The fundamental question you should ask yourself is: What sort of photographer am I? Will you be interested in portraits or landscapes? Wedding and Party photography or photo journalism? Nature photography or pet photography? The opportunities you have are as diverse as the multitude of ways a single subject can be shot. With the advent of digital photography and really good digital SLR cameras being available at a price many people can easily afford, photography is becoming a lot more accessible to more people that at any time in the past.
Among the initial steps you need to take is definitely learning how to use your camera. Whether you own a $100 point-and-shoot model or a $600 digital SLR model - get comfortable with the different settings and features of the camera. Offer to take pictures of your friends' kids and pets. Experiment with lenses and filters and photo editing software. Dive into the magic of photography and see where it leads you. Most likely, given time, you'll discover the subject matters that you have a natural talent for. Certain people are skilled at capturing a baby's smile, others at getting a pet's personality to shine through and still others at unveiling the sweetness in a wedding and the horror in a war. There really is no limit to where you can take a photography career - or, for that matter, hobby.
One of the advantages to digital photography is the amount it has shortened the learning curve for new or novice photographers. No longer will we have to worry about having enough film left. No longer do we have to wait until the film is developed to see how our shots turned out. The advent of digital photography has made the art immediately accessible. Think about the fact that you can grab your camera, walk outside and take 25 pictures of the same tree using different settings, filters and lenses. You instantaneously know what worked and what didn't, how the light played a role in the composition of the photo, and where shadows were too prominent.
The best recommendations you can get about starting a photography career is to just pick up your camera and go shoot some pictures. Trial and error and being familiar with your camera and it's settings are a huge part of the process. Talk to friends about what cameras they like, what their favorite settings and techniques are. Take a class - many community colleges, professional camera stores , university extensions and learning annexes offer photography courses for all levels of experience. And remember, have fun with it as that will come across in your finished photographs too.
I hope that you have found this post helpfull in your endeavors to find out about photography as a profession.