I have had a few developments in my job search, which I plan to share with you next week when they become more concrete.
For now, here's a quick post about a small step I plan on taking in developing some marketable skills. As I've mentioned, I wish I developed my computer and IT skills instead of going to law school. One area in which I have some (albeit mostly amateur) experience is web design. I learned how to script HTML (before the wysiwyg editors were developed) in the early days of web. I even hosted a few websites, so I knew about web servers and ftp, etc.
I'm pretty familiar with HTML (and related development software). CSS is pretty straightforward (it's just a method of standardizing the appearance of multiple pages on a website). What is more complex is PHP, particularly in interacting with databases. PHP uses programming concepts to manipulate user inputed data (usually to query or edit a database). I have familiarity with programming concepts, and I'd even say I have a working knowledge of PHP, but that's not enough to really advertise it as a particular skill of mine.
I've decided to spend some of my free time (of which I certainly have plenty right now) learning PHP to the point where I can get a certificate. The training is self paced, and free, but the test/certification does cost a modest amount. It's from a website that is often noted for setting the standard for scripting and web development.
Now, I'm not under any illusion that a simple certificate (with no real work experience) is going to let me walk into a great IT/web development job. What I do hope it will do is give me credibility in applying for other jobs where there is a web development/database component and where I can get practical experience. Also, it may help me get a part time web development position where I can begin to build a portfolio.
Web and computer savvy readers, feel free to weigh in in the comment section.