I started building websites for friends and kept learning more about HTML and website design. During this time, I tried many different hosting companies. Some were good, some were absolutely horrible. This search took a few years. I was looking for a hosting company that offered everything that I needed now as well as all of the features that I would need in the future. In addition, they needed to offer near 100% uptime and outstanding technical support. After a few years of trying different companies, I heard about ICDSoft and gave them a try. They have everything I had been looking for and more. I can't say enough good things about this Hosting Company. Their technical support is head and shoulders above anything else I've ever encountered. I've been using them exclusively ever since.
Since then, I had been looking for a way to upgrade my skills. I had bought many books, but a book can only take you so far. I needed something more. In late 2005, a friend told me about the International Webmasters Association (IWA) and the certification courses that they offer. After checking into it, I joined up and started taking classes on everything to do with database-driven websites: Database Design, CSS, XHTML, Shopping Carts etc. These classes have helped to fill in the gaps in my knowledge. I'm currently working toward two Certifications: Certified Web Technologist and Certified Web Programmer.
Since I've been designing database-driven websites, CSS has had an incremental version upgrade (2.0 to 2.1) and MySQL and PHP have both had full version upgrades. In this business, you never stop learning!
These are the technologies that I currently use:
Below are some of the certificates that I have earned by taking classes with the IWA. Click on the image to see a larger version. The dates on the certificates are the date that I sent in for them, not the date that I actually completed the class. I've actually taken these classes over the past few years. Intro To Database Design completed in June, 2007; Intro to CSS completed in August, 2007; HTML Forms completed in June, 2008 and Shopping Carts completed in August, 2008.