You are learning how to program information using new languages that have yet to be written. You might not be building the next spreadsheet software or the next Internet browser, but I think that what you're building might have more impact than previous software. As we learn to navigate social networks and make media, I believe we are crafting a language that will execute complex requests, deliver information back and forth between vast and distributed databases, and overlay the way business is being done in the future.
I spend time in bookstores. Sometimes, I compile lists of books I want to read. Other times, I read portions or complete selections of books.
In early 2008, I read The Big Switch, Nicholas Carr's book describing how companies like Amazon and Google have paved the way for "utility computing." The basic premise is that electricity in the 1900s went from being generated on-site to being generated centrally, and that businesses stopped having to understand power generation and could thus focus on their business. Carr says companies like Amazon, with their S3 storage and their EC2 computers, and Google with search, Docs, and other apps, are letting us focus on programs instead of the gear. That's the first seed.
Mixed into my thinking as well are a couple of essays out of Hackers and Painters, by Paul Graham (which talks about big ideas from the computing age), and Everything Is Miscellaneous ...