I've thought about trying EVE again (I played for maybe 3 months a few years ago, but i was still pretty active in an EQ guild with the hubby, so EVE got sidelined). I think I'd have the time to commit now, but I just feel like there'd be too much catching up to do before I could ever be a galactic force to be reckoned with.
The game is structured so that this isn't the case.
It'll take about a month of training to get a pilot to the point where they can be competitive while flying a specific race's frigates.
The way the game works is that every skill has 5 levels, with each level taking far more than the previous to train (and level 5 takes the same as 1-4 combined). But it's a linear progression in terms of value. So new pilots actually get the most bang for the buck when it comes to training with regards to time.
For instance, it might take 30 minutes to train a skill to level 1, and that skill might give you +2% reload speed with guns. Training it to level 4 won't take you TOO long, and that'll get you +6% reload speed.
The veteran pilot is going to have that skill at 5, sure. But that's also only 2% faster reload.
Getting all the core skills for tier 1 frigate piloting to 3-5 is doable in a month. And because all ship types are relevant in EVE, you get to be competitive pretty much right away.
Frigates, for the record, are great for fighting other frigates and for suppressing larger ships (whose guns will be too hit them at frigate speeds). So you'll be welcome in any team fighting environment.
And if you're interested in early PVP, Red vs. Blue is extremely newbie friendly. They'll help get you all the valuable early skills, teach you, answer questions, get you a stock of frigates to go out and lose, and they often have theme weekends where everyone flies T1 frigates, to help level the playing field.
And they also have some extremely strict rules regarding PVP conduct to make it accessible. Absolutely no podding of RvB members is tolerated, so you don't have to worry about losing your clone. You don't get LOL-style trash talk (though that's generally true in EVE - trash talk isn't all that common. You're just as likely to compliment someone who ganked you for their success as you are to say nice flying to someone you dueled).
It's also the kind of corp that isn't looking for destruction at all times. If someone is flying something that could easily destroy you, and you aren't part of a team fight, they'll probably just ignore you. They're all there looking to have fun losing ships, which usually means at least some challenge.
You can join either side - both are great and helpful.