My latest interest in the world of technology is Microsoft's XNA. XNA is a .NET based Software Development Kit that's geared towards game design. It's designed for hobbyists and independent game designers but once you start working with it, you will see that it has a nice professional feel to it as well.
To get started you need Microsoft Visual Studio 2005 (for XNA 2.0) or Microsoft Visual Studio 2008 (for XNA 3.0 and 3.1) and the XNA SDK, which can be found at http://www.xna.com.
If you feel like making a game or two, check it out. It can set you on the right path to professional game design.