It is a goal of mine to become a debian developer. The debian project has a formal application process  which is notoriously formal and slow-moving. The steps are:
Gain experience packaging software for the debian system
This involves finding a software package not already available in the system (or taking over one about to be orphaned and fall out), packaging it up as a .deb and getting an existing debian developer to sponsor its upload into the archive. The idea being that you do the work and the sponsor does quality control.
I had planned on packaging qgo a go client I use which was recently announced as being orphaned , but it turned out that someone else was already planning to adopt it, but had yet to issued an ITA (intent to adopt).
I've contacted the author of sgfc, an SGF parser and validator to see whether there are obsticles to my packaging it for debian. SGF is a file format for games files, in theory covering a swathe of games, but in practice limited to the game of go. I've already looked at sgfc (and indeed recently found a bug in it), and it seems that the software should require very little work to package, other than the writing of a manual page (the command line options are already listed in a readme, but debian requires a unix/linux style man page for every executable).
Having got the OK from the software author (the "upstream"), I submitted an ITP or Intention-To-Package which is (a) a bug report that this software is not in debian and I'd like it to be and (b) a public statement that I am working on packaging this software for debian.
Get a PGP key signed by an existing debian maintainer
I've already achieved this, but I appear to have recently misplaced a back-up CD containing my key. Even though it is still protected by a secure (i.e. 20 character) passphrase, I probably need to revoke the key and generate a new one if the CD doesn't turn up soon. Revoking the old key effectively cancelws all the signatures on the key, so I needed to get a new crop of signatures for the new key. Getting signatures from local people isn't too big a problem, but re-establishing my place in the top 500 will be.
Find an existing debian developer willing to advocate (vouch for) you
I'm fortunate in that there are several debian developers around who I can probably ask to do this, alternatively, I can ask the DD who sponsors my package(s).
Q & A
Why did you choose this sgfc ?
I chose qgo/ sgfc because go is was something I used and had a nature interest in. This served both to lower the learning curve and as a natural motivation for improving the packages and getting them into wider use.
Was licensing an issue ?
sgfc is BSD licensed. Because I don't really want to be maintaining my own patches for sgfc but instead want upstream to incorperate them into the main package (and I have friendly contact with upstream), my patches and documentation will also have to be BSD licensed. The BSD licence is very acceptable to the DFSG.
Is recognition involved ?
There is mainly peer recognition involved in Debian. However, a message I posted to the debian-devel was mentioned in debian weekly news, which is so widely read that even my boss reads it. The jist of the message was that we when prioritising bugs to get the fixes, maybe we could factor in the already avaliable data of how many instals the package had (from popularity-contest).