dd347162_BDLC_LOGO(en-us,MSDN_10) While I suspect that most who read this blog are seasoned developers, others are here looking for tips on how to get started and how to take the next step as a professional or hobbyist.

For those who would like to start at the beginning, Microsoft provides free training courses online and free tools at Development for Beginners.

Find your path to success in a centralized learning environment specifically targeted to beginning programmers at Development for Beginners. The rich array of content starts with the very basics, and guides you through step-by-step to becoming a full-fledged developer. Once you're ready, become a Champion and show off your project.

At Development for Beginners, you’ll find where to download free tools and find resources. There are tracks for each type of development.

  • Web Track. Create cool web sites, online applications, and services.
  • Windows Track.  Build fun Windows applications, utilities, and PC games.
  • Aspiring Pro.  Break into the world of professional software development.
  • Kids Corner.  Learn to program the fun way at this place for kids in grades K-12.

Each track provides you with multiple tiers where you can learn about programming, learn .NET Framework development, and follow up to the next level.

You’ll find introduction to Visual Basic Programming Language, Visual Web Developer 2008 Express Edition,  Visual C# 2008 Express, Visual Basic 2008 Express, and Visual C++. All use the free versions of the tools.

You’ll also be able to access Microsoft Visual Studio Learning Pack 2. The Visual Studio Learning Pack 2.0  is a software package created by Microsoft to help students learn about computer programming. Improvements in this release include support for Visual Studio 2008 Express and more support for Visual Basic..

For more information, see Development for Beginners.

To get started using Microsoft developer tools:

  • Students can get Visual Studio to write a .NET application through Microsoft DreamSpark
  • Startup companies can use BizSpark to get software licenses and developer tools
  • Developers can also use the free Visual Studio Express to get started