Feb 16, 2012

Does it make sense to be a jack of multiple trades in IT, or does it show that you are master of none?


I am a big fan of your articles on itworld. They are both insightful and entertaining.Great job, keep it up.

Here is my question:

Short: Does it make sense to be a jack of all(or multiple) trades in IT? Does it show that you are master of none?

Long: I have around 9 years of IT experience with big corporations like IBM, Travelport etc. Over the years I have worked in large scale leagcy mainframe projects and has acquired strong application development expertise in Cobol, DB2, CICS etc.

I have also done a fair bit of project management and is a certified PMP. I have got knowledge on Prince2(not certified) as well.

Additionally, I am strong on database side and is acquiring IBM DB2 DBA certification.

The question thats nagging me is how do I position myself in the job industry. Do I try and get a PM position? Or shall I try and become a DBA? The third option is to be a technical expert on mainframe either on development side or system administration side.

What do you think?

I think it definitely helps to have a core group of skill sets that will appeal to a company. Specializing can give you significant value in the IT job market.

However, it's also a good idea to have ancillary skill sets and a flexible mind set that allows you to do other things. You want current or prospective employers to know that you can go beyond your speciality and do other things for them when the need arises.

Always be willing to learn and add new skills to your existing core skill sets. That will give you additional value, and it may help you if it looks like demand for your core skills is subsiding. Additional skills may also help you make the leap to a better job.

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