in reply to
the next step
Decide upon a product and create your own development project. Look around of what already exists. Decide to do something that noone has done (well) so far. Then start your own development.
It doesn't really matter if you go database, CGI, a combination thereof or any other direction. What is important is that it's a direction you will appreciate (or it won't be finished) and preferably that it's something new (or at least very much improved upon).
What software would you like to have? What do you miss in your software setup?
Once you have an idea and you start working on it you may feel that you want to involve other people. Or not. Your call. It all depends on the size of the project and your commitment.
- You will learn a lot in a project that is interesting to you. (Which is not always the case when working as a professional developer.)
- You can sell yourself on the professional market with your own project in your CV.
- You can (hopefully ;-) be very proud of your product.
Everything went worng, just as foreseen.