I have looked through developer.force.com and gone through a few basic guides on apex. I cant seem to find a real starting point for learning the basics of salesforce admin. The youtube videos and articles I have found never seem to come from the perspective of a completely new user.
The ADM classes (ADM 201, etc) are a great starting point. They have online and in-house versions available (in-house being obviously pricier). You don't need Apex Code or Visualforce to be an effective admin; your day-to-day chores will involve running reports, managing page layouts and fields, and managing users. It only takes a few basic courses to get going, but you'll find the nuances of security and dashboards will take a little bit longer to get a true grasp on.
If you want to eventually take on a role as a developer, you can advance to the developer courses that salesforce.com offers. I personally recommend learning an offline language like C# or Java first to get your feet wet before attempting to learn Apex Code.