As a weekend welder myself, its a consistently learning craft. Your always learning new techniques, machine settings, flow rates, filler materials and ways to make it comfortable.
I consider it a perishable skill, which needs constant practice. I myself learned at a trade school, on a stick welder doing lap joints, inside corners and welding random bits of metal together with mild steel. Then I moved to buy my own machine and started to hone the skill by doing small projects. There are a great deal of small projects you can do with minimal expense on really any machine. You can get cheap coupons of metal online or at any scrap yard, I know there are many here in Texas. I then moved to a Inverter welder and starting learning aluminum, totally different that steel, but my knowledge of stick welding helped be greatly!
I don't personally recommend learning MIG to start, where if you learn Stick or TIG, thoes skills can translate to all 3, where MIG does not.
Then its all about practice, no special welder, special setting will make up for time behind the helmet welding. Forget fine tuning settings to start with, use a the recommendations on the manual or a quick google, but dont change them again. Lay down some beads, get used and comfortable with the torch, and go from there. Over time you will learn all the special settings to use, etc, but don't worry about that now if your just starting out.
Hope that inspires you to practice, practice, practice to become a "perfect/master" welder.
Welding can range from moderately hard to painfully difficulty. You could actually learn welding by picking up a few books and watching YouTube videos but that will not make you an expert or pro.
You still need to get certifications so picking up an apprenticeship program is important because you will still require hands on experience.
Assuming you are still in high school, after graduating, please consider a certification program to get you job market ready or some apprenticeship programs.