Every now and then people post on this forum who are interested in games development. Well I'm about to provide 2 very important rules if you want to get into the commercial industry.
RULE 1: Network, this is very important for any industry you want to get into. You absolutely must network as these days especially it isn't what you know but who you know that can land you a job. I network isn't necessarily making friends with people, it is more making acquaintances and occasionally (like once every few months) contacting them to catch up see what they are up too and so on. Last year for example I attended GCAP which is an Australian equivalent (though much smaller) GDC (Game developers conference) and it was a great chance to meet people in the industry (some people I met are the CEO and co-founder of epic megagames, they guys from Unity, some people from Bioware and a whole much of Australian developers).
Tip: When attending things like this it doesn't matter what you skill level is (although for GDC you need to be already in the industry to attend, but there are other local game dev conferences everywhere that you should look up). If you interested in game development still attend even if your only in school.
Tip: While at these places make sure you approach people and talk to them and get yourself known to them and them to you (collecting business cards is a fun game, winner at the end of the conference is who has the most and the others in your group should buy them a drink). Don't worry about if your still a student they love talking to the next generation of game developers to discuss what you want to do. (if your shy then I suggest joining a toastmasters club to improve your public speaking.
RULE 2: Portfolio, this is perhaps the most important rule. You NEED a portfolio in the game development industry, you will be very lucky to find a job without one and it is expected you have developed (or co-developed) something even if your only just graduated from uni. So start developing projects now using whatever you have at your disposal (Unity and the UDK are good places to start).
Tip: Tutorials for developing exist everywhere online and make sure you START SMALL, don't developed this fantastic game you've had in your head for ages, start with something like pong, space invaders or other games from that era as they are very simple these days and will help you learn a lot. All these things you develop can go in your portfolio (which is a part of your resume, sometimes with links to where you can download them or you can provide a CD/DVD with your resume).
Tip: Learn to work in a team with some of your projects. Not only will the game get done a lot quicker you will also learn valuable skills as development of something big is never a 1 person job (Ignore Derek Smart and his battlecruiser300AD, that was an insane undertaking and it cost him millions and his wife and many friends to develop, which is why latter games he recruited more people.. interesting games though, I quite enjoy them).
Tip: Learn to stick with it and be self motivated. Things may get boring, particularly in the design phase (something the original whoremaster didn't have) of a project. The design phase is where you think and plan out every aspect of the game before you even start to code, there are articles online you can learn some design methodologies. Although things may get boring you need to keep pushing yourself to continue.
Tip: Do not start with iOS (iPhone/iPad) development. For that you need to learn a language called objective C which while isn't hard it is a royal pain in the behind, it has some nice ideas but gets annoying very quickly. Also do not start with Android, although it is a bit better for indie groups to get into the market than iOS. Windows is by far the easiest platform for indie developers to start with as you will find getting product exposure easier. The mobile development market is nasty for new indies since existing mobile developers have already made a big name for themselves so new indies will find it difficult to get their product noticed (this is actual research data from somewhere not just my personal musings).
Well thats all for now, I'll update this post as I think of more tips. Here are some sites you should subscribe to and read their articles and posts (you don't have to understand everything, if you have trouble understanding to code then just read the descriptions and you'll still learn something).http://altdevblogaday.com/
(this is a good blog which some big developers post too)www.gamasutra.com/
(many sections containing many articles for all levels)www.gamedev.net
(great place for beginers, has a beginers forum as well)