While the rewards for mastering Drupal are great, the learning curve is steep. Where do you find the resources you need to get started? Whether you’re a developer or a business owner, if you’ve made up your mind to try the CMS, here’s a list of resources that should make the climb up Mt. Drupal a little easier.
Bookmark it. Drupal.org is homebase for Drupalistas and those trying to break in. The site has 13,307 modules, 1,333 themes and 13,446 developers contributing new software and attending to the issues of existing ones. There are forums and groups you can join to get your questions answered or make friends that are as enthusiastic about Drupal as you are. Drupal.org is the gateway to the growing, supportive community that is Drupal. Create a username and get started.
DrupalCamps and DrupalCons
Where do you go to actually meet (in person) others in the community? DrupalCamp and DrupalCon are good places to start. DrupalCamps are weekend-long events held at different locations around the world. (FFW is sponsoring the first DrupalCamp NJ on February 4th 2012 at Princeton). It’s a chance to attend sessions on developing, business development and marketing and design.
DrupalCon happens twice a year and they’re the community’s equivalent of the Oscars. DrupalCons address what’s happening in the community and also introduce new Drupal technologies and services. It’s a time to celebrate accomplishments and set the bar for bigger things to come. Like DrupalCamps, DrupalCons offer sessions for guests at different tracks and experience levels. The next extravaganza is March 19 - 23rd. Click here for tickets to DrupalCon Denver.
If you’re interested in learning Drupal, one of the first things you need to do is sign up for training sessions. A lot of firms will offer training or will have their developers teach sessions. Acquia Training Partners like FFW offer a free 3 hour Hello Drupal training session for beginners as well as more intense paid training. If you’re in the tristate area and would like to train on D7, visit FFW’s training page to register and receive discounts for training in Manhattan and New Jersey.
Recently launched, the program aims to address the high demand for Drupal developers. As noted on the press release accompanying Acquia U’s launch, the total number of positions calling for Drupal skills on Monster.com is higher than the combined jobs for Sitecore, Jive and Tridion.
Those accepted in the program will receive six weeks of paid training on Drupal, LAMP, presentation, and problem solving skills. They will also have the opportunity to work in groups, an experience Drupal firms are looking for in a developer. Follow the link for more info on applying for Acquia U.
Blogs, Videos and Podcasts
You had to have used the Internets to be reading this post so we’re assuming that you know how to use the Google search to find blogs, videos and podcasts that can lead to Drupal nirvana. Planet Drupal qualifies a lot of blogs and aggregates the worthy into a handy list. A few notables include NodeOne, Lullabot, Drupal Dojo and LevelTen.
A lot of the books and ebooks worth your time and money is brought to you by Packt Publishing. Packt offers a subscription service where you can have 12 months access to any Drupal book they have in their inventory for $99 (or the pound or euro equivalent). That’s a pretty sweet deal considering that the price range for Drupal books is $39.99 - $44.99. Books you should check out (literally and figuratively) include: Pro Drupal Development, Using Drupal, Cracking Drupal, and Drupal 7 Module Development.
There's not one comprehensive, exhaustive resource that has everything you need to get started. Also, one resource that may work for one may not work for you. Your role as a diligent Drupal student is to piece together different resources to create a curriculum that will work for you. Lastly, Drupal is moving very quickly in multiple directions. This means there’s not an endpoint to the learning process and you’ve got to keep going to stay at the head of the class.