in reply to Perl and School
When I was in high school ... (never mind how many years ago, but let’s just say that the “personal” computers of the day were made by Altair, IMSAI, and SwTPC) ... I literally made up reasons to write computer programs. I wrote programs to help me solve geometric proofs (which I despised, still do); programs for the local Explorer post of which I was a member; a program (my very first) to play the game of Fox, Chicken, Corn. And that, minus perhaps the barnyard creatures and grain products, is precisely what I would suggest that you do ... continuously.
No matter what they tell you in school (or in training classes) about diplomas and certificates and blah-blah, computer software truly is one of the last remaining crafts, and the only way to learn how to do it is to do it. A lot. “How do you get to Carnegie Hall?” “Practice, man! Practice!”
May programming always continue to engage your interest, reward your creativity, and enable you to always be proud of what you have done. Such has been my experience, and so I consider myself to be very lucky, indeed.