Traveller characters generally start out as people who have been in a career for 12+ years and are already skilled – they are like the (senior) characters in Star Trek: Kirk, Spock etc are already fully formed when the show starts.
There are two problems with this imo
- what if a character starts out after one term with two skill ranks
- what if Scottie got marooned on a wilderness planet – after ten years would he still be Engineering-4 or would he have forgotten a lot of it and picked up Spear-4 instead.
Characters can have a total of n ranks of skill where n is the sum of their highest stat and lowest stat.
Skill-0 and skill-1 count as one rank, skill-2 counts as two ranks etc.
Characters can add one skill rank to a skill after each adventure up to their maximum, if they are already at their maximum they have to reduce another one first.
If a character starts a new skill it starts at skill-0.
Characters can improve skills they already know or skills they can learn from others in the group.
If a character’s stats change then their maximum ranks total may change also.
This still works for characters like Kirk, Spock etc as their stats might give them a maximum of c. 20 ranks of skills and they would likely have all of them filled at game start.
e.g. Spock 888CC9 (=20 ranks max)