In the earlier days of responsive email design, I used Litmus analytics tracking to show my managers how many of our customers were reading their emails on mobile devices. This made it much easier for me to not only justify the time I was spending learning new responsive techniques, but also to get others within the organization to be okay with our emails looking different in various contexts and devices.
One of my favorite things from LitmusLive16 was talking to other email geeks about their team's workflow. In fact, several of the presenters this year shared details about their timelines, processes, and tools they use. I always find this helpful as it makes me question why I do things the way I do, and often introduces me to a better way of doing things.
ReallyGoodEmails' newsletter occasionally has a "Lessons learned from ..." feature, where they would interview an email professional to learn about their experience and processes. I would enjoy a similar series from Litmus, focused on processes, workflow, and tools.
I used Silverpop at a previous job. We did triggered emails, conditional dynamic content, and automated programs/drip campaigns with behavioral logic. However, from what I have seen, I will say that I have been more impressed with ExactTarget's capabilities, for what it's worth.
I studied International Marketing and German for undergrad. I then completed an MBA program a few years later.
My first exposure to HTML was during a marketing internship with a local radio station. My boss gave me a "teach yourself HTML 4" book and told me to "learn this." I spent the next several months building landing pages and photo galleries all day, learning by doing (Yay Notepad!). That knowledge eventually landed me my first job out of college building email newsletters. I've been doing email ever since. :)
File organization in the UI is one that seems to be commonly overlooked. At my previous job, we used an ESP that actually did this very well...and I miss it every day. :)
As for my current ESP, I wish they had a simple way to handle conditional content in a template. Right now, we have to code our own JS to do anything conditional (if attribute is this value, then show this content/image/link, etc).