When I am with a group of photographers, other than contemplative photographers that is, the conversation inevitably turns technical. It's all f-stops and focal lengths and Canon vs. Nikon. The opinions are always very concrete and definitive. There is a "right" way and a "wrong" way to do just about everything...from the "capture" of the image ( :-( ) to the processing of the image in Photoshop ( the latest version of course.)
Well, I hate to burst their bubble but it isn't as simple as the right equipment and the right digital work flow. Without a thoughtful and considered approach to the "why's" then the "how's" make little difference.
Now I know I've stood on this soap box before and let me re-iterate, I think learning the "hows" extremely important in the beginning but if it is all that occupies your thinking then you are missing so much.
I will end with a link that may make you consider the monochrome image the next time you are out and about with your camera. The world may not be black and white but sometimes it looks better that way!