SitePoint Sponsor

User Tag List

Results 1 to 2 of 2
  1. #1
    SitePoint Zealot
    Join Date
    May 2002
    Posts
    181
    Mentioned
    0 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)

    Training/education for a web entrepreneur? Tips?

    I've been involved in web development and design for just over 10 years now - half of that time being employed and the other half being self-employed. I really enjoy being self employed but I feel like my skills are limited and outdated and I'd like to improve them before I jump back into that world again. The problem is, I'm not sure which skills I should work on first and how I should go about doing that. I originally picked up a book to learn HTML and took some formal Photoshop classes many years ago. The rest of my skills have been a trial-by-fire sort of experience. I'm naturally artistic and design comes easier to me than others I suppose. But I've never really had any formal "web design" or "scripting/coding" training.

    Over the past 10 years I've dabbled in CGI scripts, PHP scripts, ASP scripts, Javascript, CSS, and a few other scripting languages. But I'm the type that can take an existing script and modify it to do what I need, rather than writing something from scratch - probably because I am a quick learner that has had no formal training in coding. I've spent most of my self-employed years building, customizing and running vBulletin communities and I've had some real fun doing it. I also spend some time on the side building sites for others but don't enjoy that as much as I do building my own projects and trying to monetize them.

    My goals are to keep building sites that provide income (not to get rich - though wouldn't that be nice?!?!). I don't see myself being a contract web developer/designer outside of side jobs, but I'm sure any improvements I make to my skills will always keep this option open to me for side business. The problem I keep running into is that my skills aren't strong enough to allow me to take my ideas on paper and turn them into fully functioning websites. I envision continuing to work with platforms like Joomla, Wordpress, vBulletin, and other PHP-based scripts as starting points and modifying them to get to the final product, which is a site that includes stock built-in features (like user registration), giving me the ability to spend most of my development time on the custom features and functionality that I can't achieve through free plug-ins and add-ons. I'd like to be able to write my own custom plug-ins and add-ons and be able to look at these scripts and understand how they function to better write those plug-ins.

    With that said, I have picked up a few books but am having a hard time forcing myself to learn PHP/MySQL from a book. I tend to like the Visual Quickguide Pro books (from Peachpit Press) and the Sitepoint books. I'm finding that I'm more of a visual learner though and that a structured training course might help me learn faster. I've recently taken an online web course for an Adobe product and found that it was pretty helpful. But I'm hesitant to go out and take a college course knowing how generalized they typically are. I don't like wasting time learning about things I have no use for.

    My questions would be - where do I start? Basic PHP training? I'd hate to waste time on stuff I'm already familiar with, but if a strong understanding of fundamentals is necessary, I'd do it. What scripts should I absolutely learn and what priority should I put on them in terms of specialization (PHP - MySQL - Javascript - CSS)? Any other tips for someone like me knowing the goals I have? I'm also looking for suggestions on how to better manage myself, as I've found that I've gotten lazy since taking on a full time job. I need to become more disciplined and efficient. I'm not a natural project manager, but I'd like to get better at that too.

    Any suggestions/recommendations would be appreciated. I've never considered myself a natural programmer, but I love creating things, and creating websites has been pretty fulfilling so far. I just feel like I need some advice from some professionals who have the skills I need to learn to be successful at what I'm trying to do.

  2. #2
    SitePoint Guru bronze trophy AndrewCooper's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2008
    Location
    Manchester, UK
    Posts
    627
    Mentioned
    10 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    Quote Originally Posted by ludachris View Post
    My goals are to keep building sites that provide income (not to get rich - though wouldn't that be nice?!?!). I don't see myself being a contract web developer/designer outside of side jobs, but I'm sure any improvements I make to my skills will always keep this option open to me for side business. The problem I keep running into is that my skills aren't strong enough to allow me to take my ideas on paper and turn them into fully functioning websites. I envision continuing to work with platforms like Joomla, Wordpress, vBulletin, and other PHP-based scripts as starting points and modifying them to get to the final product, which is a site that includes stock built-in features (like user registration), giving me the ability to spend most of my development time on the custom features and functionality that I can't achieve through free plug-ins and add-ons. I'd like to be able to write my own custom plug-ins and add-ons and be able to look at these scripts and understand how they function to better write those plug-ins.
    So having the ability to do something, anything custom on the fly by yourself from sketching out the idea on paper is what you want then? But right now you're just settling for the platforms you listed eh?


    Quote Originally Posted by ludachris View Post
    With that said, I have picked up a few books but am having a hard time forcing myself to learn PHP/MySQL from a book. I tend to like the Visual Quickguide Pro books (from Peachpit Press) and the Sitepoint books. I'm finding that I'm more of a visual learner though and that a structured training course might help me learn faster. I've recently taken an online web course for an Adobe product and found that it was pretty helpful. But I'm hesitant to go out and take a college course knowing how generalized they typically are. I don't like wasting time learning about things I have no use for.
    Don't see it as forcing yourself to learn it. You want to learn it. Just motivation is what you need for reading through books. And seeing as you're already reading Visual Quickguide Pro books and SitePoint books, I won't recommend any right now, you'll know what you need.

    I guess perhaps the smooth, at-your-own-pace structured training course is your preferred style of learning then? There aren't many courses that I know of locally but online there is always the O'REILLY School of Technology.

    Quote Originally Posted by ludachris View Post
    My questions would be - where do I start? Basic PHP training? I'd hate to waste time on stuff I'm already familiar with, but if a strong understanding of fundamentals is necessary, I'd do it. What scripts should I absolutely learn and what priority should I put on them in terms of specialization (PHP - MySQL - Javascript - CSS)?
    Go from the start with the current knowledge you already have. I would suggest the following two certificates from O'REILLY School of Technology:

    - Client-Side Programming Certificate
    - PHP/SQL Programming Certificate

    They can help along with the reading from the books you have. It's slightly touchy for me to help, you don't want to go into a career with this but you want to know about it, so I don't know what path would be best. But by the sounds of it, what I've suggested should help, hopefully lol.

    Also, my take on the being lazy part is just needing the motivation to do it. I wouldn't say you're lazy but I don't know you personally either. Get motivated to carry on with your learning and I'll be expecting to be reading about you in a few years, having created some awesome Website making tonnes of cash .

    Andrew Cooper


Bookmarks

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •