I decided to write this to try and consolidate some information on Debian Development.
“Debian is a free operating system (OS) for your computer. An operating system is the set of basic programs and utilities that make your computer run. ”
As with any project, the community is keen to have more people get involved with the Development, use, development and testing of the OS and software that you can install. Debian has a very large range of packages and applications to choose from. The Debian website quotes around 51,000.
There are many options to get started. If you are new to Linux then a good place to start would be the Debian website . Once installed you can perhaps look in to helping, as even inexperienced users can contribute . For anyone new to Debian then there is an excellent handbook  and a good set of developer manuals 
As a community we offer quite a few ways to get in touch, I would suggest you join the Debian user mailing list  as this is good place to introduce your self and ask for help, as there are many different mailing lists depending on what you want to help with. Start by introducing your self.
Debian also has an active IRC (chat) community on OFTC  which also offers webchat . If you are unfamiliar with IRC there is a guide for beginners here . I have written a few tutorials on how to set up some common clients .
OFTC has a large number of channels, however it may be a good idea to start at #debian-outreach and get signposted to the most appropriate channel from there.
As well as being on OFTC, I can also be found on another IRC network, freenode . There is also a community on usenet (newsgroups) which you can find details on here . In order to fimd the Debian newsgroup ( alt.os.linux.debian ) on the eternal-september website. As only a few groups are provided to unregistered users.
Trivia : Both IRC and usenet predate the world wide web.
There are also many options to learn programming. Where you start with this depends on what you want to do. If you are new to Linux based systems it is probably a good idea to start learning the command line, then perhaps learn some shell programming, e.g bash, from there perhaps python or ruby. Then perhaps C++. But more importantly be familiar with both the Graphical interface and command line in Linux. The community can help with this.
In addition, here is a list of courses offered by the Linux Foundation.