After you've done the Career Agent Missions you come to a decision point. What are you going to do in Eve? The first tasks are to train skills and earn money. Skills and money determine what you can do in this game. If you want to fight other players (Player versus Player or PvP) you will need money to buy ships and modules. Want to become a manufacturing guru? You need money for blueprints and materials. Thus you have to choose one of the various basic careers available to you in New Eden.
You will probably find that to begin with you do not have the skills you need to properly pursue your chosen career. However there are some basic career options that allow you to earn money while you are training. The Career Agent Missions gave you a basic introduction to each. I'll cover below them and give you some training guidelines for each set.
Missions come in three basic types; Security, Mining and Distribution. Security missions are all combat missions where you will have to fight to complete the mission. Mining missions require you to collect a set amount of a particular ore (usually an ore specific to the mission). There is a little bit of defence required as rats appear in the mining zone. Distribution missions are courier mission. You are required to move goods from one place to another. These missions don't involve combat but may occasionally require you to go to low sec space.
The advantage of missions is they are regular, predicable incomes. Mining and Distribution missions are also usually low risk. Missions also gain you Standings with the NPC corp you are working for and accumulate Loyalty Points. Standings have several effects on the game. Good standings are needed to refine or recycle without paying tax, use higher level agents and installing jump clones. As you gain corporate standings you will also gain faction standings with the faction the NPC corp belongs to. Faction standings are needed to join the militia, erect a POS in empire space, do certain COSMOS missions and dictate what states you can enter safely. Loyalty points can be traded at the loyalty point stores for each corp. They can get you implants, skill books, faction ammo and other goods. They are effectively another income source.
Agents are found on stations and come in five levels. You should always be able to use a level 1 agent. To use level 2 agents you need a corp standing or 1.0. To use a level 3 agent you need a corp standings of 3.0. To use level 4 agents you need 5.0 and level 5 agents need 7.0. You can find out your standings by going to your character sheet and looking at the standings tab. The Connections skill trained to 3 or 4 will make a big difference to your corp standings and may get you to level 2 agents straight away.
Combat mission are designed for you to step up as you train your skills up. Level 1s can be done in a frigate. Level 2s need a cruiser. A well fit battlecruiser can do level 3s. Level 4s really need a battleship to begin with but can be done in the various advanced ships available. Combat missions are the only type with level 5 agents. These tend to be difficult for a solo player and are usually in low sec. I'll cover training for combat later in this post.
Mining missions start off doable by a mining frigate or mining cruiser. They progress up to the mining barges and then exhumers. You could still do them in a basic ship but they will take forever. You will also need a hauler. Mining missions don't pay a great deal but they are almost immune to idiots trying to harm you or steal your ore. See the mining section for training guide.
Courier missions can be done in frigates and a basic hauler to begin with. They scale up in need as you progress. Level 4 mission somtimes need a huge amount of cargo space or a ship set up for low sec operations. Courier missions are a great way to afk mission since you can set the autopilot and do something else. If you actively fly the mission you can grind standings very easily. Just be careful of the low sec missions. Refuse them if you can. Also choosing an agent a long way from low sec space helps a great deal.
Its a bad idea to do missions in low sec. While the money is better you are very vulnerable. A good probe-using pilot can find your ship in 2 minutes or less. Then you are suddenly fighting a pirate AND the rats in the mission. For new pilots, always check if the mission takes you into low sec somehow. If it does then refuse it. You are allowed one free refusal every 4 hours.
Mining is a consistent and generally risk free method of making money. It can also be done semi AFK or walked away from with little notice if a few basic precautions are taken. This makes it a common pursuit for people with families or other obligations that might interrupt them. Your profits are directly related to you mining yield and refining skills. Mining is also essential for the economy of New Eden.
Generally you will probably start your mining career in a mining frigate or cruiser. You will also need a hauler to move your ore from the belt to the station. The general method is to mine a little ore and then jettison it. Then open the jetcan you just made and continue mining and placing the ore in the can. When you have enough, get your hauler and collect the ore. This method is called "Jetcanning".
Jetcanning is common but has one major drawback. People can steal your ore from the can. This happens for two main reasons; first they are after the ore for profit and second they are trying to bait you into a fight. Don't go attacking people that steal your ore. If they have done it then they have planned for your attack. There is probably a combat ship ready to show up and kill you. Best option is to ignore them and move. If you have friendly pilots nearby (eg corp members) then a group can secure your ore for you. Don't just attack in your mining ship. They are expecting that.
