Getting started with robotics is probably a lot easier than you think. Here’s a simulation sandbox that’s cross-platform and provides a simple high-level API. It should help you get started experimenting with robot grasping tasks.
As the Chief Technical Architect at the Shadow Robot Company, I spend a lot of time playing with different algorithms to see how they’d fit our robots. Controlling a complex robot to make it behave the way you’d want in a complex environment is… complex!