I'm new to this site and new to programming as well. I've spent some time going through an intro cs book that uses python as the language of choice.
I find the exercises interesting and engaging and I generally have had a favorable experience programming so far. I've gone through some of the basics with python like writing simple programs, basics of GUIs, manipulating strings, lists, defining functions, etc. And I've always loved technology. Although I've never done any real hardcore programming yet, I was inclined to building websites from a very young age but I never really developed my skills.
Now, the thing is I'm 25, I have my bacholors in environmental studies and two masters degrees in urban planning and landscape architecture respectively. I know, it would be quite a departure to pursue a career in programming at this point.
Currently, I'm working as a geographic information systems intern. I've taken some GIS classes and have a lot of experience with making maps, doing spatial analysis etc. So what I'm thinking is maybe I can learn some solid programming skills and apply these skills in the field of GIS. From what I've seen, .net languages are the norm in this arena. Could you perhaps provide some guidance to me in terms of what languages I should focus on or courses I should take at this point? What about for building web mapping applications?
Also, I was thinking about getting a certificate in programming from a university extension program. Do you think it would be worth it? And furthermore, do you think potential employers would be interested in hiring someone like me (once I get a couple of languages down pretty well) as an intern or in an entry level position? I'll be living in the bay area so I feel that there should be decent opportunities even though I don't have a b.s. in cs.