I was a programmer, I was a project in chief (the guy that hired developers), and now I am training new guys. So I worked in the whole pipeline. :-3
Q: I have 12-17 years, Can I study programming?.
A: Yes, it is the ideal age to start programming. Think about cheating. It is cheating. Let's say life is an RPG game. Everybody starts at level 1 (18 years). The university/school could prepare you to the level 5-10 at most. If you started programming when you are a teen, then you could achieve a level 15-30 (18 years) at ease.
Q: Who could be a programmer?
A: It's not a matter if you have a high IQ high or not, a programmer needs to think as a programmer. If you are a problem solving and/or disciplined, then you are ready to go. However, if you are an untidy person or you don't like to solve problems, then maybe programming is not for you. And trust me, programming is not for everybody, it's not capability but some people LOVE to program, while other people hate it. Do you want to work during the next 2 decades in something that you hate?.
Q: I studied X and I have 28-35 years, can I study programming?.
A: Yes, it is hard but it is possible. In fact, most of my students are in this range and practically everybody is landed a job. It also depends on the CV and the candidate. Of course, you double-work if you want to compete with your perps, it's hard but not impossible.
Q: I have +40 years, can I study programming?.
A: Nope!. You can but it is really hard (but not impossible, I am witness too), to land job as a junior programmer with more than 40 years. It's a better shot to aim at some management role, with a better salary and more responsibilities, it feels more natural.
Q: Which language?.
A: If you want to land a job then JAVA.
A: If you want to work academically, then Python.
A: If you want to be a freelance then PHP.
Q: I want to work as a programmer, what I need it?
A: Degree, expertise (expertise and experience) and salary (the low then the better), pick at least two.
A: Example: "I am cheap and I have a degree" = OK
A: Example: "I have experience and I am cheap but I don't have a degree" = OK
A: Example: "I have a degree and I have experience but I'm not cheap" = OK
A: Example: "I have a degree and I am expensive and without experience" = NOT OK, we will call you back. (I saw it so many times).
A: Of course, if you play it well, then sooner or later, you can have all of them.
Q: What is catch-22?
A: Something that you could defeat :-3
Q: How to deal with the interview?.
A: If it is the HR interview, then it's simple: LIE!. First, you love everybody, including kitties, puppies, flowers light colors and you really love to work overtime without compensation! And of course, you have the perk of a leader (even if the job is to fill the role of a programmer jr.), think about Steve Jobs minus the salary and the arrogance.
HRs are evil btw.
A: If it is the technical interview, then you mustn't lie but tell what you know. It's simple because there are no detours. However, there is a little secret: "just keep talking and nobody explodes" :-3. For example: "I don't know" is bad because you are not solving the problem but you are saying "I give it up!", while "I don't but I could try/learn/...." it's good because at least you are trying to solve it, so you mustn't give it up and you must keep talking, even if you are saying something silly.
A: It's OK if you get nervous.