Software development is a field that is easy to get started in. You can download some free tools. And most of them will work on a normal PC. Get busy working on a product. If you don't think you are ready for that, try helping out on an open source project.
You don't even need to start out coding. I would recommend it. However you can do some testing or documentation work first. There are some technical tasks that are not hard core coding. For example, you could develop a web site.
Learn to program to an API. Become proficient at developing mobile applications. These are good skills to have. If you cannot get a first job as a developer, try working for a non-profit organization or a small business. Alternatively you can get a regular job, then look for ways to move into your company's tech side.
Doing some hand-on work can help make your resume stand out. This is crucial for getting that first real development job. I wish somebody had told me about this when I was in school. Luckily I did end up at an internship which gave me a great resume upon graduation from college. These days you need all the help you can get to enter the job market.
Cisco Packet Tracer - I downloaded this software for free from Cisco. From the name "Packet Tracer", you would think this is some type of packet capture/analysis tool similar t...