There are various ways to access Ethereum and various languages to code in. We used geth as the command line interface, and chose Solidity as our programming language (you’ll need the solidity compiler as well).
Initially, we followed the instructions here to create a private testnet. You can set that off to mine for ether (miner.start(1) from the command line) and create untold riches while you mine your test contracts!
If you don’t know how to write, compile and deploy a basic contract to the Ethereum blockchain, I recommend you give the Greeter contract a go before you continue here, as it has simple step-by-step instructions that can then be applied elsewhere.
Once you know how to deploy a basic contract, you can have a look at our lottery one.