I took a class this quarter that taught students how to design some basic progams with Visual Basics .NET. To make long story short, programming is hella fun! I really enjoyed the time I spent designing such exciting games as "Yahtzee!" and "TicTacToe!" and would like to learn more.
Alongside the C++ class I'll be taking next quarter, I wish to do some personal side projects, starting with very simple calculation tools for whatever purposes, and see where I can go from there. Luckily, my school's CS department has a deal wtih certain online store (e-academy), which means students like me are able to download a selection of expensive softwares for FREE. But I don't know where to start, so it'll be great if some of the experienced goodjer programmers can provide some advice on what software to get.
I'm looking at two things in particular: Visual Studio 6.0 Professional and Visual Studio .NET Professional 2003. For the life of me, I can't tell the difference between those two, whichever one's better for me etc. , and embarassingly, I don't even know if they're made for programming. Um...help.
EDIT: Maybe there are something valuable in the list that I should download no matter what before I leave college...
Exchange Server 2003 Enterprise Edition
MapPoint 2004 North America
MSDN Library for Visual Studio 6.0
MSDN Library for Visual Studio .NET 2003
Project Professional 2003
SQL Server 2000 Enterprise Edition
Visio Professional 2003
Visual Studio .NET 2003
Visual Studio 6.0
Windows Server 2003 Enterprise Edition
Windows Services for UNIX 3.0
Windows XP Pro