I'd argue that slide film can be a viable option for a beginner wanting to learn exposure and color. My reasoning is that you can instantly tell by looking at the film if you've nailed the exposure or not. Color negative film is hard to read, and if a lab does the printing for you, your mistakes might be "smoothed over", meaning you won't learn from them.
I cut my teeth on slide film, and I don't regret it even though it was a steep learning curve (years later I still haven't mastered it, but I'm getting there).
On the other hand, if the OP is interested in optical printing at home, color negatives are definitely the way to go.