If you’re simply a novice photographer, you can get by without the complicated features of an SLR. You can still shoot great pictures with a mere point and shoot camera.
When buying a point and shoot, choose one with as few settings to fiddle with as possible. Those extra features will only cost you extra bucks, and will just end up useless for a newbie like you anyway. Get one with good anti-shake technology, as what most of us are concerned about are blurred pictures.
As for megapixels, yes bigger is better, but for a simple shooter, a mere 8-megapixel should suffice.
Not all point and shoot cameras are created equal, so be sure to choose well. Your wallet will thank you for it.
Image courtesy of imagerymajestic at FreeDigitalPhotos.net