The first time I used open source software was when I used Firefox, because a website supported it better than IE. These were the times when IE 7 had just come out, aagees ago, and at the time I didn't know there were any other browsers, which I know is stupid but unfortunately true. I also started playing around with Linux a while later, and I loved it so much I never looked back.
I also started working on an open source web-based IRC client with some of my friends from IRC. I enjoyed doing that, but I wasn't as passionate as I am now about open source software although I loved using it. It wasn't until a few years later, in 2011, when I started being on freenode, an IRC network dedicated to open source, more actively and participating there that I got to really absolutely love open source and want to contribute more. I now contribute to both smaller projects, and bigger projects such as firefox, and to me it's a lot of fun and I constantly learn new things!
All in all, I'm glad that I started programming back then - thanks to that I discovered what I really wanted to do. I'm now in university studying web technologies, and I work on many cool projects for both uni, open source stuff and personal projects, and I want this to become my career in the future =). I'm especially glad for my university course because it's based on learning by doing and actual practical experience, with more assignments than exams. And that's also my advice to anyone who wants to learn how to code: find a project and work on it and learn by doing!
Editor's Note: This is a guest blog post by Errietta Kostala, a web programmer and student studying Web Technologies at the University of Huddersfield. See her personal website.