One of the biggest decisions a new player to EVE will have to make is how they approach training skills. At a very high level, you either train for now, or train for later. Training for now gets you going faster, but year-over-year results in fewer total skill points, while training for later requires patience/waiting but is more efficient long-term.
I’ve always gone with training for now, even as I sit at 35m+ SP with two different pilots. I’m all for some min/maxing, but waiting 6 months to train something because it does not fit into my current plan/remap is not something I’m willing to do, and I find the whole SP/hr chase somewhat lame. Of course at 35m+ SP, I can already do a whole lot. I can fly a T2 fit Battleship, I can fly a Tengu, I can use most T2 fittings, and I have almost perfect fitting skills, etc. If I push something back, it’s either some minor fitting tweak, or some specialized ship for a specific role. But even so, I don’t want to do it, SP/hr be damned.
The efficiency trap is far more damaging to new players, because they truly are limited in what they can do. Setting a plan to fly a T2 fit BS might sound good, but not being able to fly anything more than a frig for six months while you wait is going to be pretty painful. Not only will you yourself be limited, but you won’t be able to contribute or react to what your Corp needs, which is frustrating for a CEO.
A somewhat related issue is the perception of having skill points. If I see someone in a Hurricane, I assume they are flying it with T2 mods and in a way that makes sense rather than in a way that fits with the pilot’s current fitting skills. The performance difference between the two can be staggering. T1 fits without solid support skills just don’t add up. All those skills that add 2%, 3%, 5%, etc in one area or another might not seem significant alone, but add a bunch of them up, and suddenly a ship that should have 400DPS and 60k EHP is hitting for 150DPS, flies slower, is less agile, can’t web/scram, and pops quickly because it has 25k EHP.
My personal advice to all budding EVE pilots would be to first and foremost do what makes the game enjoyable for you. If you are not interested in flying BS, don’t train to BS just because you have heard they are useful. Same goes for long skill plans; only buy into one if you absolutely know what you are committing to. After that, train to fully fly a ship. Don’t just jump into the hull with T1 fits and low support skills and consider yourself done.
Currently battlecruisers are the most flexible ships, able to handle most PvE and perform well in PvP with overlapping skill training. If you don’t have a direct goal already, consider training towards a BC and flying it fully T2 fitted. Don’t skimp on the guns either; T2 guns might be a long train, but they are important and will allow you to hit harder for a lot less (T2 guns are a lot cheaper than meta 4 guns currently). Once you are able to T2 fit it, round out the ship with most of the support skills for guns/tank. Perhaps not all to V, but IV will yield good results, and those skills will continue to help out when you switch to a different hull.
I’d much rather fly with someone who can do one thing very well, than someone who can do five just OK. Having access to those five things is also important, but pace yourself and set reasonable goals. Not only will you benefit, but all those around you will as well.