Photoshop is the industry standard for digital painting. So I’d recommend that one. Some other programs I play with: Corel Painter, Artrage and Alchemy. More programs I know: Gimp, Sketchbook Pro. Have fun:)
I’d say to keep working at it. Look at artists that you admire and try to find out what they know that you don’t. What about their paintings/drawings that you like so much? If you can pinpoint these points clearly, you can work at it. The same is true for critiquing your own work. You must pinpoint what it is that you don’t like. Be honest and brutal about your own work, no one else will. You’ll find as you progress that you can never have enough drawing skills, so don’t ever stop drawing! Practice intelligently.
Yes and no for painting. I went to UC Davis for art studio. There I learned the discipline of being an artist mostly. Majority of the technical skills I picked up on my own afterwards. I did learn web design on my own. Thanks, much appreciated!