Astrophotography is a relatively new endeavor for me, primarily influenced by my experience photographing the Northern Lights in early 2016. During that first year I learned the basics; such as how to properly focus, computing maximum shutter speeds for different lenses, post-processing methods for ending up with a final image of acceptable quality, etc.
Since then my goals have obviously expanded to take pictures of not only higher technical quality, but to also strive for good and unique compositions. I image stack all of astrophotography shots, typically strive to take non-sky foreground shots at blue hour or with long exposure times using a low ISO setting, and whenever possible include creative sources of light to enhance the composition. In turn, these practices require more advanced post-processing capabilities, including star alignments, image stacking/averaging, image blending, precision masking, etc.
The most common question I am asked is "were the stars and milky way really that bright?". My answer is of course no, but point out what they are seeing is 100% real, it's just that the modern camera sensor is far superior to viewing dark skies as compared to the human eye.