I'm a would-be web designer with no idea what to do next.

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http://crunchbang.org – I know that for myself,  I took the time to learn PHP, mysql, and working on javascript/jquery and the like.  I'm not against CMS's....I just would rather have my hands in the code instead of guessing where things are getting pulled from.  I had a hell of a time trying to get the header on a wordpress site to be an imagemap.  The props I'll give CMS's is once you can figure out their inner workings, they are great...and if you are just going to go with the spoon feeing that they server up (more for the beginners and the like) then it is perfect.  I& (HowTos)