What to learn now?

Hello there! I have recently decided on taking my web dev skills to the next level in order to start working with it.

I am pretty fluent in css & html and know some JavaScript, python, jQuery and php. Am starting comp.sci. this fall, but want to make money by doing freelance work on the side.

However, I feel like I’m somehow stuck in the middle. I can hack together some PHP, but not I haven’t started learning OO PHP. I can program procedurally in JavaScript, but I lack a complete understanding of how to work with objects in order to avoid a spaghetti mess — especially when combining it with PHP. Throw some ajax and mySQL into the mix and I’ll be sure to please an italian chef. (spaghetti code)

So I’m asking you some pretty open ended questions here:
[]What do you think is a good idea to learn next in order to make some $ doing this stuff?
]Should I focus on learning or just start hustling Wordpress sites for small biz owners?
[*]Any other tips from people who can remember their infancy as web developers/designers?

PS: I have a 2-year degree in Graphic Design as well

It really depends on what you want and what you like.

If you like desigining and want to earn money like today, I would suggest sites like 99designs or similar

If you want to improve your programming skills, I would suggest to go for that then. Whether you choose Javascript or PHP will depend if you want to concentrate on the client side or not. You may not earn money before you start your studies in Autumn but you’ll get the hang of it.

If you’re not sure that you can have a minimum quality, it is better not to go into business yet.

Some people say that it is better that people talk about you, even if what they say is not nice, than completely ignore you. That may be true up to a point. The thing is that bad things are rarely forgotten or forgiven.

Thanks for the reply. Well, I followed your advice and did a DesignCrowd project. I’ll add a temporary link here, so that you can see somewhat where I’m coming from.

I made this site: http://shoutkey.com/canine (temp url) based on [URL=“http://shoutkey.com/regenerate”]their design. It’s not complete yet, but everything is in place. Will add cross-browser & mobile support & mail script if they like it.

I know I can do that. I keep my markup pretty syntactic and when I validated the site, the only issues were caused by a Google Fonts stylesheet link (containing a | ) and the use of the attribute u=“foo” because of a slideshow-plugin. Besides I had to use a “magic number” in my css to resolve a weird padding/margin problem with the plugin. Will resolve that later.

My goal isn’t to make money on web design immediately (though it would be nice). My goal is to be able to get clients before christmas and work my a** off in the mean time. :slight_smile: So if you have any experiences from being in a similar situation that would be great!

I can really resonate with your point that people don’t forget/forgive bad things. That’s why I went here first. :slight_smile:

PS: This was an afterthought to my other reply which is awaiting moderation

I don’t understand this logic of going into business for yourself before you have even held down any real job in the industry. Running a business is not a side project and it definitely is not something you should do before you have held down a real job overs seen by others with a vast array of experience. Even then running a business is about 1000 times more difficult than development considering you have to be good not only development but several other areas that one could argue are more important than development ie. accouting, marketing, sales, etc.

Having said that it sounds like you would like to learn to program but at this point just know how to hack together code barely understanding on how it works. If that is the case I would recommend reading an introductory book on programming fundamentals because it seems you have taken enough short-cuts to end on the path to being able to get things done but only in the most sloppiest, ill-manored, uneducated approach possible. To reverse that is going to take stepping back and truly learning how to program which starts with a complete understanding of the fundamentals. Only than will you ever be able to move onto everything else and comprehend what is actually going on. Seriously, I would recommend a book for fundamental java or c programming. Reading and comprehending one of those cover to cover will be significantly more beneficial than hacking together wordpress site to make a quick dollar. Especially, if you are a design student without a cs background but would like to end up more in a development/programming role.

I wouldn’t sell services to anyone until you’re at least somewhat confident in what you’re doing. Yo me it doesn’t sound like you’re confident at all with what seems like good reason. Shoveling WP sites to unsuspected business owners is not the way to advance you’re career in my opinion. learning how to program is if that is what you would like to do.

Thanks for the feedback. A bit harsh though.

You’re right that I currently hack together code and barely understand how it works. Mainly with PHP and mySQL. I won’t say that the site I first linked to is a show of perfection. It was more like an exercise sprint for a crowdsourcing site. It also shows where I’m at.

With JavaScript I find interacting with the DOM to be quite messy, so I used some jQuery and kind of got stuck using it. I did make this little game-like thing without any jQuery as a practice project. Take a look at the js-code [URL=“http://tinyurl.com/n4q79cy”]here and [URL=“http://tinyurl.com/ltxnmns”]here if you want to.

The reason I want to do freelance work is to get started. I feel like life is racing past me and I don’t want to spend three more years working as a store clerk. So I set myself a goal. Before the upcoming christmas I will have clients(a dev job falls under the same category). Nothing big. But I will have started. Right now however, what matters is that I learn and improve quickly so I can develop a marketable skill. I don’t mind reading, comprehending and practicing stuff from 10-16 more books before I start getting clients. (one per week before christmas would be 16, but things go wrong, so 10) But I desperately want to get started and I spend every day making that happen.

So do you think learning a classical OO language is the best route to take? Do you have any tips on java books to recommend then?

Just bought Java: A Beginner’s Guide on kindle.

He means working in the industry. It is true that if you have experience in the industry, freelancing is easier. Furthermore when you learn how everything integrates. Not only code and design but marketing and sales, and management, etc.

Helo friends nice information , i want learn php in imidiate please suggest me how to learn php fast

Thanks in advance

Why don’t you start by reading the stickies in the php forum? There’s quite a bit of information there and lost of it is still valid

Do what you truly enjoy doing! the rest will take of itself.

you can learn through w3schools.com which is more useful. many php developer learn through this site.

That explains a lot!! w3schools wouldn’t be my site of choice :slight_smile: