With a view to what my future aspirations are in terms working as web designer, I am keeping an open mind at the moment.
With the current downturn and lack of jobs I am planning on developing the most currently in-demand skills and being prepared to work as a web designer initially on a self employed basis just as a means of building up a portfolio, and also developing the necessary skills. After gaining some experience I hope to be able to work either in contracts or full time as an 'all round' web/graphic designer.
Having looked at the required skills on various online jobsites (such as totaljobs), the most commonly sought - after coding skills after html and css apears to be PHP. So it makes sense to me to develop a working knowledge of this language. As it is also an open-source language, it is widespread as web development tool and integated into the GNU project, so is likely to be around for some time.
Learning the fundamentals of php will also allow me to incorporate secure contact and booking forms into any websites I build whilst working on my own. Online purchasing and feedback forms are a common requirement of websites for small businesses and sole traders - which will be my most common source of work.
I will also learn MySQL as it works alongside php as a database management tool.