I think that to be successful in ID you have to be passionate. If you are into it, you’ll go out of your way to learn what you need to learn… which is pretty much no different from any profession.
ID jobs vary greatly in responsibility and skill requirements from industry to industry, and even within those industries. It is kind of a general guide that you will get hired to do what you are best at (logical), so manage that. If you enjoy CAD, there is no shortage of CAD based jobs, if you enjoy sketching and ideating, build these skills, if you enjoy tinkering and building things with your hands, research creative ID positions that will let you do this all day…
I believe that auto cad, drawing, making prototypes, etc. are all skills you have to keep on practicing. However, these skills are not the design, rather skills are just methods for designers to express and communicate their design.
Product design is very much about user research. Being observant in your everyday lives really makes a big difference. It’s about noticing the little problems and behaviors. And tackling these little things can lead to great design.
The processes as I understand include… Research (into users, context, market, brand, manufacturing, etc. and from that you find the problems) Concept generation (in which you try to tackle the problems with your design) Concept development (when you choose a concept and develop the details and usability of a product. also look into the manufacturing processes) Concept refinement (in which you resolve the form, scale, usage, materials and finishes of the product)
Of course you can be doing different steps simultaneously and the process does not neccessarily go through that order.
Hope it helps.
It’s really a lot of hard work. And you definitely have to enjoy it to be able to get through.