I'm a web developer and have been developing professionally for two years. What is important, based on my experience is understanding what is happening, under the hood. Which is to say, you need to understand programming first, then choose a framework to work with.
Joomla does have a bad name, but it's an awesome framework - when it is in the right hands. One huge drawback of these frameworks is that they tend to lose sight of the goal and you end up battling with their tiny nitty gritties in terms of language, conventions, etc and it will basically be shooting in the dark. With a solid understanding of core concepts, you can get all this stuff much, much faster.
When all is said and done, ditch Joomla and head over to http://drupal.org
! *shameless self promotion* then you follow me on twitter @therealchiko , would be happy to share what I can.