Learned skills encompass a wide range of specialties and education, from combat training to negotiating to astrophysics (see Skill List, p. 176, for a complete list). Learned skills range in rating from 1 to 99, with an average proficiency being 50. Each learned skill is linked to an aptitude, which represents the underlying competency in which the skill is based. When a learned skill is purchased (either during character generation or advancement), it is bought starting at the rating of the linked aptitude and then raised from there. If the linked aptitude is raised or modi ed, all skills built off it are modi ed appropriately as well.
Depending on your background and faction, you may receive some starting skills for free during character creation. Like aptitudes, learned skills stay with the character even when they change morphs, though certain morphs, implants, and other factors may sometimes modify your skill rating. If you lack a particular skill called for by a test, in most cases you can default to the linked aptitude for the test (see Defaulting: Untrained Skill Use, p. 116).
Specializations represent an area of concentration and focus in a particular learned skill. A character who learns a specialization is one who not only grasps the basic tenets of that skill, but has trained hard to excel in one particular aspect of that skill’s field. Specializations apply a +10 modifier when the character utilizes that skill in the area of specialization.