Out of the industry for a few years--where to get back in?
I was pretty heavily involved in web design/development in the early 2000s while in middle school/high school--frequent visitor to these forums and site. Went off to college and into the workforce in an unrelated business industry. Looking to take up some freelance work and dive back into it all. My question is: where to start? I was big with PHP and I see tons of new cloud technologies floating around out there.
Just wanted to see what you guys thought is a good jumping-off point to get a little more up-to-date with my web technology knowledge.
If you're just looking to do it as a side gig, you can check out flexjobs. Lots of small companies and start-up bloggers use wordpress now, which is so easy to use that you don't need to know much about web design to use it. If you want to make money your best bet is to look at bigger companies whose web development needs are more complex.
I am in a somewhat similar position as you, and I agree: there are SO many new technologies out there, it's hard to know which one is worth the time and effort of learning. What I settled on doing was I looked at the job boards at StackOverflow, Behance, and Authentic jobs, and looked at what the job postings for the position I'm looking for (Front-end Web Developer) were asking for. I took note of the technologies they were mentioning frequently, and then focused on those. Because really, if a technology isn't being asked for by a majority of companies willing to pay you for your skills in it, it isn't worth it, in my opinion.
You might want to consider reading through a beginner-level book like Kevin Yank's to get a feel for what has changed with PHP. Back when you was last into coding PHP was probably at version 4.x it's now at version 5.4.8 You might want to consider steering clear of HTML5 for the time being as it's not really "set in stone" yet