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It might seem strange to talk about career matters in a course that's really all technical. However, the demand for Drupal talent is really high right now, so it's a good time to look at it, and how to take advantage of all the opportunities that are out there. The job site Indeed.com shows a few thousand Drupal jobs out there right now, and you can see that just by entering Drupal up here, and searching. Wow! That's nearly 3,000 jobs as I'm recording this and there's probably more when you're watching it. If you go down to the bottom of the screen and click Trends, you can see that Drupal is doing pretty well compared to other web platforms.
For example let's enter in here Drupal, vignette, which is a closed source program, and Joomla, and let's take a look. And there you go, Vignette is actually going down in its popularity. Joomla is still doing pretty well, but Drupal is really taking off. Now let's add Dreamweaver, which of course has been in the market for many years. And then finally let's just take a look at WordPress. That gives you a pretty good idea of how they all compare in the market. But the one big difference is the salary level for each of these.
Let's just take Drupal and WordPress. So we click Salaries, enter Drupal, and then add comparison and enter WordPress. And there you go, and that really makes sense. While Wordpress powers far more sites than Drupal, most of those are hobbyist blogs or for very small companies. So Drupal is big and it's getting bigger. The question is how can you take advantage of the opportunities that are coming down the pike? Here are some tips that I've learned from watching people for five years succeed in the Drupal community.
First, narrow your focus by figuring out what skills you want to develop. For example, I'd like to build sites that pull together data in interesting ways, other Drupalists specialized in theming, mapping, search engine optimization, and dozens of other things. If you enjoy it, get good at it. Second, consider going after a market that can use those skills. One problem many people have when they first start a business is that there are just too many prospective customers. But once you choose a small focus slice, you can market yourself in ways that appeal to that specific slice.
I know successful Drupal companies that build sites for nonprofit organizations, others that build for churches, and some that build for local governments. Look for areas where you already know people, and where they already know you, and start there. Third, people want to see what you've actually done, so start building your web sites now. Find a reason to create sites that show off your talents. It's one thing to say, trust me, I'm good at what I do, and quite another to just give out some URLs, so people can see for themselves.
Fourth, get involved with the Drupal community. Especially when you're first starting out, you'll need it to figure out what you're good at, and who you can call for the things that you're not so good at. A lot of work comes through the community and people tend to hire those people they know. So get to know them and give them an opportunity to know you. For some tips on how to get yourself out there in the community, see the video "Joining the Drupal community" in my Drupal 7 Essential Training course. Connected to that is stay in touch with trends both within the Drupal community and in the business world at large.
Remember that Indeed.com screen you saw earlier? One of the big hiring trends is for people who understand HTML5, which is a major topic in the Drupal world as well. Keeping an eye out for how the two of them combine and what trends are coming up, will help ensure your skills and contacts stay current. Really a Drupal career is just like any other, except that there is a lot of opportunity right now. Just keep plugging away at it, keep yourself out there, and keep being known for doing good work.
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