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Can Learning Drupal Get You a Job?

02.24.2010
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By now, most web developers have heard of Drupal and its success stories (e.g. the White House's website adopted Drupal for content management).  The question is… should you bother to learn it?  Learning new skills is always helpful to your career prospects and Drupal is gaining more recognition, but an experienced developer with expertise in a specific area like Java or .NET probably doesn't need Drupal skills to get a job.  Large website developers and less experienced developers however, would see a lot more benefits from learning Drupal.

Dave Rosenberg, a co-founder of MuleSource (now MuleSoft) and the general manager of Hardy Way, is seeing a critical demand for Drupal developers:

"I recently learned that there are more jobs available working with Drupal than there are employees to fill them. According to John Faber, COO at AF83, a Drupal development shop, they're so busy with projects that they've had to turn away business. And it's the same for many other Drupal specialists in San Francisco. There's a clear need for bodies skilled in Drupal and other open-source software, including Linux."  - "Software, Interrupted" via CNET

 Drupal has been around for more than nine years, but thanks to high-profile use cases (whitehouse.gov, Warner Bros. records), the free software package has reached over 2 million downloads.  Another content management system that's been steadily growing in popularity since 2007 is Joomla!, which is neck-and-neck with Drupal on indeed.com job postings.  Learning either system could increase your marketability as a web developer, but Drupal is known for being extensible and better for large websites.  The large community around Drupal and their module contributions are also a key selling point.



California-based developer, Tyler Renelle blogged about his experiences in the web development job market.  After applying to over 200 jobs and having nearly 30 interviews, he found that the easiest jobs to get for developers with minimal experience were PHP jobs using systems like Drupal, Joomla, and Wordpress.  He adds that the jobs using the LAMP stack were the easiest to land right out of college with 0-3 years of experience required for most of the positions.  PHP is considered by some to be an easy language to learn.  However, Renelle says there are more career growth opportunities and better pay in Java.  

The Drupal community conference, DrupalCon, is scheduled for April 19 to 21 at the Moscone Center in San Francisco.  Training from some of the best Drupal shops will be inexpensive ($150-$350) at the conference