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I checked out all tooltips in the game and their official website. Since FTL did not come with a manual I have no clue here. I know that they have something to do with recharge rates and percentages but I can't find anything specific about it.

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Are you asking for specific percentages, or just what areas they improve? – Frank Oct 11 '12 at 16:59
I edited my question. – Adam Arold Oct 11 '12 at 17:06
Float your mouse over a crew member's name, then over the skill they've trained. That will show the current benefits they're providing. – Hand-E-Food Oct 11 '12 at 21:58
up vote 29 down vote accepted

It varies from system to system as follows ("manned" or 0 level/1 level/2 level)

  1. Engines - increases evasion 5%/7%/10%.
  2. Shields - increases recharge rate 10%/20%/29%
  3. Weapons - reduced charge time 10%/15%/19%
  4. Piloting - increase evasion 5%/7%/10%. Also, with no pilot and no auto-pilot you get 0% evasion regardless of the level/power of engines!
  5. Melee - increases combat damage, 0/10%/20%
  6. Repair - increases repair speed 0/10%?/20%?? (seems likely)

Source here, and also from help in the comments.

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Also, repair - decrease time 0%/10%/? (never got anyone up that high). – Allen Gould Oct 11 '12 at 21:41
@Allen - do you know if it's 10% at level 1? I've never seen hard numbers. Forgot to mention repair, will add. – peacedog Oct 12 '12 at 0:41
That's my recollection, but I'm at work right now and can't look to confirm. Will update. – Allen Gould Oct 12 '12 at 14:40
Update: one-star melee is +10% damage according to the tooltip. – Allen Gould Oct 13 '12 at 0:48
@Allen nice, added. – peacedog Oct 13 '12 at 0:57

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