Hello and welcome to Eve.
Everybody has given lot’s of good advice and info, so I’ll just tell you what I did when I first started.
Course back in 2008 there wasn’t really a tutorial available, basically you started in a Rookie ship in a private deadspace location, was told to destroy an NPC pirate and mine some Ore, then dock in a station, refine it and sell it. That was it. The rest you had to figure out for yourself.
After mining Ore and killing NPC’s with my Rookie ship in High Sec space, I finally gained enough ISK to buy and fit up my first Frigate, the Minmatar Breacher, with the intention of doing long range sniper action in level 1 missions. Unfortunately that didn’t work out so well and I quickly lost it to NPC’s.
After mentioning in NPC Corp chat that I lost my ship and had to use the free Rookie ship to mine more Ore in order to buy another Frigate, one of the members gifted me 1 mill ISK to get a new Frigate. After saying I would pay him back, he told me to just do the same for another new player later on when I have plenty of ISK. Over the years I’ve done that numerous times for other new players in that same situation.
So with the 1 mill ISK, I bought another Minmatar Frigate, the Probe, and started using that to run level 1 missions again. I was able to keep from being destroyed but had to constantly warp out and do repairs in station. That was quickly eating up the ISK I had left in my wallet. After mentioning that in Corp chat, another player informed me I had bought the wrong Frigate and sent me a personal contract containing a Combat Frigate, the Rifter, already set up with a basic shield buffer tank.
He also informed me about the Core Fitting Skills which would help increase ship stats so I started training those up to max level along with every single skill related to the Rifter. I stayed in that ship for 9 months and as I advanced in skill level, I also upgraded the ship fit as well. By the end of that time I was completing level 3 security missions in a Tech 1 Frigate within the mission bonus time.
Now you may think it took me a long time but I was buying skillbooks and upgrading modules as well as buying attribute implants. Also at that time I was training up ‘Learning Skills’, a skill group that increased your attributes to train skills faster which are now no longer in the game.
Back then a lot of ISK was gained from looting and salvaging mission wrecks. Even though I was completing level 3 missions within the bonus time, most of the wrecks would quickly despawn because it was taking too long for me to complete those missions. Since I wanted to continue looting and salvaging wrecks, I decided to move up to a larger ship. Due to max training all skills related to the Rifter, I was able to easily and quickly move into a Battlecruiser, the Hurricane.
The moral of my story is don’t be in a rush to advance, take your time and become proficient first before moving on to something else. Remember the 5 P’s = Proper Planing Prevents Poor Performance. And above all else, have fun.
May you have a long and rewarding career here in Eve.