Social networking has been booming and so has the avenue to monetize from the increased user base, so much so that firms have realized that the best strategy to capture market share is to have a roster of developer-converts a.k.a the users to chug out applications. It's a win-win situation. The company gets the benefit of increased adoption due to increased utility. The developers get a share of revenue their apps generate. And the recent announcement from FaceBook that it will reward developers creating FaceBook apps (TechNewsWorld) is just the beginning. LinkedIN and MySpace, other popular social networking sites will also be releasing their APIs soon. Here's a link to a starter's guide on FaceBook API (the Screencast blog).Mash-ups
Also, Google announced a mega mash-up to mash all mash-ups, opening another opportunity for wannabe Web developers to take the plunge. Mash-ups are a technique to merge various services (such as Google Maps) to tailor data from various sources to user-specific needs (such as mark out local grocery stores on a region map). Mash-ups rely heavily on AJAX technology (it's a debate whether AJAX is a new technology as such since the features were always there, but let's not get into that). Here's a blog I scooped from the Net as a starting point for mash-ups development.
And if you are still wondering if it's all worth the effort, apart from the fact that Web development can be a deeply gratifying experience, perhaps this piece from silicon.com can give more reasons for you to start.
Did I awaken the coder beast in you? Also, please do share more links for the good of the great TR development community.