Hello one and all! I'm looking for some suggestions in picking a path as I begin my self-education in web design.

I've been working in graphic design and print over the last 15 years. I've worked in various print shops and until recently where I've worked at a news paper doing page layout and display advertising over the last 5 years.

Over the last couple years I've worked with a few people to create some very simple static sites and set up a wordpress site or two; nothing too spectacular.
The experience I had setting up the Wordpress site was a good learning experience and I would like to use it again in the future but I don't think that I want to simply jump into wordpress and call myself a web designer.

I've read a few books about CSS. Bulletproof CSS Design, CSS Mastery, and countless online how-to's etc. there is still a lot to commit to memory (if it's possible). Dabbling in Javascript introduced me to the DOM and I feel like I've started to hit a sweet spot. I love the interactivity that JQuery brings, and I love data architecture (the way website verbage is organized and accessed); this comes from the years doing page layout for the newspaper I think. And, well, I'm a typography nut.

Proficient CSS or Javascript are each a trade in themselves. I hope that I can continue to learn more about each language and element that makes up a standard website without considered being a hack that's stuck in the past becuase I don't use a CMS (yet). But at the same time I feel like I'm making a mountain out of a mole hill.

From what I've gathered a manditory skillset for any "frontend" webdev is html, css, and javascript or jquery. But at the same time it seems that more and more people are skipping straight to a CMS and calling it a day.

What say you?

Spend the time and refine and educate myself or jump in with a CMS and join the rat-race?