I had taught myself HTML about a million years ago, and really loved it. I loved the artistry, the symmetry, and being able to bring something to life by just typing some characters that were seemingly gibberish onto a screen. The deciding factor in jumping to development as a career was finding out that I did not have to go back to school to pursue a computer science degree as feared. I took a part-time front-end development course, loved it, and decided to jump right into an immersive 3-month bootcamp after that.
I have enjoyed a rather diverse background - journalism, copywriting, marketing, web management, social media development, UI, product management and graphic design.
I approach programming challenges like I would approach any logic problem: I first take a step back and make sure I really understand the problem - breaking it down by sentences (or sentence fragments if necessary), restating the issues as I understand them, and working on a bit at a time. With programming, I always try to pseudo code first so I know I'm heading in the right direction.
A bunch! The bootcamp I took did a really great job in giving us a big project per language (or stack) we learned. My brain works out to be more front-end focused, so while I love the projects I've completed that showcase those talents, I'd say I am particularly proud of the first project that really focused on full-stack skills and not just design. I created a POS-style system aimed at service industry workers (specifically servers and restaurant managers) in Ruby. This project included a lot of relational database creation (which, surprising to me, I love) and lots of logic problem solving created by blending my desire for simplicity with a good workflow.
Right now, I'm working on learning a second front-end framework, preparing to become a teachers' assistant at my bootcamp alma mater, and playing with shiny new front-end things like SVGs and WebGL images.
My dream job would encompass a bunch of different things and the concept is constantly evolving. After graduating the bootcamp I took, I was dead set on becoming a front-end web developer. And only a developer. Or maybe a developer/designer. Now that I've seen what all is out there, I'd love to have a position where I can use as many of my skills as possible - I realize it's not terribly practical for me to only do (or want to do) one thing; I'd love to find work that's fulfilling and in a place that supports continued education and a great balance of work and the rest of life.
Find a program you can stick to and a network of people you feel are smarter than you to learn from. Realize that getting into development is more a marathon than a sprint, and set your mind to be in it for the long haul.