I've been a programmer for more years than I care to mention.
My first web project was a small, static site for my employer, a research group at Texas A&M University. That was in 1996. On that job I learned the basics of Perl, how to create a simple web site and CGI programming with Perl. I also began working with Linux.
In 1997, I took my rudimentary Perl skills and got a job as a Software Engineer at a company in Dallas. I learned a lot on that job and gained valuable experience with large databases and also CGI and database programming with C. After three years the company I was with laid off 10% of it's employees. This included all the Internet Services Group.