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A little about me, I did a degree in Applied Computing which covered a fair few areas of computing/development. I enjoyed web dev the most so focused on this post university.

I landed my first job and have worked my way up at the company for 5 years, getting rewarded for my progress along the way.

All sounds rosy right? Well, after spending a few months trying to get a new job I suddenly feel really disheartened and inadequate. My current job specialises in making fairly simple bespoke WordPress sites. Although I've had tonnes of experience with PHP, Sass, jQuery, a little JS and HTML5 I feel like I've missed out on what I call 'real' development. The nitty and gritty stuff that requires a proper understanding of the flow of code e.g. OOP PHP, writing JS from sratch.

Being a jack of all trades currently, I feel very average at most things, master of none. As a result I was looking into trying to focus on Front End Development. I found a document named the Front End Handbook 2017 which is an excellent resource. However, this has really added to my worries. There's a section that says for interviews you should have an understanding of the following as a minimum:

  • Execution context, especially lexical scope and closures.
  • Hoisting, function & block scoping and function expressions & declarations.
  • Binding – specifically call, bind, apply and lexical this.
  • Object prototypes, constructors and mixins.
  • Composition and high order functions.
  • Event delegation and bubbling.
  • Type Coercion using typeof, instanceof and Object.prototype.toString.
  • Handling asynchronous calls with callbacks, promises, await and async.
  • When to use function declarations and expressions.

As you can probably guess by now, these are all very new and confusing concepts to me. I don't really know what and why most of them even exist or when to use them.

Basically I'm trying to work out the best way forward. Is trying to focus on something like front end development a good idea? Or should I keep focusing on more general roles but try desperately to build on my theory and code as much as possible away from work on more demanding projects?

Has anyone been through a similar experience? Any advice on how to get out of the rut?

Any advice appreciated,

Many thanks!

closed as off-topic by Philip Kendall, David K, Dukeling, Chris E, Myles Jan 9 '18 at 21:02

This question appears to be off-topic. The users who voted to close gave this specific reason:

  • "Questions asking for advice on a specific choice, such as what job to take or what skills to learn, are difficult to answer objectively and are rarely useful for anyone else. Instead of asking which decision to make, try asking how to make the decision, or for more specific details about one element of the decision. (More information)" – Philip Kendall, David K, Dukeling, Chris E, Myles
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Let me answer your question, but at the same time ask you a question, beyond this one ok?

  1. Do you enjoy being a jack of all trades, in other words, if you go home, and just code the way you want to, do you still find it fun?

If the answer is no, then you need to find a specialization. If yes, perhaps what you need to do is look at just doing some stuff you miss doing at home? Or have you thought about actually going to your boss and asking if there is a way to utilize your skills without sacrificing elsewhere?

Here is the problem, and I know your pain, I have been in the proverbial rut as well, being a jack of all trades means you aren't good at one thing, but somewhat good at a lot of things. Perhaps they are trying to gear you towards a specialization to make you useful to the company?

I am not sure exactly, but I would like to think that they just don't throw bodies at a problem and expect it to be finished by the last body they throw at it.

If you are questioning the direction you are going in, perhaps it's time to look at what you should you specialize in? I can only suggest that if you do look around, don't commit entirely to it, but read upon it, and find out what part of it makes you want to say "I can do that and have fun!"

I started out as a computer tech, I was also an excel expert utilizing MS VBA, I was also a bootstrapper, a Network Admin, a web designer, and a hobby programmer.

I was not good at one given thing...

After 20+ years of floundering, I landed a job as a Director of Infrastructure/IT. I decided to go in a direction and find my way to where I am now. (also went back to college too)

My only suggestion is whatever you choose to do, make sure it's something you can see yourself doing for a while. You don't want to jump from idea to idea, or specialty to specialty unless you can find a way to incorporate them all into one job.

Best of luck to you.

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