I believe that with the education into a career such as game art design, there isn’t a choice between specific technical skills and developing learning attributes as I believe they are both important in having a rounded and broad spectrum of skills that have been learnt.
We cannot know the future, however we can imagine. In the time it takes to learn certain skills with regards to game art, technology will advance, but it shouldn’t advance too drastically in a short amount of time. Humans are interactive species, we love to gloat about the upcoming new technology that will be available for purchase soon. This means that most people will be in the loop with technology, whether it’s through hear-say, internet, newspaper ect. Skills needed are unlikely to change too drastically for your education to be meaningless. Often skills can be transferred to other job roles and can easily be picked up or changed according to what advancements have been made. It will not just be you not understanding how to progress in a company, most other people will need to be re-educated in some aspects as well. There is no point in worrying whether your skills will be useful in the future as it will happen with most aspects in life. Things are forever changing, for example, you learn a small amount of instruments, yet now, you can get all instruments downloaded at a press of a button on your laptop. Things do become out of date and the only way to keep advancing is to be able to see this change, cope and learn from it.
However, saying this, it is still important to plan for the present. It is important to meet the current demand from an organisation as planning for the future would be useless to get you hired as they want to see what skills you have there and then instead of what you may be able to do in the future. (However, I am not saying don’t discuss some advancements, just concentrate on the here and now.
It is important to be a rounded person if you don’t mind where you would like to be in the games industry. If you want to work for a specific company then you will have to research into whether the company prefer technical over artistic skills or vice versa. Many companies will want you to be the “jack of all trades”, but be experienced in one overall part of the gaming experience. It really depends on what a company requires and what you can give, if both criteria match then there will be a high possibility that there may be a job for you.
It is difficult for education to accomplish all the needs that both the student and industry want. The industry will change the criteria for it’s employees on a regukar basis, as they have the money and power to do so. So it is important for communication between industry and education so that universitys and colleges can supply graduates with training they need to be of use to the industry. It is all required to be able to work in a circle, as the industry needs the employees for work, as do the employees need the industry. It is not a linear answer to such a broad question, it requires communication and planning to achieve an overall positive outlook for both industry and worker.