I recently earned an undergraduate degree in computer science*. I had no interest in going to grad school, so I focused purely on coursework. I have no research experience.
I am now more open to the idea of further education, and I think life will be more fulfilling if I produce knowledge than if I just apply my knowledge in developing a product.
How can I get started on research in a way that will (1) let me know if it is something I want to spend my life doing, and (2) pave the way to a PhD in CS if I decide it is something I want to do? (I ask this question under the assumption that applying for a PhD is off the table for now because I do not yet know if I even like research, and even if I did know that, I have no research experience to show off and no one to write letters of recommendation that vouch for me as a researcher.)
Get a master's degree? (Tuition and moving out of state are a steep price to pay just to see if I like something. Plus, I doubt my potential to get into a good program due to a lack of CS professors who know me well enough to write a letter of recommendation for me.)
Enroll in a post-baccalaureate program with a non-CS major (e.g. math) just to be an undergraduate again and have professors to do some research with, even if I do not intend to complete another undergraduate degree?
Get an entry level software development job and move from there into R&D?
Get a job as a research assistant for university faculty? (Or volunteer to do it for free?)
Whatever the answer, I need the opportunity to prove myself to someone who can write a letter of recommendation that is taken seriously for PhD admissions. (I originally titled this question "How to get LoRs with no undergraduate research experience" until I realized the scope of my question was much wider than how to get into a PhD program. Getting LoRs is still essential, though -- if I decide I want a PhD, then I need to have a shot at it.)
*Or rather, I will in six months -- this question is from a future perspective. I am also considering the options I have before graduating, but those are for another question. The point of this question is: if none of those options work out, then what other options will I have left?