I am playing Forged Alliance for a long time. I bought the game when I was 12 or 13 I guess. I was always interested in Informatics and programming. I think it did some first programming when I was 14 etc. but really only small things. I think often I was just missing a goal right? It is often easier if you have a concrete goal you wanna reach. I was 16 or 17 when I learned what GitHub and Open Source was. Suddenly I wondered if FAF was Open Source. So I just went ahead and searched for FAF on GitHib and who knew all the project where there.
So I looked at the client and it was python and that would have been fine cause I knew some python. But I discovered Downlord's-FAF-Client on GitHub. I had never heard of it before cause I was not really to invested into FAF. I just liked playing FAF, I did not engage into chat/forum or whatever there was. And I was shocked, it looked really good and worked, even if I need to admit it used to break a lot cause of external changes that did not consider it. And Java was maybe even better than Python I just liked it more. I really did not know much Java, I made one or two little things and knew the very basics. The thing that was different from before was I had a goal. My goal was to part of this awesome thing. Also this client seemed really major and this kind of made me want to spread the word about it.
@Downlord also had some wiki pages about the project. He had a list of technologies and also one to a chat with contributors. Also he offered some help to newbies.
Was a lot of work to get going cause the Java client is quite well engineered and uses a lot of technologies. But I made some Pull Requests(suggested changes) even if it took like 5 rounds of @Downlord requesting changes it worked out in the end. Over the years I contributed quite a bit.
I learned so much from @Downlord and others like @Brutus5000 , which I am really thankful for. Meanwhile I started studying Informatics at university and I am almost through. My plan was studying Math for some time but my positive experience at FAF made me study Informatics.
This year I have been the main contributor to the faf client.
My experience(not only FAF but mainly FAF) gives a huge advantage over other students, who in parts don't really know programming or software development looks like. I also had 3 jobs in software development besides my studies which I might not have had if it was not for FAF.
No skill is required to start doing stuff at FAF. The only thing you need is passion, motivation and dedication.