There is an on-going debate as to what exactly us game art students should be taught, specific technical skills or learning attributes and soft skills?
Soft skills is a term which I am already vaguely familiar with, something that was brought up during Sixth Form and used in other aspects such as soft subjects, the latter being used to categorise subjects in reports, one of which was art (how insulting! as if they would insinuate what we're doing is in any way 'easy').
You look for a definition of soft skills and many lists will vary in length but in the end they contain the core fundamentals, some are just plain obvious like good eye contact, being drug-free and common sense. I mean come on! And then there are other factors which employers will expect to see in the people they meet. Adaptability, personal energy and ability to self supervise and so on. It's these traits that will get us through this course and into the working world. Looking at our year group as an example, our numbers have been halved approximately since last year, this is most likely due to people not utilising the soft skills.
This question can refer back to the research of generalism and specialism, how excelling in one specific area can be of benefit, particularly if the company is looking for individuals who can bring them significant value. Yet with the expansion and change within the industry for all we know that said subject could be rendered obsolete within a sort space of time. I mean I could dedicate the remainder of my time on the course to learning every part of 3ds Max, only to find that upon graduating the game company's are using a brand new software entirely.
Furthermore in terms of what employers are actually after, the characteristics they wish for on their vacancies may change also. As the technology changes the chances are that their demands will as well.
Personally I'm glad that we are not spoon fed every time a new chapter in Game Production opens, we are given the tools like 3ds Max and the engines and we are expected to decipher them for ourselves. One of the key lessons that we're told time and time again is that there is no one way to go about doing something, be it on a pc or in a sketchbook, everyone has there own way of approaching task. We can't go through the entire course and on into the industry asking for help. Although in my case, that moment where I want to ask a question and realise that is sounds kinda stupid, but have to ask because I don't wanna waste the rest of the day being dumbstruck.
At the end of the day, I believe that it's in our best interests that we are able to move ahead with technology, so I am actually in favour of the soft skills side of this debate, simply because the values of this cannot be taught and learnt, you must discover if you have them within yourself and prove it. Ok that does sound rather corny like it's from a fantasy film but it's true, although sometimes when you claim certain skills it feels like being on The Apprentice interviews, and the look on their faces half the time..... it's demoralising.