Congratulations, and welcome to the forum.
Yes, just how to proceed depends some on how large the area is and how your body feels about hard work at this point.
What tools do you have? Roto-tiller riding lawn mower?
A big riding mower can mow down those weeds. A good tiller can also chop them up and mix them with the soil.
Getting some organic matter into that soil will help with the compaction. If the ground is quite dry that in itself makes it hard unless its very sandy.
You say you are new to gardening. Have you decided on a gardening style you would like to follow? There are lots of ways to grow a garden.
If you are making a 1/4 acre garden, I would say rent a BIG tiller and till it all in. If you are only gardening 200 square feet, then pull the weeds and make a compost heap and cover the area with leaves and grass clippings this fall. In the spring, dig it with a digging fork and plant.
Please fill us in a little better on what you have going on and what your aspirations are. You see many of put some info about our gardens and location in our siggy line. Makes it easier to suggest some things if we know more about your situation, and gardening varies all over the country due simply to climate.
Gardening at 5000 feet elevation, zone 4/5 Northern Utah, Frost free from May 25 to September 8 +/-