Can a new programmer jump right in and program the cloud? It could be. Google does have good documentation and tutorials at their main page:
Google App Engine
There are currently three languages options offered: Go, Java, and Python.
I did a little by the Python path, and liked it. I think Python is a better match than Java for a widely distributed cloud solution. It's just so much lighter to interpret a page, rather than launch an object-oriented runtime. If you take the Python path, the "stack" is HTML, CSS, the Python language, the Django framework, and then the AppEngine API.
I haven't tried the Go Programming Language and won't comment on that option ... other than to say it is probably a fine language, but wouldn't yet have the market potential of Java or Python.