The higher end PICs and AVRs have built in debugging emulators. Reasonably priced in-circuit debugging tools provide a development environment for under $100 that would have cost $10,000 not that many years ago. I have development systems for both PIC and AVRs. I program almost exclusively in C, with occasional assembly language efforts. I used assembly language for almost every microcontroller project from the late 1970’s through the mid-1990’s. C is just so much more efficient from a programming stand point.
My other electronics development equipment includes a dual trace 100MHz Tektronix oscilloscope, frequency counters, various multi-meters and signal generators, an EPROM and PLD programmer, and of course an assortment of soldering stations and hand tools. I have a well stocked junk box of electronic components left over from other projects, removed from surplus circuit boards, or picked up cheaply from electronic flea markets.
As time allows, this site will be used to document projects I have done that others might find useful or educational. Hopefully you will find something of interest here.
If you are a student, hobbyist or engineer learning to work with microcontrollers, you might find the series on microcontroller interfacing useful.