A few suggestion for starting out:
The easiest character/ship for starting is the engineer/cruiser as they have medium offense and high defense.
If you can pick up the Amazon Collector's edition for cheap, it's a good starting investment. Comes with the Red Matter Capacitor, Borg Engineer, some uniforms and other things. The Steam Deluxe Digital Download is also a good deal if you can find it cheap.
My formula for ground crew is 1 Tac / 1 Sci / 1 Engr + 1 extra Bridge Officer of the same career as the main character. The Tac always carries a Sniper rifle. The Sci always has at least one healing power. The Engr can always build at least one turret. If you team with someone, try to take your healer with you. I actually get very detailed on my BOFF ground team build, but just listed the basics here.
Hope this helps.