I have been on DA for 5 long years, probably really active fav+ every good work I saw, reading up tutorials and always checking if some one liked any of the stuff I did. A I was into photomanipulation a lot. Every cliche idea, every stock photo thats used and over used, i had it saved and I would try to make something out of it. And this interest got me into photography and digital art. I remember the first time I finished a proper piece, The skyrim fan art, and felt like i accomplished something huge. But now when i look at it, i see the 100s of mistakes. Digital art really wasn't my thing, but I still try to learn about it whenever I can.
And along these lines I got into photography. And lucky for me, even though I am a biotech Student. Landed a job as a photographer. And worked from junior to head photographer in a span of two years. Now this really was a calling to me. But one thing that I had as a weapon was the unlimited amount of photo manip i used to do, some to put up on DA and some to just delete off unfinished. And all that experience really did help me as a photographer. And in editing.
And now I am running my own freelance career as a professional Photographer.
To every photo manipulation artists out there, never give up. thing might be cliched, thing might not seem so "cool" but the tricks and techniques that you pick up, pays off in every digital art fields.