Self-deprecation is fine, just realize that there’s a dear line between embracing your own ignorance and ensuring a prophesy of certainty.
David's career path sounds similar to mine: although I played with Linux as an undergraduate, I didn't start programming until my PhD, and only really developed my XSLT, Perl and scripting skills prior to coming to Torchbox; since arriving here over three and a half years ago I've learnt "everything else", from Transact-SQL and Coldfusion to Django and Drupal. But until maybe eighteen months ago I really felt like I was behind the technological curve, yet couldn't quite work out how to get ahead. A year and a half later and I've clawed my way forwards, if not to that cutting edge then at least to the point where hacking away is no longer the effort it used to be, but I couldn't give anyone else any tips on how to do it.
One big problem is there are so few resources to help people over that gap---and there is a gap, not a continuous curve---from uncertain n00b to excited, interested programmer. Established OS communities can be cliquey and quite scathing, and it's hard to get into even friendly communities without prior knowledge of how these things work: what's the chain of command; do I need a CVS account; can I get a CVS account; how do I earn brownie points in this particular version of a meritocracy?
There's Wikipedia, of course. One of the few areas in which it isn't a tragicomedy in thrall to undeclared conflicting interests (Cornish separatists, religious cults) is its technical pages. But they're tremendously dry, and not at all of tutorial standard. That's not the point of an encyclopedia, of course, which you'll hear a lot of if you ask why your recent edits have just been reverted.
We need more tutorial sites like Why's Poignant Guide to Ruby, and fewer like ONLamp's An Introduction to Haskell. The latter is well written, and says a lot about programming languages in general, but it reads like the prologue to an entire Haskell book for professional programmers, rather than an actual introduction. Since visiting them both, I've actually written some Ruby (even though I didn't get on with it particularly), but I've just finally bit the bullet and uninstalled ghc6, still with its wrapper on.