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General Question

I am interested in taking my Salesforce.com knowledge to the next level. Currently I would consider myself a strong administrator with no experience in programming or s-controls. How can I get started and what is the best courses to take? I want to learn APEX and Visualforce.

The training page is here.  As you can see, there is a course focusing on declarative functionality as well as one that focuses n Apex and Visualforce.  I would not necessarily skip the first one, unless you feel you completely know and understand all the declarative capabilities of the platform, such as workflow and analytics.

You can also read the Developer Guide, which is designed as an introduction to the entire platform.  If you feel that book moves too fast, check out the Fundamentals book. 

Hope this helps.