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I'm working for a company in their R&D department. Its not particularly R&D but we have to work on product as per requirements from the partners.

My work is related to integration of security features into the product. But this is not the only work I do. Just to give an idea of work I've done or working on: (I'm writing it so that the problem is clearer)

  1. Security Feature:
    • C programming, bash, Powershell, Linux Server Security, Windows Server Security, TPM
    • Writing Product Specification, Team Engagement etc.
  2. Web-Devlopment:
    • Php, JavaScript, Web-Framework (Laravel), HTML, CSS, Web-Services
    • Writing Product Specification, Team Engagement, Partner Engagement.
  3. DevOps
    • Internal SDLC improvement, Jenkins, Groovy, Ant, Maven etc.
    • Help or teach others colleague about new processes.

I've achieved results in all of the above projects and the partners are seeing the differences.

But with time I have gotten to know that I actually know nothing or in other words I'm expert at nothing. Searching a job is getting difficult for me as I do not know where I fit. It is like if any task is given to me and provided adequate time I can do it (of-course not like some space-science). I cannot say this in interviews and this does not define my career as I need to be more specific related to technology I'm working with. Also, companies need specific skills to develop things quickly (that's what I think).

I'm confused how should I go with my career concerning above tasks I've worked on. I'm slowly loosing my confidence because of this.

I want to leave the company because of being under-paid. Also, management is very unskilled and putting an effort to explain them everything is exhausting me.

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  • "Multi-specialist" is a possible euphemism to sell this experience. There will definitely be places who appreciate it, but your concern is understandable. It would put you on a path biased to small companies - IMO actually very interesting and rewarding if you are curious and adventurous, but usually not going to be the best pay. But you seem to get this, so what exactly is your question?
    – Pete W
    May 27, 2021 at 22:25
  • In which technology stack should I focus Security, Web-Dev, Dev-Ops or Solution Architect? Also, I'm actually interested in working on adventurous task so small companies is not a problem as long as pay is at least up-to acceptable mark. So again another question, should I focus on such companies or develop some specific skills first?
    – KaFeature
    May 27, 2021 at 22:40
  • I can't answer that for you. Maybe start making work decisions with an eye on your next move -- if you're overloaded and doing many things, it usually means that you have some ability to choose where to focus and where to do the minimum (while respecting your obligations to your employer, naturally). So choose whatever builds your CV in the direction you want, whatever puts you in contact with people who can be references. Get out and talk to people, start looking, even if you don't expect to find it right away.
    – Pete W
    May 27, 2021 at 22:46
  • 1
    You've made it clear you use many tools/languages, but do you use them for a specific niche purpose? Is the C, webdev and DevOps in aid of a common purpose or is it unrelated?
    – Nathan
    May 27, 2021 at 23:38
  • C for application dev, Web-Dev for web application and DevOps to improve our Build Infra basically overall Build and release flow.
    – KaFeature
    May 28, 2021 at 0:05

4 Answers 4

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Searching a job is getting difficult for me as I do not know where I fit.

Create different resumes for each type of role

A resume is a marketing document. It does not need to be comprehensive, balanced to how you spent your time, or really anything beyond factual in some way. So if you apply for a Devops job, use Devops bullet points. If you apply for a security job, use security bullet points.

Then start applying and see what you get.

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  • I think this is what I can target as of now. Different resumes and giving interviews and check my skills as per results. Thanks!
    – KaFeature
    May 28, 2021 at 0:26
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You seems to be a problemsolver with a broad skillset. I have by purpose ensured I have aquiered a broad skillset as a career move, don’t sell yourself short. I am currently working as a software architect and team lead for 10 people. So don’t be afraid of not being specialised, use it as a career tool and seek more senior positions.

Also, when I am advicing on requitment I will recomend broader candidates more highly.

I work in a consultancy firm, for us it is much easier to employ a broad person as that will allow use to be more flexible on which assignments we assign them.

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The specific competences you have listed may indeed be challenging to take substantial advantage of in the same context, in the same role in a workplace. I think, to some extent, you had expended energies in a fashion of competing with yourself.

Nevertheless, I believe, the answer addressing situations comparable to yours could be introducing the concept of the "person with T-shaped skills".

The metaphor is that the top, horizontal line of the T represents your broad, interdisciplinary knowledge, while the vertical line represents a topic in which you have amassed a deeper level of competence.

The question is not any more about specialists vs generalists; rather, it's about people who manage to blend the two successfully.

Being effective in a broad range of subjects may be very welcome; but you need to find the right environment that benefits from it most, thus, appreciates it.

A quote from the above linked Wikipedia article:

The term T-shaped skills is also common in the agile software development world and refers to the need for cross-skilled developers and testers in an agile team, e.g. a scrum team.

That points at smaller teams, perhaps even in companies that have not grown large enough yet to create departments for all the involved disciplines.

With that said, you still need to pick out one of the disciplines (tech) that you are most interested in, and / or where you see the quickest chance to build up a level of expertise that could come close to match the one of specialists'; and then you need to work towards getting on that level.

Perhaps that goal is not even too far.

That will make things easier.

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under-paid

Leave and get a new job.

management is very unskilled / etc ...

Almost every "first job" is rubbish. There are endless questions about it on here. "My first job is rubbish, what should I do?" Take the money, work hard, and get your second job.

(The "mix" of things you have to do is totally unremarkable and normal.)

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  • Leaving this company is definitely my target. And working hard is something I'm willing to do. But in what direction? I know the mix of things I've mentioned is actually normal and many people around the industries does that but how do they manage at some point of time where they need to decide what will be their expertise or at-least role?
    – KaFeature
    May 28, 2021 at 0:24
  • ? software changes completely, at the slowest, every 2-3 years. No programmer works on the same thing for more than 6 months or so. You are constantly changing and learning. Enjoy your "first job", it sounds great. try to get a raise. You are doing some non-programming stuff (support, CI etc) but - that's fine, you have to know that too. Work hard to secure your next job (give it a 6 month time scale to do so) and then go from there. Enjoy
    – Fattie
    May 28, 2021 at 11:05

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