When I was just a wee bit younger a major problem that many of my friends had getting a job was that everyone required experience, but none of them could get experience unless they got a job. I was fortunate enough to have a grandmother working at a technology company to get me the inside track.
If you wish to become a programmer a great piece of advice would be to work on Open Source projects to show you have experience. Real companies like to see the actual code you have done and what better way to show it then by putting inside of a popular OS project. Another way is to participate in TopCoder and actually have a chance to win some money and possibly getting a new job at small firms like NVIDIA, IBM, and Intel :).