As a very first step, we recommend all readers of this blog to get started with the NLTK - Natural Language Toolkit for Python - book. This library is extremely user friendly and makes it very easy to implement NLP algorithms. If you already have Python experience, you could get started writing simple algorithms in just a few minutes!
All of us at NLP Champs have read the entirity of this book, most of the posters on this site have read the entirity of it, and so we recommend that you do too!
It's a bonus if you have experience using the Stanford NLP, OpenNLP, or ClearNLP libraries.
Still hungry for more? Check out this NLP resources list on github to find even MOAR resources!