Cats are fairly independent but like humans their needs vary.
If you want to get just one cat, make sure that you get a lot of toys and set aside a chunk of your free time every day to spend with the cat/kitten. Since this feline will not have your company while you're at work, it will need extra enrichment to make up for it. Cat trees, balls with bells, toy mice, etc will be replacing the enrichment it would normally get from having siblings or you around.
If you plan to get two cats (what I recommend!), make sure that you get two food bowls, two litter boxes, two water dishes, etc. Like humans they need both together and apart time.
If you do plan to let your cats roam outside, please talk to your local vet about the dangers that are in your area. I personally would never let my cats outside as the risk outweighs the reward (I do buy them cat grass and other safe plants to make up for it).
One final note, you don't have to have an animal to go talk to a veterinarian (or even go to the vet); most people in the veterinary profession love talking about animals and would be more than happy to help you through the process of getting started with your new furry family!