Yes, design is much more than how something looks, it's how it works. Regardless, the honing of design aesthetics and development skills simultaneously still fight for attention.

Design and development play off of each other to creating working beauty. Design aesthetics, however are different.

"Design is not synonymous with aesthetics, although aesthetics are a component of design." - Aral Balkan

While design aesthetics and development don't necessarily knock heads, they still fight for room in a designer's / developer's mental toolbox.

Graphic Design as visual communication remains reliant on signs to generate emotions from viewers and users. Some of these signs are only accessible to the designers who can do more than utilize visual hierarchy. Great graphic designers tap into specific aesthetics to reach different target audiences. Much of design is building a set of aesthetics you can draw from by seeing influential and quality work. These aesthetics manifest themselves in a synergistic way into a project.

Programming is another thing, involving the abstraction of code into something modular, efficient and elegant. It's how things actually work underneath the visual level. Programming requires an understanding of the context the code will be executed in. It also calls for the ability to use of different syntaxes (not quite unlike designers use visual verbal syntax) and understand how the logic underneath works (similar to visual communication in graphic design).

The Conflict?

At their core however the two are different. The fight for attention between the two is a rather simple one of time. There are only so many hours in a day to program or soak up great design. When you add weight to one you take time from the other. Writing in new languages does little to inspire creative visual approaches to problems and trying out new typefaces does little to aid in abstracting code.

Everything is a spectrum, but how do you do both really well?

How do you balance the two (or more) disciplines? Let me know @Aetherpoint