Programming is not what it used to be. When I first started programming in High School I did not know where to get other code to learn about what corresponded to what functions. My high school teacher showed me some basic codes such as links, text styles, and images so I was forced to work within those basic frameworks without knowing how advanced I could have been programming . Currently the World Wide Web has exploded into a dynamic open source sharing platform where virtually any code to a function can be found if searched online properly.
By inspecting the element of any item or looking at a page source it is easy to figure out what someone did to accomplish a certain function on their website. Stealing other code is frowned upon but very difficult to enforce and thus is a frequent habbit of many web developers and amateur coders. There is also a plethora of websites such as w3schools.com, wordpress.com/.org, and drupal.org that make building a website easier than ever. It is almost as if going to school to learn programming is no longer necessary when so much online is at your disposal. Why go into one hundred thousand dollar debt when you could be making one hundred thousand simply by learning the necessary programming languages and skills on your own to get hired.
Personally, anyone that would be going into debt to go to college is making a huge mistake given the dire economic scenarios building worldwide, centralizing in Europe, and the largest economy in the world when aggregated. Learning to program and other graphic design abilities is in high demand worldwide, and there are many affordable technical schools or online resources to garner such knowledge and skills. Going into debt is never a good unless you have a strong plan to build up wealth beyond the debt accumulated and most college students lack such skills and foresight. Thus I suggest taking a more cautious approach by building up computer and internet skills before jumping into a debt burdening bachelors or master’s program.
With major open source web design and development platforms wordpress.org and drupal.org it is no longer worth working with a template restrictive company such as web.com or 1and1.com. These companies simplify the process of building a website, however your brand recognition, call to action, and ability to upgrade your website with new programming and internet trends will be limited. Being restricted to a template will stop you from beating the competition, because there will be another company that competes with you locally using a more dynamic platform such as wordpress or drupal.
With social media dominating the forefront of internet companies this decade it is integral to develop a user interactive website for your business. Open source platforms are great for this because they are always improving and building with the progress of internet and programming trends. Using a template to start out is not necessarily a bad thing and is actually the best way to get something up quickly and fast. However wordpress.org and most other open source platforms do not restrict you to the templates. If you have competent programming skills it is easy to develop functionality far beyond what the original template was designed to do.
The open source network is growing rapidly, and WordPress, the largest open source platform is now managing over 22 percent of all new websites as of 2011. This is astounding considering WordPress is not even ten years old. Drupal, however, is in some ways much more dynamic than WordPress although it is not as widely used. There are some major sites built with Drupal such as whitehouse.gov, and its customizability as a platform allows users to build massive websites with hundreds of pages of content without the trouble most web design software programs could give you. Joomla is also a very powerful open source platform that is better for designing sites with hundreds of pages of content than WordPress. Additionally, Magento Ecommerce is a powerful open source platform built for eCommerce websites that is gaining popularity. eCommerce used to be a difficult and time consuming process, but Magento provides the ability to create massive eCommerce websites within a fraction of the time of hand coding.
The open source community is set to grow faster than ever, especially with internet revenues skyrocketing coupled with developing countries increased availability of high speed internet access. Programmers of all backgrounds and ages are able to collaborate, ask questions on forums, and download plugins and widgets to customize their websites to their liking, creating a wave of unique and robust internet content like never before. It will be interesting to see the open source community evolve, as it is now becoming a major if not dominating force on the web.