Programmer wants to make a robot

I want to make a robot which should be just an arm rotating, catching and moving a bit.
It should attach the hand to an object and lift it.

I have never tried Arduino and have no idea of the different kinds of products. (Uno, shield etc)
I tried to learn a bit over the internet but am still not clear about the options.

Sidenote: I have been programming for 5 years in Javascript + PHP and want to try my skills with robotics.

Any guidance?

Everything to do with the Arduino will depend on the electromechanical aspects of the robot.

Spend some time looking through robot kits, DIY web pages and fully assembled commercial offerings on the web before making a decision.