I must say that I'm surprised to be the first to review this product.
I started to use visual studio at university a few years back when teachers started to make us mechanical engineers learn the likes of C++, C# and Visual Basic.
At that time, getting a version of Visual studio at a low price (student edition or something like that) was almost impossible here, hence, I spitted out a few thousand euros to get my hands on Visual studio with the belief that it would change the way I looked at programming and indeed it did.
Visual studio provides a great environment which allows people to quickly become comfortable with the programming language. It features a number of programming languages such as C#, visual basic .net, C++, J#, etc. all of these rely on the .net framework 1.0 which can be downloaded onto any windows computer.
The environment provides a forward approach to programming by displaying on the right side, all the objects that can be placed on a form and on the left side, the solution explorer and the properties of the object currently selected (this can be changed though. however, the default layout is the one I explained).
When it comes to coding, the options of any object created are displayed at every instance (as already happened in previous versions of Visual studio) which makes programming a lot simpler since it is possible to know, at any instance, what options you have. The debugger is also quite good and the documentation provided with MSDN is more than sufficient for any newbie to start programming decently.
I just want to say that I currently work in programming and generally in Visual basic and C#. A big part is due to the fact that this software made programming a pleasure and not a pain for me.