Switching Into Web Development Career from Unrelated Industry
Okay, so I am currently 26 years old and work in Construction Management (I majored in Civil Engineering in university). I have come to realize that I really should be working in the Web Development industry and am trying to get a good idea of what the best strategy for transition might be.
I have been practicing a bit of web dev on the side and would list my skills as follows:
HTML - intermediate / advanced (would be more but I'm not great with XHTML nor HTML5)
CSS - intermediate / advanced
PHP - intermediate
MySQL - intermediate
Java - just started reading up on it
I learned my skills by reading books and implementing the code into a website that I have been working on. What I am trying to figure out is what the best way to transition and find an (entry level) job within the Web Development industry.
Is my portfolio the most important part? How many functional websites should I have in my portfolio to demonstrate proficiency when I am interviewed? Are many companies willing to take a relative newbie on if that person has potential or do they typically hold out for people that already have quite a bit of experience? I am a very quick learner and generally a good and honest employee.
Would you recommend that I work on learning more languages? Is there one specifically that I am missing that I should learn? Because it seems like the languages I know roughly match up with some of the requirements listed in the classifieds but often they'll include an extra language I don't know like ASP.net, Ruby, or familiarity with Unix / Linux.
Any advice would be great. I just want to put out the feelers before I start actually applying. I would think having functional websites in my portfolio would be a big part, right? How willing are companies to put a lot of training into a new developer?