If you want to break into the industry, the number one thing you can do for yourself is make a demo. Why? A demo shows:
1) You can conceive an idea and execute on it.
2) You have the discipline to finish something.
Don’t worry about the art, as anyone who views it will know you are a programmer, and not an artist. When you show it, be excited, and point out the key features. This is also good practice for later.