To begin with you are going to get more money for selling ore as is than refining it. This is because your skills and standings are going to cause a loss of minerals. Once you are in a mining barge I recommend working on the refining skills. Getting some standings with your favourite NPC corp is a good idea too so they don't tax your minerals.
Start by training for a mining cruiser. Each race has one. Then get Mining to level 4 so you can use the tech 2 mining lasers. Get Mining Upgrades to 4 so you can use the Mining Laser Upgrade IIs. Next train what you need to protect yourself in a belt. Drones are perfect and are used by the mining barges. Don't go overboard. After that I would try to get a mid range hauler and Expanded Cargohold IIs. Now I would start training for the Retriever and strip miners. Skip the Procurer as its not much better than your mining cruiser. Now work on defence and fitting skills and drone skills so you can fit your ship better. Mining barges are shield tanks and you really want to be able to turn on a shield booster and have it run full time. This for when you are doing your mining while watching a video or similar. Now you need to train refining skills and start the long training for the best hauler and Covetor. After that your goal is the the Exhumers and mining crystals used in Modulated Strip Miner IIs. Note that you should not use Modulated Strip Miner IIs without the right crystal as its yield is less than a normal strip miner.
Combat is part of many careers in Eve. Its is a part of Security missions, Ratting (hunting rats in asteroid belts) and exploration to name the basics. Even miners need a little combat ability to clear rats from their belts. Becoming good at combat will open many doors for you in Eve and will provide an insight into business and manufacturing possibilities.
To begin with, train to use the heavy frigate for your race. This is the Tristan for Galletne, Kestral for Caldari, Punisher for Amarr and Rifter for Minmatar. Don't wast time training for the destroyers to begin with. You will need your skills refined before you can make it work. Then you want to get Electronics, Engineering and Weapon Upgrades to 4. These skills increase your ability to fit things to you ship. Train enough weapon skill to use basic weapons. Don't go overboard on this yet. Next train the skills relating to your ship defences like Repair Systems, Energy management, Energy System Management, Energy Grid Upgrades. For shield tanks you need Shield Management, Shield Operation, Shield Compensation and Shield Upgrades. Armour tanks need Mechanics, and Hull Upgrades. Your goal is to be able to use tech 2 repair and resistance modules like a Damage Control II. These will make a great difference to your survival. Once you can fit an effective frigate, you can start working on cruiser level skills. Don't jump into a cruiser until you have the skills to use all the cruiser size modules. You will find that the cruiser modules can be used for Battlecruisers so you have a shortcut to your next level.
When designing a ship, you must plan how that ship will deal with frigates. Frigates are what kill you in missions and complexes. This is because they will web you and sometimes scramble you. They then hold you helpless in place while their big friends wear you down. Medium and large weapons have trouble killing fast, small and/or close targets. You need a way to make them killable. Use stasis webifiers, target painters, and drones to even the odds or afterburners and MWD to keep them at long range.
The Tech 1 ships are good for new pilots because they can be insured for full mineral value. While the tech 2 and tech 3 ships are superior in many ways, they can only be insured for their "mineral" value which is a tiny portion of their real value. This means the advanced ships are for people with established incomes who can afford to replace them. Rookies should stick to the Tech 1 ships until they are confident pilots.
Cosmic signatures appear randomly in solar systems across Eve. They are found using Probes. The sites can be one of five types; Radar (Hacking), Magnetometric (Salvaging and Archaeology), Ladar (Gas Mining), Gravimetric (Ore Mining) or Unknown (Wormholes or combat complex). You would have got a basic introduction during the Career Agent Missions. You need to decide which of these you are going to do and train accordingly.
There are frigates for each race specialised in scanning. They will give you bonuses to your skills.
Skills: Astrometric Acquisition, Astrometric Pinpointing, Astrometric Rangefinding. Level 4 is enough for high sec scanning. Consider getting the tech 2 scanning frigate for your race too as they have bonuses to scanning.
Radar Sites: These sites are usually lightly guarded and can be done in a frigate in high sec. They can produce some good money for the time invested in a site. You will need the Hacking skill to open the cans that appear in the zone. The real prize in high sec is the Decryptors. They sell for millions. Your skill doesn't need to be high for this but a high skill will save you time.
