Generally, it is a good idea to plan your model out to begin with. This helps you get well defined face/edge loops. I know that in Maya you can just cut edges anywhere and it bugged me a bit at first that Blender made those tris on other faces too but if you think about it, at least you never have to use the poly cleanup tool to tessellate faces with more than 4 sides (and that makes awkward tris too). I sometimes forgot and ended up with skinned models that had n-gons. That’s bad in game engines.
As for hidden menus, they are certainly no more hidden than Maya’s (I’ve spent countless wasted minutes looking for simple tools). Admittedly, there are tools that seem to only be accessible via hotkeys (maybe I just haven’t found the menus though, like ortho bottom, left and back views) but you get to learn where things are the more you use Blender - it’s the same with any software. BTW, the open/save thing might be hidden if you click the triangle in the top left or if you removed the header.
My workflow has increased since dropping Maya and using Blender. I’m also making better models because I found that a lot of Maya’s methods cater for noobs and make you lazy. You will also find the tutorials and 3D techniques more accessible and more informative than for Maya. The tutorials I had for Maya didn’t even teach 3-point lighting, AO, GI, caustics or radiosity (mainly because Maya’s internal renderer only supports the first of those). Lighting is one of the most important elements in CG. I also hated having to make poly proxys for every low-poly model and have it produce a separate model and then duplicate the lp model to find you have to subdiv that separately. In Blender you just click one button and it’s done. Also, at least Blender doesn’t have a separate subd object type - that got confusing. It’s just mesh and NURBs. Simple and elegant.
As for your specific problem, ReeVee’s comment should work. If you want to subdivide edges manually, don’t press the subdivide button, use the knife (k key). To get rid of any tris, select the 4 vertices around 2 tris and press j to merge them.