hello fellow human survivor (or victim
First of all, if you want to select your starting bonus ship(s), simply click on one or multiple of the ship icons on the galaxy map in the lobby. Also keep in consideration the numer displayed next to the ship icon (the amount of hostile wormholes bordering that world).
About tech unlocks, that's something that's completely different for every player. I'm probably one of the very few people who play with logistics command stations only, but they work well for me. My advice to you is to go after the valuable targets first. If you can't find any valuable targets first, then take one with a lot of resources for example. Or if your homeworld is bordering a Mk IV world, (try to) take that one out first. You don't want Mk IV worlds to build up forces.
Starships can be quite useful, but they can wreck your economy early game. However, if I have a lot of spare metal or crystal, I usually get some starships that either cost a lot of metal or crystal. To balance it out a bit.
I always wait a while with my first attack as well. I usually build ships (both regular and starships) until I have very little energy left. then I start my first attack.
Hope this helps a bit =)