I went to college to train as a Maths teacher. As part of that, I programmed various programs using BASIC on BBC Master computers, thereby discovering I enjoyed programming and had some aptitude for it. Dropped out of the teacher training degree, and got a job as a "Computing Assistant". Originally I was responsible for things like backups, but within a few months I'd started doing simple programming tasks (in FORTRAN). That was 21 years ago, and I've been doing it ever since.
Buy any basic book or even go online and find free information (but it takes time). Almost everything useful I learned was just going online and, in some cases, buying an up to date book and just doing it.
vBulletin got me interested. I learned a lot playing with the templates. Eventually I wanted to delve into the PHP code which is one reason I majored in Computer Science (to learn to program).
My experience was that it is very difficult to pickup programming on your own. Taking programming classes is invaluable. Most junior colleges in my area offer programming 1 and 2. Programming 1 is very basic stuff where you go through the steps without gaining much in the way of higher understanding. Programming 2 is where you learn fundamental programming concepts and can actually call yourself a programmer.
My dad was a computer programmer in the late 60's/early 70's started teaching me how to do basic stuff on a Commodore Vic-20 and 64, kept going as we'd bring each new type of computer home and eventually went to college for it
After all that I went to work as a Networking IT Consultant, go figure with web pages I'm just now getting back into it again.
I started with HTML when I was about 11/12, and just went from there. How I got into it is a little blurry, I think I saved some pages from a site once and then just played with it locally from there. Eventually I just progressed to CSS, PHP, and JS.
Necessity!!! im no coder by definition.. But it was all just an evolutionary process or me. I started out with basic HTML then started messing around with CSS.. its all basic stuff i need to know to effectivly admin a vB4 site.. I feel for anybody running a vB4 site without knowing the basics.. At the end of the day you will either wind up with a dead site or an empty wallet.. if you cant grasp the basics.. IMO.
I've been monkeying around developing small projects forever. About the time I hit college I wanted something challenging, so I chose to major in Computer Engineering. I ended up figuring out I preferred doing higher abstraction software development over doing hardware level development. After graduating I took a job as a developer and a handful of years later that is still what I am doing. My PHP is very mediocre, I work mostly in the Microsoft .NET stack, but I have been trying to learn to program in ten years as a method of practicing my craft.=)
Started with HTML around 9-10, recoded the explorer folder layouts in school to show some buttons, custom background and fake icons... All in all allowed me to then load things shouldn't normally be able to do and also customise the folder layout with my personal touch/background.
The trend caught on and I ended up doing it for most of my IT class, the head then found out and instead of getting shouted at I was asked to design the schools website, all I was given at the time was frontpage which I refused to use.
From there I did work experience in a computer store in which I learned more complex HTML and CSS in designing their website (my first client) just progressed from there, learned PHP when I needed to do some dynamic coding and simple shtml wasn't enough .
When I was 8 or 9, my dad was doing work for the school I was going to. This was around the time of the Comodore 64, maybe just a bit before, as I tend to recall using a TRS-80, or was it a Timex Sinclair (maybe both). At home, we'd have no 'basic programs', it was all about doing your own work. The computer wouldn't even have a hard drive, we saved everything to tape drive (through portable audio cassette recorder) if we wanted to.
Talk about an excellent gift. I have been involved with computers for the close to 30 years since that point!