How to … write code and influence motivation

There are 3 paths to learn to code. College, Bootcamps and Self-Study. I choose the latter because 1) I lack money; 2) I lack time to prepare for the CS exams in July (but maybe I should try later). I have used freeCodeCamp, JS course on Codecademy and skimmed through MIT’s textbook Maths for programmers. So far, So good. I have read some descriptions of the projects on Google Summer of Code GSoC but it was too hard for beginner. I wonder whether there are some tasks in open source projects for beginners. What to you think: is it better to practice as earlier as possible or you need to master substantial amount of theory first?