On Software, .NET

Development Environment

First things first, you'll want something other than notepad in which to write code. Microsoft provides several options for the would be .NET developer, including a free development environment called Visual Studio Express and a more robust (for pay) environment, Visual Studio, which students can actually download for free.

Unlike PHP, Python and Perl, .NET languages (C#, VB.NET and F#) are compiled languages like C++ and Java which requires a couple of other tools be installed on your machine, and an integrated development environment like Visual Studio will come with these things automatically.

Starting with C#

I highly recommend C# as the beginning .NET language for new developers. Learning the language idioms will help later on should you decide that you are interested in other languages like C++, Java or F#. To that end, I have listed below a series of links to web based tutorials and learning resources as well as a brief list of my favorite print resources for learning the language and the platform.

Microsoft Virtual Academy

Aspiring Technologists Course List
HTML5 & CSS3 Fundamentals: Development for Absolute Beginners
Programming in C# Jump Start

MSDN and Channel 9

Getting Started Tutorials
C# Fundamentals: Development for Absolute Beginners
Programming Concepts
Developer Code Samples
How Do I Videos
Getting Started with ASP.NET

Non-Microsoft C# Resources

Pluralsight (pay service with free trial with thousands of hours of training videos for all technologies)

Books (in order of Complexity)

Illustrated C# 2012
Programming C# 5.0
Pro C# 5.0 and the .NET 4.5 Framework
C# in Depth, 3rd Edition
CLR via C# (Developer Reference)

In this Series:

Part 1 - On Software, Getting Started and Staying Relevant
Part 2 - On Software, Stacks and Technologies
Part 3 - On Software, .NET
Part 4 - On Software - Owning your brand

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