If I was to take the plunge and learn a new skill for working on line what should I consider jumping into?

Hi all,
In a nutshell, I want to start looking at a new and commercially popular ‘framework’ that will lend itself to my existing skills and capabilities and afford me the best opportunity to maybe secure some online work.

The facts -

  • I live in Egypt, I’m retired here and making ends meet - just.
  • I have many years experience in IT but must admit I am pretty out of touch with the latest technologies.
  • I started with BASIC, worked through DBASE, a code generator system called SYCERO
  • I moved on to web development when search engines appeared and used ASP and ACCESS and DBASE databases
  • I now work mostly with HTML, CSS, PHP, and MariaDB although mostly for my own challenges and interests.

My strengths are logical analysis of problems, developing business processes and database management / analysis / integration. i.e user interfaces to a database for various processing storage retrieval and analysis.

In the past, commercially, I have developed systems for Accounts, Order processing, BOM, Inventory, Marketing, Data Analysis often for specialised businesses.

I am looking to diversify, I enjoy learning, but I want to look at something that may develop into a remote working opportunity and actually develop some income.

Browsing the internet I see job opportunities for Django, Python, Ruby, etc but these are totally alien to me. Should I be looking at learning Java or AJAX? (I’m ok with PHP but JS is really not my bag at the moment). Maybe Laravel, I think that’s a PHP framework ?

So basically advice please from people actually earning money, what should I look at that would involve a reasonably painless transition and learning curve, capitalise on my existing and inherent capabilities.

I want to develop a small career opportunity on line, encompassing and embracing my existing experience whilst learning a new and current framework or technology.

I am not looking for job offers or get rich quick schemes I just want to move in a new direction, benefit from my existing experience with HTML and PHP and earn a few bucks on line at the same time.

Looking for food for thought, any ideas or suggestions please, thanks guys.

If you like HTML and PHP development, Laravel is a perfectly good PHP framework you can use. It can do just about everything and has additional plugins for anything you don’t want to work with. It is also free and can be easy to get started with on most web hosting.

Another PHP thing you can get into is WordPress development. Wordpress powers nearly a third of the Internet and there are a ton of smaller companies willing to buy plugins you write or hire devs to develop applications using it. It too is relatively easy to get started with and can quickly leverage your knowledge of HTML and PHP.

Both of these frameworks/software products have a ton of free help guides, videos and learning resources associated with them.

If you want to venture into another area, you can also try things like Python and use it with Flask to develop APIs or use Django to create websites. But it sounds like you want to get up and running fast with something you already know well. So Laravel and Wordpress is where I would start.

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Hi thanks for the insights.
Curiously enough I have already been thinking along similar lines and your comments very much enforce my tentative ideas.
I did download Python and Django but gave up because the whole concept seemed so different and the learning curve looked pretty steep.
The idea of Wordpress plugins is appealing since I am experienced in Wordpress, HTML, CSS and PHP together with MySQL / MariaDB. You also have an easily accessible and identifiable market and marketing opportunities.
I have currently uninstalled Python and Django and have installed Laravel but still struggling with getting my head around the actual workings and architecture of the ‘framework’ and methods of working and how to create a beginner project.
Your comments are very encouraging since they seem to support my own investigations and thoughts.

One specific question, if I may, regarding Laravel -

Can a website developed locally with Laravel be published ‘standalone’ i.e. can I simply copy the relevant files to the server (obviously after setting up any database required) or does it have to be a ‘Laravel Server’ i.e. does a published website rely on Laravel or some element of the Laravel Framework need to be installed or running on the server?
I ask this because I have only just installed Laravel and it seems to require a database to operate, even if the site does not require one for user data, a bit like Wordpress.
Is a Laravel site always a Laravel website, like Wordpress or can it produce html pages and php files that can run autonomously on any suitable PHP / MySQL enabled server?

Thanks again so much for your time and your feedback ?

Before spending time learning any new skill you should try to research whether you are likely to be able to find any clients who need your new skill. I know it is far from easy but knowing your market, where there is demand for services, should come first.

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Absolutely, that’s kind of what I was asking when I said -


I began as a COBOL programmer half a century ago.

I developed health problems a few decades ago. So I have not had much income for a while. I am also retired therefore my basic financial needs are satisfied.

In my opinion, C++, C# and Java are the only popular languages I am interested in using. Python and PHP were not designed well. C# and Java are, as you know, popular for websites.

I began learning Microsoft technology a while back. I am working on learning ASP dot Net Core (I use ASP dot Net because this website mistakenly makes ASP.Net into a link). I have however become frustrated with Microsoft technology. Java is the alternative I would go for, I probably will later. Many sources consider Java to be the most popular language.

I am also interested in Red Hat Enterprise Linux but for some reason it seems difficult to get answers to simple questions about RHEL.

Thank you for your insights, opinions and time. I also worked with linux for a while and opted for Ubuntu. I found plenty of support in forums for this flavour of Linux. For your info if I am going to enter a url and don’t want it to display as a link on this site I mark it as code using the small built in editor menu. Like so ASP.net Happy retirement! :grinning:

If I were to take the plunge and learn a new skill for working online, here are some important considerations to keep in mind:

  1. Interest and Passion: Choose a skill that genuinely interests you. It’s easier to stay motivated and dedicated when you are passionate about what you’re learning.
  2. Market Demand: Research the demand for the skill you want to learn. Look for industries or niches where this skill is in demand, as this will increase your chances of finding online work.
  3. Skill Relevance: Ensure that the skill you choose is relevant to the type of online work you want to do. For example, if you want to work in digital marketing, skills like SEO, content writing, and social media management are valuable.
  4. Online Courses and Resources: Look for reputable online courses and resources to learn the skill. Websites like Coursera, Udemy, and LinkedIn Learning offer a wide range of courses taught by experts.
  5. Networking: Building a network in your chosen field can open up opportunities. Join online forums, LinkedIn groups, and social media communities related to your skill to connect with professionals and learn from their experiences.
  6. Freelance Platforms: Consider signing up on freelance platforms like Upwork, Fiverr, or Freelancer to find online gigs related to your skill. These platforms can be a good starting point for beginners.
  7. Continuous Learning: Be prepared for ongoing learning. The digital landscape evolves quickly, so staying up-to-date with the latest trends and technologies in your chosen field is essential.
  8. Portfolio Development: Create a portfolio or showcase your work online. Having a strong portfolio will help you demonstrate your skills to potential clients or employers.
  9. Time Management: Online work often requires self-discipline and effective time management. Develop good time management habits to ensure you meet deadlines and deliver quality work.
  10. Financial Planning: Understand the financial aspects of working online. Freelancers, for example, may have irregular income, so it’s important to budget and plan for any fluctuations.
  11. Legal and Tax Considerations: Depending on your location and the type of work you do, there may be legal and tax considerations. Consult with a professional if needed to ensure compliance.
  12. Feedback and Improvement: Be open to feedback and continuously seek ways to improve your skills. Constructive feedback can help you grow and excel in your chosen field.
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