You might consider sticking to the lower price range to start. As you progress you might decide you’re a XC racer, a dirt jumper, an enduro or downhill nut, whatever. The more variety you ride the more you’ll know what you are looking for. If you drop $3000 on a bike now you may have a hard time justifying it’s replacement once you learn more.
That being said you’ll never regret a 1x drivetrain and a dropper post.