Most of the crunch in StarCluster 3 is in Chargen. The chargen for the game is designed to yield very individual PCs at the end, but the process is detailed. I've been thinking about how to shorten this process for developers who do not want or need the fine detail inherent in the process.
Let's drop the concept of separate skills entirely, and make Professions functionally equal to Skills. In effect, professions become broadly defined skills, like Risus cliches. A Soldier can do any Soldier thing, and a Lawyer can do Lawyer things. Skill Rank can equal Professional Rank. The rate of professional rank acquisition is up to the developer, but a StarCluster 3 standard 35% promotion rate translates to 3.5 promotions after 10 years, so that would round up to 4 promotions, or one rank every 2 years, when the base +1 is figured in. one can roll for rank acquisition, or you can assume it, or you can allocate points, whatever the developer prefers.
As for education, figure a Bachelors worth +2, Masters +3, and PhD worth +5 in the subject studied. Background skills should be treated as Edges - Hardscrabble Farmer, or Pampered Rich Kid - and be worth 1. I think this scheme would be easy to set up, simple to use, and be very much in the Pulp/Comic spirit.
One doesn't have to define or even list these Professions. People know what modern professions entail, and can supply them ad hoc if needed. A few examples will suffice in this case. Otherwise, a listing like the ones in the StarCluster 3 book - without the skills - would suffice for settings with professions that need detailing.