This thread is intended as a simple step-by-step guide for all those of you worried about the state of the job market, and how there are "no jobs
that pay well enough" blah blah blah.
The truth is the job market is changing. Yes, many types of jobs are being outsourced, replaced by machines, etc, especially in manufacturing. In
many other sectors, however, jobs are being created at a rate companies can't even keep up with because the demand for labor is so high. Let's look
at the Information Technology sector:
u of Labor Statistics: Information Analysts, Web Developers
Now I don't agree with the BLS lumping Information Analysts, Web Developers, and Network Specialists altogether in one, as they are very different
occupations that attract very different types of people. But as you can see, the growth is expected to be very high over the next 10 years, and the
median income is around $75,000. That's more than what a Vice President of a large bank makes, and many associate lawyers fresh out of law
Anyway, my background is in developing applications in PHP and SQL, so let's focus on that one single occupation. Here's a recent job listing I
came across which inspired me to create this thread:
Craigslist: Contract PHP and Wordpress Developer
In case the ad expires, here's a quote:
Position: Contract PHP/Wordpress Developer
Location: Downtown Seattle
Rate: Up to $50 Hour DOE
Our client is a great digital design firm in need of strong PHP talent with wordpress. This is a client with big name brands that will look
candidates will be working on multiple client needs. If this is something you are interested in, please send your resume and examples of websites you
have worked on for consideration.
Craigslist is literally littered with these types of ads, although not all of them pay as highly, they all pay pretty well. There are things to take
note of about the above ad, which generally hold true for most others like it:
1. Nowhere does it require formal schooling or a 4-year college degree.
2. They're interested in examples of things you've worked on before. These could be projects you've done on your own for fun, open source codebases
on the web you've contributed to, etc. Notice they don't ask for employment history, but rather, samples of things you've created.
3. The skills required can all be entirely self-taught.
The thing that sets web development apart from most other professions is that you can learn it entirely on your own, without any need for formal
schooling, and still be able to become employed based on your skill set alone.
All you need to acquire these skills is a computer with an internet connection. If you can post on ATS, you can acquire these skills via the web.
Unless you have absolutely zero free time whatsoever, when you come home from your undesirable job at the end of the work day, spend a few hours (even
one hour is better than nothing) working on learning these things.
So here is a step-by-step guide for what should be learned, in what order:
1. Install WAMP server (free). It's a web server you can run from your computer so you can develop live web sites in any of the languages of the
2. Install any lightweight free IDE. I prefer Komodo Edit 7, but there are literally dozens to choose from that are all similar.
3. Learn HTML and CSS. There are dozens of free e-books all over the web as well as resources like W3C that will teach you.
5. Find an e-book on database design and normalization. This will be mostly conceptual and should be learned before learning the SQL language. Do this
concurrently with numbers 1-3.
6. Learn SQL.
7. learn PHP, up to and including object-oriented PHP and how to interface it with a relational database. Make sure you learn this thoroughly as it
will be your bread and butter. Do this concurrently with number 6. Nearly all sites that are driven by user-contibuted content are written in PHP and
have a relational database backend. ATS is one such site.
8. Make something cool, publish it on the web, and publish the source code.
9. Contribute to an open source project on the web. You can do this concurrently with number (8).
10. After you have published enough material, start looking for jobs that require the languages you learned. There is way more demand than supply, so
it shouldn't be too difficult.
You should be able to do all of the above in under two years. Some people may even be able to do it all in under one year, if they work dilligently
enough. There are lots of communities dedicated to helping people learn and answering coding questions, my favorite is Stack Overflow, a site where
you can ask a question and people will rush to answer you because they get points if they answer you correctly.
Anyway hopefully this will inspire at least some people to start teaching themselves a new career if they aren't satisfied with their current one.