Why do techies and designers use different computers for their skill set, and how come this has happened?
After working as a Designer and Developer for 20 years, what I can see in the industry is the following. If you are aiming to work at a design agency, you will likely be in a Mac environment. However, if you are seeking to work for a commercial company that is not media or tech-based, you will be made to work on a Windows PC.
So let’s look at some facts:
PC is more customisation and cheaper, while Mac locks everything down (and overcharge for the exclusivity). Yes, there are more viruses on the
PC, but that comes with popularity. Install anti-virus and be responsible with your internet browsing and downloading, and you won’t have an issue. There is a lot of choice in software compared to Apple Macs.
When creating websites, it’s probably advantageous to see how your sites look on Windows during most of your development phase, considering that’s probably your primary audience.
Programmers have generally chosen PC’s as its Windows and Windows also have a lot of software and support for programmers but at a cost. It has meant programmers are not stuck to the PC and look at other choices that are around.
The main reason for Apple having a significant design presence is “tradition.” Apple went all out, inserting their computers into the design school workflow as far back as the late 1980s.
Mac user (studio/creative studio/whatever) with a long history of using macs and have invested many thousands and thousands of dollars in purchasing mac based font technology, to switch platforms because of this investment. Starting now with the option to use Opentype fonts is a significant advantage to being able to swap between platforms.
The OS is more robust. That alone means less downtime and more production – and isn’t that really what it’s all about?
What are the benefits:
The ability to upgrade and customise hardware to specific needs.
Windows Store already has over 50,000 apps despite its youth whereas the Mac App Store had a little under 14,000
Windows PCs provide lots of flexibility and customisation (with both hardware and software)
You’re a Motion Graphic Designer that uses Apple Motion and Final Cut Pro in addition to your Adobe applications.
Macs offer a more straightforward approach to computing with fewer maintenance tasks.
Macs have fewer viruses and security issues (with the caveats mentioned in the relevant section above, of course)
They try to make it impossible for the average user to fix their product.
What are the downsides
They tend to be easy to break when not looked after with regular defragging, virus sweeps and looking after what the files are doing in the back-end
With Windows, you have to stay on top of driver updates, security patches which can be annoying as will bother you regularly to get updated.
If you want a cheaper Mac made by Apple, you’re stuck with a computer you can’t do much to upgrade and likely won’t be able to use for gaming purposes. You can, of course, build a Hackintosh to work around this problem.
Points for developers:
It does depend on the profile of the programmer, their usage, and what they do in their leisure time.
If you want to use C#/ASP.NET, the best operating system would be Windows. If you’re going to build applications for iPhone, iPad then Mac is the best option.
Points for Designers
It depends on what type of Design work you are doing and who for. I’ve been a Marketing designer mainly in my career, and this has meant I have not had time to be given a brief and get something out in response time and find the PC is better when it comes to creating graphics and code for the internet. If I worked on a Mac, I would have to test my work twice which I have no time for, and I’m afraid there are fewer Mac users than PC, so they win when marketing comes.
So the question becomes where you are positioning yourself or student or employee.
If you are all about money and making a living, I would advise keeping both platforms close to you and getting experience with them both.
The PC and Mac being used for Design and Programming and theirs no winning answer which one to choose when it comes to your future employment. Mac’s are looked upon in a better light from other artists and designers.