I'm not a computer programmer myself, but I used to work in a software house as a network admin.. so I'll try to help,
1. What technology will be used in this field?
pretty much any and many, it'll realy depend what you go for, games tend to be c++ orientated, whilst business applications can be c++, delphi, VB
, Java etc...
to start you're probably beter learning C++ cause it deals with the strict program structure and classes that will appear in a lot of other languages
2. What technology will be used in five to ten years?
well C++ has been going strong for ages, and I can't really see it dying...
I wouldn't put too much faith into the .net extensions to the language, but I could be wrong.
3. How does the future look for jobs in this field? Fewer jobs, more jobs, or constant? Please explain why.
Well, the world is becomming more and more computer driven, be it simple devices like parking barriers that respond to key fobs, (using embedded programs written in C), braking sensors on your car, or computers, the internet and underlying technologies or games, (including mobile phone games etc...
in that sense I'd definitly say more... however, the fate of any industry is usually decided by economic trends, if you specialise in business software and graduate in to recession how many companies do you think will be updating their systems and software ?
4. To get a job in this area, I need to take the following steps:
1. get god grades
2. take a course that offers a aplacement year at college/uni level, then you'll be a step above other people cause you can go into graduate positions with experiance.
3. practise makes perfect, it's no good getting to a job and finding that you are out of practise, or simply forgot how to do the job,
you may also (in addition to college education consider taing vendor courses such as Oracle database training, Microsoft certified professional, A+, Java courses etc... be warned, as the technologies move on your newly gained vendor qualification becomes obsolete, and with some vendor courses you have to continue to pay and follow a curriculem in order to keep the recognised qalifications, (or else they revoke the certificate).
5. What schooling and/or job experience is required?
Education: in terms of UK (cause I'm not suer of the eqivelant american levels)
good GCSEs, in maths and english for sure
A levels, (again maths is a great start, if you can do a programming course then great else general computer science)
and a degree, a batchelors degree in a science subject is best, (preferably computer science), but assuming that you have various other good skills an employer may see that you have a degree in business and employ you because it shows that you can manage your time, (and tasks) effectivly.
Job Experience: Ideally programming related jobs... it's the age old vicious circle... can't get a job without experiance, can't get experiance without a job... try placement years or try to get a holiday job at somewhere willing to take you on so that you can show at least some professional work experiance, (a holiday job in a solicitors looks better than a hoiday job in Mcdonalds - even if you are only making tea).
Skills: logical thinking, good at solving problems, (good maths results tend to show this)
6. What could I do to get experience? Be specific.
Holiday Job, or a freelance job. pick a language and write game demos, anything you like, just try and keep to fairly large projects that won't bog your CV down, and that will sound good, for example, creating a game (or other simillar large project) in your own time is good and shows willing to learn, but creating 300 webpages shows that you've learned how to use frontpage, creating a calculator in VB
isn't hard, and an employer won't be impressed... -I hope you get what I mean.
If you want to go for a job as a business programmer then find someone in your local area who is self employed and offer to make them a package to sort their finances, estimates records etc... I mean you can't take screen shots to an interview, but you can take an in depth knowledge of business processes to an interview and shine beter than the person who just got out of uni having only written simple programs for assignments.
7. What high school classes are critical for a future in his field?
general computer studies, and I think maths shows great logical thinking skills, also a good level at english is good, there is only so many times someone can laugh off spelling mistakes in a form before it is just ridiculous.
8. What college will help prepare anyone to enter this field, what major is appropriate and what courses would that major require for graduation?
9. Any suggestions or pieces of advice?