I install Ubuntu for noobs, Debian testing for myself, what you need to know is how well does your specific distro handle your hardware, and are you tech savvy enough to do something about it? Ubuntu is the closest thing you get to an out of the box experience, hence it being the distro of choice for noobs, once you got enough experience you can move on to other distros keeping your home dir with all of its config files which should work seamlessly across different ditsros.
You should look for a distribution with a good community backing it up, you don't want your software repositories suddenly disappearing on you, so a distro with a long history, and the lts branch is a good to go for anyone, Slackware and Debian are really solid choices in this department.
Your next issue to consider is what software do you need, if you need something that is released exclusively for commercial OS, stick to those, it takes a powerful machine to render 3d and edit video on top of a visualization package, other than commercial CAD software and niche applications, *nix is really a great platform.
Lastly as a noob looking for a first distro, I can attest to the pleasant experience I have had using linux over the last 5~6 years, no viruses, spyware or any other crap that plagues windows over here, the only trouble I have had was of my own misuse/misconfiguration origin, and in all those early days instances of self induced trouble I learned quite a lot, all in all you won't be looking back.