Gravimetric Sites: These sites often have low sec ores in a safe high sec environment. This is great if you are a miner. See the Mining section for the kind of skills you need. If you aren't a miner and you have a good site, try selling the bookmark to local miners for either a fee or a percentage of the mined ore.
Magnetometric Sites: These sites have cans that need either a Salvager or an Analyser to open. They yield salvage materials and skill books. Sometimes you get Tech 2 salvage. They are lightly guarded in a high sec site and they don't tend to be really profitable. A scanning frigate with the right modules is enough for these sites.
Wormholes: I recommend that rookie pilots leave Wormholes alone until they are well established in Eve. Wormhole space is extremely dangerous and often owned by a corp that will not like you being there.
Ladar Sites: I have never encountered a Ladar site in high sec. I do not know if they exist.
Combat Complexes: This is where the real money in high sec exploring comes from. These plexes (short for Complexes) have the chance of dropping rare faction modules. I've seen drops over 200 MISK before. You will often need a really good combat ship to do these plexes. Often the final room is a lot of incoming damage and a tough boss ship. Consider getting corpmates to help but act quickly. There are so many people scanning these days that a site doesn't stay around long.
Most sites are detailed somewhere on the internet. The Evelopedia is a good place to start. Do some research first because you might be supposed to destroy some building or something to complete the plex.
Some sites are limited in how be a ship may enter. These sites have DED ratings. 1/10 is frigates only, 2 is destroyers, 3 is cruisers and 4 is battlecruisers and down. They are referring to ship size not Tech so a Tech 2 Cruiser can get into a 3/10 zone. Be aware that some people will race you to the final goal and/or steal it at the end. Not a lot you can do about this unless you are in a good PvP ship and they steal from you. Don't get yourself killed for nothing. Overseer ships often salvage into Tech 2 salvage parts so having a salvager along is a good idea.
Industry is building things. There are a huge number of things to build in Eve and it can be a little bewildering. The place to start is with Ammo and small ships. Pick things which are being used in your area. Have a look at the market and go to the sales data. There it tells you how many of an item is sold each day. That gives you an idea of what is being bought. Then you need the blueprints. Blueprints have a quality in the form of Material Level (ME) and Production Level (PE). The production level is pretty unimportant in high sec as the build cost at NPC stations is pretty low. However the ME level of a blueprint dictates its wastage. Your skill in Production Efficiency also dictates the amount of wastage and serious manufacturers get this to level 5 as soon as possible. The blueprint will have a Bill of Materials and this lists the skills and components needed to make one batch of the item. Check this before you buy the blueprint so you don't get caught out with something you can't build.
Blueprint Originals (BPOs) can be bought from NPC stations. They are un-researched. You will need access to a lab to research them. you corp may have labs or you can use the public labs. Public labs often have long wait times so are a poor option. You can get researched BPOs and blueprint copies (BPCs) from the Contracts market. This will save you some time in set-up if you have the capital.
You are going to need a hauler to move your goods around. Be careful not to carry really valuable loads in a untanked ship. People will suicide there ships to destroy you and loot your wreck. When your empire is more extensive, consider using courier contracts. people will move things for small fees. This is the only way you can insure your cargo.
Get some Sales skills so you can buy materials and sell your goods. You will increase your margins if you use buy orders rather than buying straight from the market.
Eve has a market system that does not magically transport goods around the galaxy. If you buy something then it is one the station it was being sold from. That means there is a profit to be made moving good from one place to another. Buy low in one place, move goods and sell high in the new market. The main trade hubs are Jita, Dodixie, Amarr and Rens. They are fairly busy hubs and selling there is difficult. Moving goods out to minor hubs can net you profit. you could also buy goods cheap from the provinces and sell it in the hubs. There are a lot of options.
You need Trade skills to be a successful merchant. First get a some order slots by training Trade and Retail. Then get a hauler so you can move your goods. Alternately train Contracting so you can use courier contracts to pay other people to move your stuff. Then its a good idea to train Accounting and Broker Relations to reduce the taxes and fees you pay. Next train the skills that let you place and adjust orders at range. This will cut down on your travelling. Some people will say train for a freighter. This is a good idea if you are having trouble getting your good moved by contracts. Freighters are difficult to suicide gank so they can move expensive cargoes more easily. I'd avoid having more than 3 BISK in your hold though.
This career is about research. you need to look at the market and see what sells where. you can also do deals with industrial pilots to sell their goods. There are a lot of options available to you.