I'm late to this conversation, and I don't have the time to go through everybody's responses. But I did notice, Teague, that you were talking about how you've put off learning to use NUKE. I'm kind of in the same boat. NUKE and I are that couple that's never an item, just hooks up when I'm in town and then doesn't talk until the next time.
I've "known how to use NUKE" for years. Since v05 I think. Or early 6. I took me a long time to get used to the node-based workflow, but once I did it clicked. The problem with NUKE is that, while it's more efficient for larger projects, it's also more complicated and needs to be diligently managed. There's a lot of knobs and levers, and since you're, quite literally, building a python script, everything is manual. And with so much going on in even a simple comp, I find that it only takes one node to be piped in a bit wrong for everything to go kaput, then you spend an hour or more just trying to figure out why your comp is broken.
There's a simple remedy for this issue. It's called "Use it all the damn time". But I never really have a justification to use NUKE all the damn time. So I'll pull it off the shelf for a project and dust it off every now and again, then curse wildly as I'm trying to remember where the premult is supposed to go in the pipeline. I'll get my project done, put it back on the shelf, and wonder why I didn't just use AE.
I'll admit that, once you learn the NUKE interface, things that you once needed to find a clever workaround for in AE due to its limited features now became very straightforward and easy. The NukeX cameratracker is great. Even their 2D tracker leaves AE's in the dust.
I never mastered chromakey in Nuke because there's about 50 different ways to do it, but I've gotten better results faster using the IBK keyer.
Bottom line, I have a lot of friends who struggled with NUKE, then got jobs at Encore VFX or someplace similar where they were forced to use it all day every day and became experts inside of a month.