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New Post 4/3/2011 10:35 AM
User is offline NitWitNick
259 posts
5th Level Poster

Modified By NitWitNick  on 4/3/2011 12:47:45 PM)

We have all heard the term "Jack-Of-All-Trades" and "Master-Of-None"….when in actuality a person may be a "Jack-Of-All-Trades" and "Master-Of-All”.


Long ago, they used to have specific people for specific tasks: Operations, JCL Specialists, Tape Librarians, Programmers, Senior Programmers, Programmer Analysts, Senior Programmer Analysts, Data Base Administrator…etc. and they eventually merged into single positions. It is not uncommon for me to go somewhere and Analyze a problem, write some new program that requires a new database table or key….and then go create a table or some index or view…create the JCL/CLP to run the program, set it up in the scheduler, train the users...etc….then back everything up to tape….total project ownership from start to finish.


In today's economy…during the last few contracts, interviews and talking to some consultant friends around the country, we have seen a trend where the employer wants someone who can do a combination of positions....Like PM and BSA…several even wanted someone who can take projects independently from concept through deployment and training…I guess they don’t want to pay for multiple people to do specific stuff….they wanted someone who could jump into any phase of the SDLC (or what every they were using) and continue on.


OK, no problem, I done this stuff for over 25 years and sometimes when projects ran into a bump and it needed to get back on track, I’ve changed my Hat from a PM to BSA, Coder, Facilitator, Trainer, wrote developer work packages, etc. …whatever role I needed to play to get things done. So, I am basically a project “Jack-Of-All-Trades” but also a Specialist in what role I’m playing at any given time.


I’d like to market myself as that “Jack-Of-All-Trades / Specialist” without limiting myself or having a long resume title as “PM / BSA / Developer / QA / Implementer / Trainer…What Have You”.


If I put “PM / BSA” I get questioned if I can do Coding or DBA stuff…because there are many PM’s out there without a Technical Background. How about writing QA scripts, Configuration Management, Technical Writing.


Also, I don’t want to put a generic Boiler Plate list of stuff on my resume that just about everyone has…and no one reads because it is so common to an attempt to cover multiple bases


Now, I’ve asked this a while back, but I’ll ask it again now. Are there any new, emerging or fancy titles out there to handle these combined “Jack-Of-All-Trade / Specialist” positions ???


Oh, and that "Jack-Of-All-Trades" pays off...especially when your PM Contract ends but you can slide into a Developer position on another project....then move into a BA Role somewhere are still working while the others are gone.





New Post 4/4/2011 12:44 AM
User is offline KJ
243 posts
6th Level Poster

Re: Jack-Of-All-Trades 


I guess if you work for a small organization today, you’d do most of the things you did in your JCL/DBA/Programmer/Application support/Network Guru/BSA/PM days. You also entered the market when the industry was pretty young; and therefore you specialised in everything, because it was proprietary. Remember the BUNCH (Burroughs, Univac, NCR and Honeywell) and IBM.
I’m always surprised when I hear young university graduates say “I like testing; but I do not like programming”. They’ll change jobs to avoid programming, yet it’s a great opportunity to multi-skill and to become a “jack-of-all-trades”. Handy, an Organizational Behaviour Guru, once said that the next generation will have many different careers (up to 10). It is therefore not in their best interest to become a jack of all trades, because s/he is going to move on anyway!
The market cannot believe that a Jack-of-all-trade specialist exists, and it creates a credibility vacuum. Now next time when you approach your 30-something project manager, who knows “everything”, its best not to market yourself as a “jack-of-all-trades”, rather market yourself as a specialist DBA, or Specialist Java programmer, Specialist Business Analyst etc. Have 6-7 CVs, each accentuating your virtues and specialist skills.
So, unlike the Vaudeville Song and Dance men of yesteryear, Nick, you’re not an endangered species because you can do most gigs, which gives you enormous flexibility in choosing jobs that are interesting and enjoyable! As a "serial contractor" when my contract finishes, I just morph into another role and continue the gig.
All the best mate!
Warm regards,
New Post 4/8/2011 2:50 PM
User is offline NitWitNick
259 posts
5th Level Poster

Re: Jack-Of-All-Trades 

"As a "serial contractor" when my contract finishes, I just morph into another role and continue the gig."

Yes, I had a couple contracts that lasted almost 4 years by changing roles.

Anyway, I've seen "Generalist" being they call someone an "HR Generalist"

I also saw an ad like this: "Looking for a Database Administrator / Developer, Project Manager, and Application Developer a true "Jack of All Trades" in a wide variety of business applications".


I guess you might be right though....taylor your resume as a specialist to get your foot in the door, then expand your role once inside.


New Post 6/2/2011 10:33 AM
User is offline NitWitNick
259 posts
5th Level Poster

Re: Jack-Of-All-Trades 

Well....Maybe instead of "Jack-Of-All-Trades", I'll use "Diversified Specialist"....that should be like a Master "Jack-Of-All-Trades", with a touch of specialization.


I really don't care what they call me....just as long as I can cash the check.



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