The lenses we mount can be classified as wide-angle, normal, or telephoto. Additionally they can be characterized as prime (fixed as to focal length), zoom (variable as to focal length), and micro (optimized for close-up work). A fledgling photographer would be best served by a zoom with a range that centers on “normal”. Now most camera “kits” (boxed sets with lens) are supplied with a “kit” lens. This will be a zoom with a limited focal length range that centers on “normal”. The “kit” lens is a “taster” that covers moderate wide-angle, normal, and a moderate telephoto. So my advice is, purchase a name brand, with a kit lens.
That being said, we fit lenses based on the task. A zoom lens is more versatile than a prime, as it provides flexibility as to its focal length. You should start with the kit lens. When you have some shutter time under your belt, you will have decided if you are going to like photography enough to stay with it. If true, now you can branch out, and buy specialty lenses that offer more zoom range or perhaps a macro.
What focal lengths are classified as wide-angle, normal, telephoto? To find out, dig into the specifications of your camera. Find out the dimensions of the format. A full frame camera sports an imaging chip that measures 24mm height by 36mm length. This rectangle has a corner to corner (diagonal) measure of about 45mm. For this format, a lens with a focal length of 45mm delivers a “normal” view. However, by tradition, we round this value up to 50mm. Wide-angle starts at about 70% of normal (50 x .7 = 35mm or shorter). Telephoto starts at 2X normal --- thus telephoto is 100mm or longer.
The popular compact format measures 16mm height by 24mm length (DX). The diagonal measure for this format is 30mm. Wide-angle is 20mm or shorter and telephoto is 60mm or longer.
Additionally, portrait photographers generally gravitate to a lens 2.5 times longer than normal. For the full frame (FX) that’s about 100mm. For the compact, that’s about 75mm. Some advice: Pick up a book or two on photography and study up on how we choose lens focal lengths for different tasks.