I know what you mean about acronyms.....Korash be Gunner for 17 years....17 years out though....in good ol' CF.
Let me help with a few pointers:
WIP = Work in progress. We have plenty of forums here that are for posting projects that are still in the working-on stage. These WIPs are open for comment and critiques (and we frown on flaming someones work here at the guild) and it is generally where you will get the most benefit from this community. We all want to help make your maps better.
GIMP = An open source raster program along the same lines as Photoshop. I wouldn't say one is better than the other as each has their own strong points and weaknesses, but are comparable in features and results, with both having LOTS of tutorials here at the Guild. One advantage GIMP has is that it is free.....
Raster = basically, an image pieced together using pixels instead of lines
Vector = Basically an image made up of computer generated line art
My best suggestion is for you to wade in a start a WIP thread as soon as you start a map and let us help you through the Digital Mapping experience.
and welcome to the Guild, the Mappiest Place on the web