Hard to believe: there are still developers who are absolutely new to SharePoint and need a helping hand in getting to that first level of understanding about how the various logical pieces of SharePoint come together. Not to worry! From the basics of what is SharePoint all the way to configuration, deployment and security there is a lot to learn and understand to truly grok the platform that is SharePoint. The good news: there is an incredible amount to content online to help get you started and available software to begin getting your feet wet (or is that hands dirty?).
In my never ending quest to collect and share interesting technical tidbits I come to the start of the journey and say that the SharePoint 2010 Architectures Overview has to be one of the best spots to start gaining an initial technical understanding of SharePoint 2010. It covers a fair bit of ground and prepares you to start tearing through the TechNet documentation which is extensive and in-depth.
Feel like taking SharePoint 2010 and Fast Search Server 2010 for a spin? Download a fully active VHD from the 2010 Information Worker Demonstration and Evaluation Virtual Machine (SP1) page and make sure to get the SharePoint 2010 Developer Training Kit which contains a selection of labs that work with the VHD.
We learn by doing. Get doing!