What is it like, the explorer career?
From my point of view it is one of the most profitable and interesting careers at the beginning of the game. You are not required to spend awful amounts of ISK or SP early on because you can start your path as the explorer right from the high-sec systems. All you need is a ship with a bonus to virus coherence and probe scanner strength, some modules (of course) like Probe Launcher, Data Analyser, Relic Analyser and so on. You don’t need the very best equipment at the start, though more expensive modules provide some sweet bonuses that prove to be very helpful.
You will probably spent a lot of your time looking at solar system map and arguing with your scanner probes because those bastards sometimes really don’t want to let you explore this neat data site you have found nearby, cry like a little girl when you blow up your first 10M ISK data site and all you have in your wallet is like 3M or so, run from your pursuers who are by the way the owners of the one wormhole you’ve decided to step in and hack data sites, but in the end you surely will feel satisfied selling your loot for amount of ISK enough to by you a standard cruiser (or something far better if you’ve successfully returned from low-sec or null-sec) instantly.
Some of the helpful links that might come in handy
Very helpful info might be found on EVElopedia (of course) and on UniWiki (you can find the fits for all the other exploration and non-exploration ships there, useful guides and classes that you can attend).
Some helpful info is also available at the EVE Online forums.