Getting Audacity building on Linux is usually trouble-free because the right tools are there in the environment, or can be found and installed easily. The same isn't really true for Windows and the win/compile.txt file provided with the Audacity source code assumes you know quite a lot about how stuff works under the bonnet, and about Visual Studio.
Platform Specific Guides
Linux/Mac Set Up
Tips for New Developers
- Ask lots of questions and don't be afraid to look a divvy! It's a learning process and like I tell my students, 'if you don't understand (after a reasonable amount of effort), ask somebody who can help!'.
- Use the same tools other people are using.
- Post error messages when asking for help, but try and select relevant bits.
More about Audacity
More about Digital Sound
There are articles on the web ranging from beginners guides on how sound is represented in a computer to research papers on DSP algorithms.