I’d like to consider myself a well rounded person. I have a plethora of programming languages and web technologies in my daily arsenal that I pull from. In fact, if I gave you my resume the second page is just a list of skill sets, which I think is pretty common these days. One thing you will notice about my skill set is that none of them list that I am an expert. I range from intermediate to advanced, but not yet an expert.
Some time ago a dev buddy of mine, in jest, told me that I was a Jill of all trades, and a Master at nothing. I had never really quite thought of myself in that light and wasn’t quite sure if I should take offense to the comment. This conversation recently, re-entered my mind when I found myself under tremendous self-pressure to learn the next hottest thing, the next big web dev or programming trend. I immediately went out and purchased books on various development languages and made a list of all the things I need to learn, and learn fast, in order to keep my skill set sharp and up to date. Once I looked at this list, I felt overwhelmed. A slight panic came over me and I asked myself “When am I going to have the time to learn and gain a sufficient experience in these new tools, amidst my duties as a budding entrepreneur, President of a Sorority Chapter, Division CEO of a start up company (not my own), contract work, and a host of affiliations in other associations and organizations, family obligations, etc.?? Better yet, how am I going to learn the new things and keep sharp with whats already established in my skill set ? I still haven’t figured an answer to my question.
What it does lead me to question, is it better to be a Master of a few skill sets? or Intermediate to advanced on a wide range of skill sets that you can tap into when necessary? My personality and habits suggest that I’m better at being Jill. I get bored very easily and I don’t like to be pigeon hold into one area. I once read an article in .net magazine that said the days of the Gurus and Rock stars are over…true? (I don’t wanna be a Guru or Rockstar anyway cause I’m a WEB DIVA)
If you look into your repertoire are you a Jack or Jill? Or do you prefer being a Guru/Rock star?
I personally feel that its better to be the Jack or Jill. To me it shows that you area well rounded, unafraid to branch out into new mediums, learn fairly quickly, can wear many hats within in a team if needed, and make it appoint to stay abreast of all emerging technology. Not to mention that you can apply for a front-end dev job or a back-end dev job.
So bottom line, my post today is to ask the question, is it really necessary to master one thing when you can have a good handle on everything?