I've just finished a two-year university focusing on graphic design & web development, starting on my third later this august.
My condolances. Nothing like spending years being packed full of sand, for a piece of paper that MIGHT get you in the door to start ACTUALLY learning on the job, but is just as likely to end with you flipping burgers.
During the education, I started with HTML5, CSS3 and responsive development right from the beginning and developed an interest for the work and workflow.
Unfortunately the HTML 5 part means you've likely only learned the worst of late 1990's practices
Now, you could probably guess I have about as much use for most 'educators' and the 'educational system' as I do a case of hemmaroids. Same goes for MOST of HTML 5.
JS is real programming, MOST courses on it at best paints broad strokes; there's so much detail AND it moves so quickly, it's hard to cover it properly in a class. Same goes for most real programming languages.
and it didn't really spark any interest from me, since there wasn't any basic introduction to get us started. We jumped right into making a dice-game, a chat-room and some other things. I never really saw what that could do for my front-end development.
We also went through a painfully unorganised PHP/MySQL course that had us create some form of e-commerce site using only our own PHP-knowledge. But through that course it felt like all we did was copy code and ask others for help in order to even make the deadlines
Wow, sounds like most real-world development these days. MOST people sleazing out PHP these days don't know enough about HTML, CSS or PHP to be doing soon.
Frameworks (Bootstrap, Foundation)
Other CMS (ghost, joomla, drupal)
...and probably a lot more
But, I still have the feeling that none of this is what would give me a boost knowledge- and performance-wise. I have no problem coding every little detail from scratch, even though modules would probably be more efficient (bootstrap3 etc.).
Honestly, Frameworks -- and I include jQuery in this, alongside things like LESS/SASS ... well, you're right. NO boost in knowledge, no boost in performance -- so your latter statment about 'modules' being 'more efficient'? No, not so much.
That most of them uncompressed are larger by themselves before you even start adding your own code than I would allow an entire site template's HTML+CSS+SCRIPTS+IMAGES (not counting content) to reach is an excellent example of everything wrong with them... Hell, you use bootstrap and jQuery -- just those two together, and gzipped they're bigger than my uncompressed site template limit! That's just exactly how big a fat bloated mess of nonsense they are.
Preprocessors like LESS and SASS are equally stupid, as they mostly exist for people too stupid to write CSS properly or understand how to properly leverage selectors. It's an extra wasted step for the people who don't see anything wrong with using 100 to 200k of CSS to do 10k's job because they never learned to use CSS or HTML correctly.
I need something to get me going, something to finally seem significant enough and matter to my career as a developer!
Do you have any passions outside development? A personal project is often the best way to develop your skills and have something to show off... no matter how silly it is or unimportant as it might seem.
Being something you're interested in can also help keep you interested. That's how my EWI website came into being. http://www.ewiusb.com
Does anyone recognise what I'm talking about or is this all crazy-talk? Anyway I'd appreciate any form of guidance and/or knowledge injection. These are some of my webpages I've made in the last months!
One big thing you're gonna want to do as a developer if you are serious about it, is kick your inner child in the crotch. I come from an art background as a musician, conventional artists, and having also worked in print both in layout and as a writer. Even though I started writing computer software in the late '70's, the transition to the web proved difficult at the start as my inner artsty fartsy type kept making me try to do things that have no business on a website.
I see the same thing in your painfully and agonizingly slow loading portfolio page. It reeks of thinking "what it looks like" before you thought about "what it is" or "how can I best convey my data to the user". You've got WAY too much whitespace, content spread out all over the place, accessibility failings, illegible webfonts mated to illegible colour combinations, gibberish use of numbered headings, endless pointless classes and DIV for nothing, a nasty case of "semantic markup, what's that?" -- but worst of all it's broken here in anything other than Firefox.
I mean, you want to grow as a developer? STOP using 14 megabytes of images on a single page. STOP using 65 separate files to deliver barely over a dozen content images and 3.6k of plaintext. Stop using massive messes like that "normalize" and stop using 30k of CSS in 5 files to do the job of 15k of css in one file.
... and remember, more files == slower page load SEPARATE from the size, a lesson that looking at what you've done you weren't taught; alongside "you don't make 14 megabyte websites".
Even with the gallery on it, I doubt that should be more than half a megabyte in a third the file count.
So there's more to learn about design, specifically accessibility and functionality, before you should be playing with anything more complex.
Oh, and never apologize for a 'long' post; that's not even long by my standards. The TLDR crowd needs a hefty case of Sierra Tango Foxtrot Uniform anyways.