As a new darkroom enthusiast (just over 2 years now and still too much to learn) I would recommend setting up a darkroom in your home if at all possible. Having the ability to process film and then print it is the best way I know to learn about exposure and development. All of the technical reading you may do will not make a lot of sense until you are actually able to see and then think about your own work.
Exposure just allows you to place shadow values where you want them and maintain full detail. Development lets you to maintain highlight values where they should be to get the best detail possible on a regular basis. That is really all there is to it, but there are a lot of differing ideas about the best way to go about it. After working on the zone system for about two years, I've found the "Beyond the Zone System" approach to be much better for me. It allows a better match of film contrast to paper contrast, the whole point of exposure and development. Welcome, tim