WEB DEVELOPMENT SOFTWARE
Microsoft Expression Web 4. I chose this over Dreamweaver CS5 simply because I feel it would provide better compatibility with my SQL Server database and my ASP.Net applications (see below). Correct me if I'm wrong.
Visual Studio 2010 Professional. I choose C# over VB for my ASP.Net web applications because I'm heavily into C++ programming in my "old" job, so it should certainly be a smoother transition than VB would.
My company already has a license for SQL Server, so I'll be using that.
CSS: The Missing Manual - David Sawyer McFarland. This appears to be a better choice than CSS: The Definitive Guide by Eric A. Meyer because of the three years difference in publication date. According to the description, CSS: The Definitive Guide only covers I.E. 7.
Adobe Photoshop CS5. Yes it is rather expensive at $629, but I think I'll still choose it over GIMP for two reasons: 1. Supposedly there are still lots of things you can do with Photoshop that you can't do with Gimp. 2. There is such an enormous amount of helpful documentation and forums out there for Photoshop that if I ever get stuck it'll be much easier for me to find solutions than if I was using GIMP.
For some reason, I'm having a very difficult time finding some satisfactory training courses. I'm REALLY down on taking online training courses. I would get distracted too easily. I'd learn a lot more if I could go to a classroom and be able to talk freely face-to-face with not just with the instructor but also with other classmates. Another problem is that of the few classroom-based training classes I have been able to find (such as here) are modest one-to-two day "introductory" types. I was hoping to find a far more in-depth and intense five-to-ten day monstrosity of a training course. One in which I would work like crazy for 12 hours a day over an intense week, and then when it's all over I'd walk out of there as an absolute GURU of web design and development. Anybody know anything like that?
A couple months of all that and I should be well on my way to being a successful webmaster. Please let me know if there are some bad choices there or if someone can recommend something better.