These are the most common questions asked so I thought I'll answer it here
How to start animating
I only took one animation course but that barely touch the surface. Best I can say is grab a book and video of "The Animator's Survival kit" by Richard Williams. It describes in great detail about the animation process and many people praise this book. Although the book is great, the rest is all practice.
What I find really helpful is doing quick gesture drawings. Gesture drawings are rough sketches done in 5 minutes or less. It helps drawing poses faster and prevents the pose from looking stiff. A lot of people recommend the site posemaniacs.com as a virtual gesture model but I sometimes find it awkward as a real model is much better at capturing action. Since I still find myself doing gesture drawing at posemaniacs, I think it's a good idea of do both posemaniacs and sketching from live models. Taking several screenshots of action scenes from a video also helps.
It's also a good idea to get training videos that gives a walkthrough of some programs. I got a lot of help from the "Total Training" series where it gave me an overview of Photoshop and Flash. There are tutorial videos of Toon Boom on its official site.
I take a lot of inspiration from anime and I observe sakuga anime(high level animation). You can type sakuga anime on Youtube where the production is well done. This is my current goal on what I want to achieve.
What program do you use
I use Flash for rough animations because I find it's much easier to get ideas out faster. Toon boom Animate Pro for line art, color, and effects. Photoshop for concept and backgrounds. Premiere for editing.