I'm a ruby developer and recently I built a pretty cool education tool with the guys at Rocket, here in Boise. I've learned a ton from these guys and gained a much greater understanding of application architecture, testing, writing efficient sql queries, and a lot of jQuery (with some haml and sass/scss tossed in there).
So when the project ended in August, what did I do with my new web development skills? I wrote a native iPhone app. No, you're right, the two really don't have anything to do with each other, but I had the time, the interest and most importantly, help from a few guys that know more than me when I needed it.
Before August 28, I had only ever opened XCode once for about fifteen minutes before I gave up. Back then even the simplest app seemed daunting. Now, having submitted my first app to the app store a little over a month after I started it, I can't believe I waited this long.
It wasn't easy, but it wasn't that difficult either. I started the same way I learned ruby, by coming up with a simple project then brute forcing my way to completion. The code isn't perfect and I'm not terribly efficient with Objective-C yet, but the app works as it should and is finished, all in 37 days.
One thing that helped me a lot (besides having experts on call): the Seinfeld method. I didn't actually use a paper calendar, but I made sure to spend some amount of time reading and writing code every day until I finished on October 3rd. Oh, the app? Tag Along.