I hope I can ask this here, but really I just want a watercooler discussion on the topic.
I am a hobbyist programmer, been using PHP/MySQL/Apache for years. I've use jQuery and strait Javascript as well. I do web design, have built websites both using frameworks like Wordpress, as well as completely custom sites from scratch. I've also worked in data migration, moving systems and data/services around, and building simple databases and PHP managers for the data.

Anyway, I am interested in web design/programming as a career (I do IT now), but not sure how to get my foot in the door. I know programming doesn't tend to require degrees or years of college time (I don't have a degree), but at the same time how do I get formal training in programming that is worth something to a business? Certificates are not looked upon as all that special, so what do I do, go find random PHP bootcamps to round out my skillset and knowledge?

I'm curious if you guys have some websites/links/schools/bootcamps/training programs or basically know of any decent way to improve my skillset that is worthy to a business and can land me a job. I'm not too interested in single-focuses, cubicle-based programming, but more informal, involved in the larger structure, design, planning, ideas, as well as the programming side of things. I don't want to be a cog in the wheel, but part of the engine and drivers seat.

Any thoughts and ideas are welcome. Thanks!

I'm assuming that you do not know neither Web Designing nor Web Development. Under these cirumstances, I will recommend you ** Learning Web Design: A Beginner's Guide to HTML, CSS, JavaScript, and Web Graphics by Jennifer Niederst Robbins **. Even if you are web designer I will recommend it to you. After that, you will, to learn PHP, have to read the book named ** Programming PHP
by Kevin Tatroe , Peter MacIntyre, Rasmus Lerdorf
**. This is an excellent book. After that, to brush up your skills on database for dynamic fuctionality read this one ** MySQL(TM): The Complete Reference by Vikram Vaswani **. It may look a little outdated but, I'm currently reading all these books and this one(the MySQL book)which looks outdated being printed almost 10 years before is actually not outdated. They have their another edition which was printed again in the year 2013 and I have that one.
If you feel that ** Javascript ** is not yet in your toolkit, don't get disappointed, the book that I referenced you very earlier(Web Designing book) has a special section dedicated for it(Javascript). But, if you want more knowledge on it, you can find good books on it as well but, currently I do not know anyone.

At last, the web design field is vary vast and covering many different aspects and they often overlap each other. Don't get afraid by overwhelming knowledge you'll have to get in order to start creating fascinating websites. Everyone has to go through such times and now it's the time for you. Remember you can easily learn all these things as you have previous knowledge of Programming under your belt and it may take maximum 4 months for you to read all these books; if you read each one a little bit every day.

I hope, my few lines helped you, If you want more assisstance, I will be here......!!!!!