I'm preparing to try the game for the first time(going through patching now), after seeing this thread active. I've yet to go through character creation. I would prefer that first character to be Federation human. Eventually I'd want him to be eligible for the fleet. Any skills or departments that would be best? Is there an offline playable tutorial? Other than some SecondLife experience, and NeverwinterNights2 experience on player-run servers, I have no idea what to expect when first beaming in.
EDIT: I've looked through char creation without actually building anyone. I'm intending to use the ship for exploration, perhaps a farmer for supplies needed by the fleet. I see Engineering, Tactical, and Science careers, and guess science fits the goal.
First of all, welcome! STO is very combat-centric. The game is based around ship to ship as well as ground-combat so its very unlike Second Life which is more social/community centric. Since you've fiddled with character creation, it should be pretty clear that there are three professions to choose from. Likewise, there are 3 major classes of ships to choose from.
Tactical Officers are what we call nukers in MMO parlance. They specialize in dishing out lots and lots of damage really quickly, but conversely they are low on defense and can get killed or blasted out of space very quickly. Tactical Officers are especially adept at using attack-oriented Escort starships such as the Defiant and Prometheus class.
Science Officers are a bit of a team-centric jack-of-all-trades. They are proficient in healing friends, repairing ships, locking down opponents, boosting team damage, etc.. Science officers are most suited to operate Science Vessels such as the Intrepid and Luna class starships which allows them to do more sciency-stuff. Science Vessels typically don't deal a lot of damage on their own but they tend to have very good shields.
Engineering Officers are most the defensive and survivable profession. They usually have lots of hitpoints, resistances and heals that helps them absorb huge amounts of damage. Engineering officers are most suited for operating Cruisers such as the Galaxy and Sovereign class starships.
Since you're pretty new to STO and MMOs in general, I would recommend you start with an Engineering character for two reasons. They tend to be very survivable, allowing you to learn the game without the frustration of blowing up all the time. Secondly, you get to command some of the most iconic ships in Star Trek.
Oh and be sure to provide us with your character's full name, which goes in the form of "name@account", so we can add you to our fleet. We're a pretty casual and friendly group and there's usually someone around to help you out and answer any questions you may have.