This article asks for a rant, so here you go:
I got into this by luck. Otherwise I might have been just the run of the mill awkward person :) My mom found an ad in the paper. A school was looking for students to start 5th year on a computer programming curriculum, and entry was test-based. You had to pass a maths and a literature test on subjects that a 4th grader should be knowing.
I hadn't seen a computer until I started school in September, but there was a book that was recommended, and I got that during the summer holiday. With no computer, just with pen and paper, I went through the book, and it just went in. I had a void in my brain that gladly sucked it all in. The I about forgot it all when I sat in front of a Spectrum clone and didn't realise I had a power button to press on the monitor to turn it on.
Ever since, I've been attracted to the field. I was 11 when I started. Being awkward helped a bit. I was never competitive, so I rarely played any games that others could play, so if it was a game, it had to be a text-based adventure. Nobody would play those, and I'd get my ass kicked in any others, so I avoided those. The guys kicking my ass in games weren't really that good at programming the computers, so hey, while you guys are busy playing games, I'll try this little algorithm I saw in a book and see what it does and try to understand it. I spent my PE classes in the computer lab instead. Things moved on, we got PCs, we moved from BASIC to Turbo Pascal, and it was still great. I dabbled with assembly language, but never got experienced with it. I picked it up a few times, but never got past flinging a few registers and some data on the stack. I don't regret it though. I learned other cool things.
I'm glad I didn't jump straight into C, as in Pascal you have a real string type that you don't care about, but in C you have a... convention... And if anything, when you start to learn programming numbers and strings are what you play with first. These days people are started in C, which I think is plain mad. Back then Python wasn't on the horizon. Nowadays, if you don't start newbies on Python as their first ever language you need to be shot. Python is the new BASIC in my view. What I like about Python is that "batteries included" thing. Want to have a taste with something? import thing_that_does_what_you_want_to_play_with. You'll study what that does later. Play time is now. Some purists may consider this to be ass backwards, but come on: to get interest, you have to play with it first, then study the boring bits. And study the boring bits in locally ordered random sequence. Sequential order can only put you off and make you hate the thing. And by FSM don't start people in Java or C#! You can put that in a follow up class, after your students know WTF to do with a computer in terms of programming.
Nowadays I'm abusing the hell out of Bash, but only because I got really good at it, hated Perl, didn't actually get properly acquainted with Python until recently, and I have serious aversion of using PHP to write console tools.
Of course, as you might imagine for a Slashdot reader, my social life is absolutely devoid of content :) I don't like it that way anymore, but if I let go I have no idea what to do next. It's like you either do this full-life, or you don't. If I cut down, I just feel that I'd write OpenSSL-style code instead, and I'm not at ease with the idea at all. The fact that I work in a very tiny company that relies on me probably doesn't help. This paragraph is probably good material for an "Ask Slashdot" article: "How do you cut down and get a life?". I know it's a viable proposition for an article after reading the comments on the "Parenting rewires male brains" article. Either everyone there was masterfully trolling, or I've been doing everything wrong in my life so far. I'm yet to see what I can do to fix that, but I have to, as I'm 31 now, and I don't want to become Larry Laffer (he is 40 in the game).
Oh, and I think I'll be getting my first downmods ever. But do as you like. /RANT