First you get the dailies, then you get the Hard Mode Flashpoints, then you get the operations.
At this point you should be in as much orange gear as you can be, then start doing the quests for daily commendations (on Republic side the quests are on Belsavis & Ilum). With these dailies you can get armorings, barrels/hilts, mods and an earpiece.
You don't have to be fully decked out depending on the other 3 in your party to start running Hard Mode flashpoints, but it helps. Each one will drop a certain Columi piece, and you will get some Columi & Tionese [sic?] commendations (don't forget to pick up your daily & weekly quests). Trade these commendations to vendors of your class on the fleet.
Once you get some of that (again, depends on your skill & your party on how much you **have** to have) you can start running operations. The bosses in the ops will drop "assigned" loot in normal mode, and regular "roll for" loot in hard mode.
The breakdown is as such, in order of worst to best:
orange with items from dailies slotted -- from dailies
Tionese -- from commendations from HM FPs and ops
Columi -- from HM FP, ops & commendations
Rikata -- from hard mode ops
(I'm probably misspelling all the names)