In My job I have to be both dev and designer ... I am not as much a Gfx designer, more code side.
I want to do better at design and Gfx.
I am always looking for more on how to do it better.
I'd Love to see some stuff on how to approach using Expression studio to build UI for an app.
I'd also love to see more tools for pulling apart .psd files to use in SIlverlight and WPF
some kind of converter from .PSD to Expression design format.
not just a bitmap, the layers, effects etc...
UI and UX are for sure very important 8? 9? as long as the rest do not have to suffer... function and code quality can not be left in the gutter.
I started off in web design for about a year before moving into coding for the last 8 years which I have always been more drawn to.
I have always worked for small-medium companies so have to do a bit of everything. I suspect many developers are in this position.
1) Yes definatly and im not sure you can avoid this with WPF/Silverlight. On a tangent CSS which could be considered design I would argue is a definate coding skill (and one that doesnt seem to pay too well according to my collegues). Its definatly a skill/hack
getting compex designs to display correctly in all browsers
2) Yes I think this would be useful. I do alot of icon work etc with Fireworks and people are always surprised how easy it is to add shadows etc. Dont underestimate the basics that you probably take for granted. Some of the most useful skills are basic stuff
e.g. how do use the magic wand selection tool, cropping etc.
3) Both are important - I would rather have something that works rather than just looks good but we all know how important aesthetics can be even if a product is technically inferior ipod (cough)