Ofttimes I hear rookie and veteran pilots alike, speaking in terms of pod-pilot-experience and/or mastery in various areas. I hear rookies complain they can never catch up to a vet, and vets explaining to the rookies that the key is to specialize.
So, I'm looking at a little frigate which I occasionally fly, and I mentally take note of the skills which I will use in this, and all, ships which I fly. I consider only the skills I currently have trained to level 4 or 5 (not including a few I desire to get trained that high).
For any ship I will fly, I am utilizing (to one degree or another of *usefulness*) the following skills:
navigation: acceleration control, afterburner, evasive maneuvering, fuel conservation, high speed maneuvering, navigation, warp drive operation
science: cybernetics, thermodynamics
spaceship command: spaceship command, appropriate racial ship skill(s)
engineering: 5 base skills, plus about another 10 skills for shield tanking
electronics: 7 base skills, plus up to another 7 skills depending on if I'm doing some type of jamming.
mechanic: 3 base skills, plus half a dozen+ if i'm armour tanking, plus applicable rigging skills, a couple more skills if i'm repairing overheated equipment on the fly.
weapons: this is easily, at least 8 or so skills for the lightest weapons of each category (drones, guns, missiles), up to about twice that much for various weapons. So at least 8 skills of one weapon type will be added here, depending on what I'm flying.
These ARE skills I've trained up to level 4/5, which ARE used no matter what ship I am flying, be it a frigate, cruiser, battleship, etc. This does not include 5.376 million SP spent in maxing learning skills and having cybernetics up to lvl 5 (in order to use the best implants). This I've done to minimize my training time, even when I'm sans implants.
This does not reflect the concept of my ability to use the best items (t2 vs t1) and best ships available. Whereas a rookie pilot would have to train up a considerable number of skills to at least level 4 in order to avail himself of the same caliber of equipment which I may use.
So, even in a simple rifter frigate, I am easily putting to use 40-50 skills which I've trained to level 4/5. If every one of these skills was simply Rank 1 and require no prerequisite skills (which all of them are not), and if we shoot the low-end of 20 lvl 4s and 20 lvl 5s, we're looking at 6m SP. As these skills ARE skills which I use in all ships I fly, I make it a habit to max their training.
From that vantage point, if a rookie (near) maxes his learning skills in at least 9 of the 11 learning skills, and has decent/good implants; then after he's achieved those several million SP of skills -- he only needs about 6 million more SP to be on equal footing with me in a frigate which utilizes a single weapon type. The learning skills and implants are, of course, optional training; but, the training time increases wildly if he has not educated himself, as it were, skill-wise.
So, as I continue to listen to various pilots' opinions of how even the battleground is, in a single dogfight, and how easily a rookie pilot can specialize and catch up (in training) to a veteran pilot... I can only shrug and smile.