@dudeglove: It's not strictly necessary to join a clan. You do get some nice benefits to being a part of a clan like access to blueprints of a lot of weapons and warframes, and of course having an active clan chat is very nice.
If you're asking if you need to be in a clan to get anywhere - not at all, it gives you relatively easy access to a lot of things, but it's certainly not necessary. For a new-ish player, I'd say that the greatest benefit a clan can offer is other people to ask questions of, and play with.
Eventually, you'll want to have access to the research to rank up your account mastery level, but that's not really something that's all that important when you are still figuring things out :)