I have been exploring crypto currency for a few months now and though I have determined it to be a miniscule if anything money maker, it is certainly interesting.
I started out by using my fairly robust video card's processor to hash generate solutions that eventually add up to varying amounts of COIN. There are at least a hundred that I know of. They are of the variety of SCRYPT.
Bitcoin and its ilk need different kind of hardware to hash solutions out of. The coins in this group are of the variety known as SHA256.
I have successfully mined both varieties using home computer equipment and recently have experimented with buying hardware hashability via the "CLOUD". I have made many pennies so far. :)
Anyway, If you are looking to get into this cool hobby and have a specific question, I might be able to help. Just post your question in the comments below.
I also use Cryptsy to hold all my various coin wallets. If you would like to explore that, go HERE
I use CEX.IO for my cloud based hashing. If you would like to explore that go HERE
My current dashboard. All in all about $80 USD has gotten me this. More info HERE