My character is a mad scientist: she specialises in drugs and explosives! I just started playing it for the 1st time, so I don't think I can really help about the best upgrades. It depends of your style: I'm an item horder so Locksmith and Scrapper are must-have for me. And the Blacksmith perk: I was dying for a sniper rifle and so happy when I found out I could just build one.
I played through recently for the first time in a while - I did a melee character for the first time! I did allow myself grenades/mines as well, but no guns of any sort. I did stealth/VATS combat style rather than tanking it in power armor. Robots in particular were quite difficult to fight because of not being able to target specific parts of them in VATS when you have a melee weapon... It was brutally difficult for the first few levels and I relied quite heavily on companions, but then it got really good later on
Me! Started a few weeks ago after over a year! Downloaded the mod that unlocks the dogmeat plus another companion slot - “let’s go boy!” Means I’ll never leave him behind again! Am currently collecting teddy bears - though couldn’t disturb the two in the shamrock tap house playing chequers with bottle caps