I know php and did core hacks to some php codebases, but have no Joomla experience. I would like to get started with Joomla, with an emphasis on making a custom webapp whose pages would be sort of like content items accessible from Joomla menus. That is, the emphasis would be not on breadth of knowledge of Joomla and its themes and components but rather on taking some specific Joomla theme / configuration and teaching me to build my webapps inside of that. At least, I think it's a good way to start.
The example webapp we can build is a simple forum. It would have a page for "list of threads", a page for "list of posts in thread" and page for "personal profile of forum user, linked to Joomla user entity".
Form interaction with backend should be at least via POST using Joomla's built-in forms functionality. If you can also teach me how to do ajax interaction (possibly with an appropriate js framework if you know any good ones) that would be great.
Instruction will be in teleconference Skype voice chat, oDesk screen sharing, text sharing and similar.
Payment wise I can pay a lump sum (e.g. price of the project) and hourly bonuses as needed / negotiated.
In your bid please elaborate on your familiarity with Joomla programming and offer any relevant comments on the proposed project.