I grew up with just went on to pursue other things eventually that they’re not anymore in the industry?

When I started “designing” sites, I was taught some basic HTML first and from there it seemed like designing how your site looked like was a basic necessity. It’s like, hey, I can do these tables or divs but how do I make it look like a site?  I guess that back then “making a website” or “designing a website” automatically meant designing, coding, and publishing everything on your own.

That was when I was around 12 years old, so around 10 years ago. Back then it seemed like there were a lot of us front-end people who design and make their own stuff. There were so many of those free-layouts sites (mostly using characters from cartoons or anime or other cute things) and a pretty big number of starting-out web designers just made more and more of them (as a hobby, it seemed). Even for those who only wanted to put up their own blog, they had to design and code their own site. And before WordPress or Blogspot became popular, you had to design and code and upload your own blog on a host somewhere on the internet (reminds me of Host-Me, which is one of those sites where you basically find a ‘host’ who has their own domain and will host your site/blog for free in exchange for friendship).

So I pretty much used to see a lot of individuals who can code and design at the same time, although the web industry as we know it now has evolved since then.

I guess I’m just puzzled as to why it seems like design and code are two different areas or skill sets for a number of companies now. And wondering why it is so rare to find people who can design and code too. It’s like, whatever happened to a lot of those people some eight to ten years ago, most disappeared to pursue something else.