Skills are used by dwarves to accomplish almost every task. Higher skills allows dwarves to accomplish tasks more quickly, but also more effectively (for example mining and crafting). Using a skill will grant experience in that skill, allowing the dwarf to reach higher skill levels.
Skills now become rusty and eventually very rusty after a certain period of time. The exact effects of this are unknown, but skills remaining at "very rusty" for prolonged periods of time will gradually suffer permanent experience loss.
To determine what skills a dwarf has, press v and highlight the dwarf, then press g to ensure you are on the general information page. The skills will be grouped in to three toggleable types, combat, labor and miscellaneous skills. The list will include the level of each skill and a note if it is rusty or very rusty in parentheses if applicable.
Skill levels are as follows:
- High Master
- Grand Master
 Skill penalties
Dwarves that are hungry, tired, or thirsty will work slower and produce lower quality goods. For some tasks like wood cutting or furnace operating this is unimportant, but you may wish to halt construction of aluminum statues, or remove the designation on those diamond or native aluminum clusters if your blacksmith or miner is famished and hollow-eyed from lack of sleep.
 Skills, Attributes and Traits
- are trained by being used in some activity.
- train attributes.
- the same attribute can be trained by various skills.
- it's assumed that the skills also use some of the attributes that they train.
- certain skills are required or important for certain noble, military and civilian professions.
- certain professions require several skills.
- the same skill can be used by various professions.
- are increased by Preferences, but capped, so the dwarf will make items beyond its skill level but won't affect the chances of making more high value items at the highest skill level.
- cannot be modified in-game.Verify
- affect which social skills gain experience (if the dwarf has X trait it will not gain experience in X skill) at all.
- have other in-game effects that can be useful for certain professions.
- give thoughts when performing certain activities.
To summarize it goes like this:
Trait --> Skill <--> Attribute
Since the same skills can be used by various professions, and the same attributes are trained by various skills, this allows for cross-training.
Being traits the unmodifiableVerify, limiting factor on which skills can be learned or having useful effects, and certain professions requiring various skills, the need arises to:
- avoid appointing a dwarf that will never learn a certain skill to a profession that uses it:
- appoint a dwarf with an useful effect given by a trait to a profession that benefits from it:
The solution comes in the form of a nice sortable reference table:
coming soon! work in progress... please don't delete hidden comments... ;)
 Skills first introduced in version 0.31.01
Fighter, Archer, Striker, Kicker, Biter, Dodger
Wound dresser, Diagnostician, Surgeon, Bone Doctor, Suturer (stitching wounds), Crutch Walker (this is for patients rather than doctors)
Misc. object user, Student, Concentration, Observer, Leader, Teacher,
 Skills first observed in version 0.31.14
 Skills first introduced in version 0.31.19
Shearer, Spinner, Presser, Beekeeper
Potter, Glazer, Wax worker