I asked more than 1,000 Drupal users what they are good at and what skills they'd like to invest in. The results are provided below, and might be of interest for upcoming Drupal book authors, the Drupal documentation team, or those of us who want to flatten the Drupal learning curve.
Community skills
The Y-axis shows the number of people that selected the given skill.

We are good at

  1. HTML
  2. Administering Drupal
  3. CSS
  4. PHP
  5. System administration

We suck at

  1. Flash/Flex
  2. Module development
  3. Performance, scalability, high-availability
  4. Marketing/evangelizing
  5. JavaScript/JQuery

We want to get better at

  1. Module development
  2. Theme development
  3. JavaScript/JQuery
  4. PHP
  5. Performance, scalability, high-availability


fschaap (not verified):

Heh, quick-n-dirty deduction: guess we'll have to pay some people to do the marketing/evangelizing then ;-)

Anonymous (not verified):

This shows that Drupal is still a product for programmers and nerds. All things visible for the average site visitor (UI, themes, JavaScript and Flash for "beautiful" effects) are "bad". And marketing is also "bad".

Is Drupal not a geek product ?

Bart Vyvey (not verified):

I share the feeling with the anonymous remark above that Drupal is mostly for programmers, and not for designers.

The main reason for that is, in my opinion, the fact you need to know PHP in order to make a theme. A skill most designers do not have and a huge step to take. Too big in my opinion, and a very big reason why Joomla is so popular amongst designers. But the "programmers and nerds" indeed don't seem to care.

Anyone of that group cares to explain why PHP is such a must for theming?

Jeff Eaton (not verified):

The main reason for that is, in my opinion, the fact you need to know PHP in order to make a theme.

This is definitely one factor. It's going to be less of a factor in Drupal 6, however: themes do NOT require any PHP, and there is a final patch in the issue queue to make it easy to override Drupal's notoriously twitchy menu-related CSS rules.

I really believe that we'll be in a good position to change some of that with Drupal 6's release, though there is always room for improvement.

Over the longer term, I think it's just as serious that Drupal's architecture is becoming more flexible with tools like CCK and Views, and modules are beginning to break into smaller configurable units. This is good for customizing, but makes the mental hurdle of figuring out how the average site hould be composed much harder.

There are some good plans percolating that I'm hoping will simplify that, and the community needs to tackle them.

Shai Gluskin (not verified):

Yes, CCK and Views are fantastic in getting customized functionality that is stable and with excellent upgrade path. But use of those modules is very hard for the average beginner and almost impossible if you don't have some programming background.

Jeff, I'd like to hear more about the "plans" you reference.

It seems to me that using installation profiles might be part of the solution. But right now install profiles are really difficult to create and maintain. We need to make those install profiles much easier to create. Is that on the radar?

Rainer M√ľnchen (not verified):

Real interesting survey, thanks for sharing. I am about to found in the Drupal consulting business and I agree with your poll results. But one thing: I think it's very useful to invest in Marketing/evangelizing. One can complete service with consulting in this area.

Bockereyer (not verified):

I said it before and I will say it over and over again. Yes, I know I'm a grumpy old man. You may have the best CMS in the world but if you can't get the message out there you have nothing.

Sanurius Orlando Bon (not verified):

It would have been an interesting thing to know how many people in the Drupal community have Python skills. This at least would lead to the question: why are you still using PHP?

ramshack (not verified):

Python skills? If PHP is dead Drupal is dead - maybe some concepts of Drupal might survive for another framework but not the Drupal itself as it is a framework based on PHP.

tomvs (not verified):

I have started using Drupal without any knowledge of PHP and learned that, tweaked some sites and than developed own modules. Nevertheless, I somewhat admit Drupal is more useful for developers than to end-users (but this claim is not so strong if you consider all the contributed modules that are ready and work fine out-of-the-box). But I love Drupal as a platform from which real things can be constructed. Drupal can eventually become more appealing to Joomla users, but Joomla can "never" beat Drupal for developers.

Paul Hudson (not verified):

Our first Drupal development was a fairly simple job board. Simple, but still a challenge for our first attempt. Having completed the first site we have been steaming through other Drupal developments.

I don't believe the initial learning curve is that horrendous, no more so than other CMS. I have seen some superb video tutorials of the basic modules like views, cck and taxonomy.

Themes can be a nightmare for non-php-coders such as ourselves, the last thing we want to do is hack modules or the expense of outsourcing.

I believe Ubercart is heading in the right direction, with regards to the flexibility of its theme and the 'out of the box' nature of the thing.

Looking forward to Drupal 6.

terre firma (not verified):

"Drupal is still a product for programmers and nerds. All things visible for the average site visitor (UI, themes, JavaScript and Flash for "beautiful" effects)" are relatively absent. I agree. Something as simple as an administrative interface to create subwebs off of the root web would be terrific.