I don’t think there is a wrong way to learn programming. In fact my history is similar to yours, planned to be a doctor but programmed to keep me entertained during the summers. I learned PHP and most of what I learned was because I wanted to emulate Facebook and Twitter and Neopets.
I learned many of the difficult skills like reading docs and tutorials. Most of the skills I learned though are non-explicable, I just “feel it” when I program now that my younger programming skills are being drawn upon.
It’s true that most of the concepts were solidified during Computer Science courses.
Good article nonetheless!