One of the problems with EVE is that the user interface CAN be reconfigured, but does not come with the “best” configuration by default. You have to put some time into reconfiguring the layout, the preferences, the keyboard shortcuts, etc., for best effective gameplay.
So, start with the “Overview”, that list of ships in the upper right corner of the screen. The Overview is where your situation awareness comes from; it lists all the ships in your vicinity, and you can sort by distance, by name, by ship type, etc. You can also make multiple tabs that show you only player ships, only bombs and drones, only asteroids, only players that are NOT in your fleet (enemies), etc. You can add other players, or other corporations and alliances, to your Contacts list, with blue (friendly) or red (enemy) standings, and they will appear color-coded as such in your Overview. EVE University has a decent tutorial wiki on how to configure the Overview properly, and you can also download popular Overview config packs and import them into the game.
Next is the actual combat scene and your ship. Your ship is like a naval vessel, and it has turrets that shoot in all directions, so the best view IMO is the default view where you can rotate the camera to look at where you’re shooting. But the game also offers a first person cockpit view, and a zoomed-out tactical view that has range spheres and notations around your ship, so you can easily see enemy formations. These views can be activated from the buttons on the LEFT side of the HUD circle at the bottom of your screen, or if you hit ESC to go into EVE’s Control Panel and set up some keyboard shortcuts for them. In addition, there’s a little box that has the target details, typically situated in the upper right corner above the Overview list, with buttons for “look at target” and “show info about the target”. The “look at” button will move the camera so you can see the target with an up-close view. And you can also “track” the target, the game can automatically turn the view around so you’re looking at what you’re shooting, by pressing C.
Finally, the keyboard shortcuts. Guns are activated with F1-F8, medium slots (shields, afterburner) with Alt-F1-F8, and low slots with Ctrl-F1-F8. This may not work for you. When you’re in space, the game lets you drag any modules to any slots, so you can put the icons for all your stuff in the top row, and activate everything with F1-F8. Or whatever setup you prefer. And you can change the keyboard shortcuts from the F1-F8 scheme to, say, something involving the numpad, or a gamepad, or qwertyuiop, or whatever you prefer.
There is one case where the keyboard shortcuts are lacking: drone use. If you have drones, the game lets you right-click them and assign them to groups, and then you can order the entire group to attack and all the drones will obey, but it’s very cumbersome to do this with mouse clicks. So I definitely recommend setting up a keyboard shortcut for “drones engage”, I use ctrl-shift-E, and for “drones return to bay”, ctrl-shift-R, so you can do these actions in the heat of combat much faster than with mouseclicking.
Otherwise, this is a strategy combat game. PVE is very simple, as you’ve noticed, and the core of the game is actually in setting up your ship for a specific attack scenario, and then going out there and picking fights that match that scenario. And we don’t use just guns (or just missiles / drones); there are a lot of electronic warfare jamming modules that can alter the behavior of enemies (crowd control), there’s remote repairing your fleet friends, scouting, baiting, setting up gate or location traps, scanning for enemy ships / scanning their setups and reporting it so your friends can bring the combo of ships that can easily destroy that setup you’ve scanned, etc. The PVP combat of this game is a lot more rich and nuanced, and you need to find a good group and try it, to learn it.