I remember, years ago, visiting the local hot shop of a glass blower. A place of intense heat, high pressure, and gorgeous physical art. I struck up a conversation with one of the working artists. I was curious to hear his story.
He told me that he showed up to the shop one day. He was interested, self-motivated, and eager to learn the craft. They welcomed him in, and handed him a broom.
Confused, but not dejected, he swept the floors for months. Never missing a chance to show up on time, and play his role. Every day motivated to learn. Always watching. Constantly listening. Sometimes lending a hand with the creative work when no one else was around to help.
Eventually he set aside the broom, and picked up a blowtorch. He apprenticed with experts until he was ready to do the hard work of playing a part of the production team.
Eventually he was creating his own ideas. Turning daydreams into reality. As a fully-fledged glass blower.
What's that have to do with building digital products? How does that relate to programmers and designers? I wonder if it means volunteer.
Find someone you admire. Someone you want to be like. An expert in their field. Ask them how you can help. A fantastic way is assisting someone running their workshops. Do all the random things that helps them succeed in serving their audience.
Learn the language, the tools, and the process. Discover why they exist and how to apply them. Next thing you know, you'll get tapped on the shoulder to lead the next workshop.
Where does that put you? I'm not exactly sure, but I bet it's on the right path!