Why did you want to start programming? (What was your motivation?)
I had always been more interested in computers than anything else. I started with the hardware, building my own rig etc, and got more interested in the software not long after.
Why did you choose to begin with the language you begun with? And if applicable, why are you using the language you are using now?
OOP: Java. Started in highschool because that's all they offered at the time.
Scripting: HTML and PHP.
C# and Java. They're similar in many, many ways. I personally like C# better though.
How long ago did you get started? And where are you at now?
Started around age... 12... I believe. I started a clan with a friend for BF2 and Counter-Strike, that's where the HTML and PHP come in. Made a website for the clan lol. I didn't learn Java until I was 14-15.
What learning methods did you employ personally to help you develop your skills in programming?
I'm a learn as I go kind of person. Not sure if 'Trial and Error' count as a learning technique but that's how I tackle most tasks. I also Google a lot... lol
What advice could you give to other programmers who might be feeling a little lost in what direction to take?
Decide on a simple, single program you want to write. Write it in a few different languages and see which one you enjoy/understand the most.
Is there anything you believe should be a "Rite of Passage" for programmers (such as the need to create hello world, or a snake program, etc etc).
You must break into Fort Knox with code alone. But seriously... I don't consider people "programmers" unless they know OOP. But maybe that's just me being mean...