My company asks me to do a wide variety of things, across multiple applications and multiple skill sets. For example, they will ask me to do customer support, technical support, design and art assets, business analysis, and programming between three separate applications in three different languages and full stack. I often have to switch between multiple of these and multi-task. A jack of all trades, really.

I feel like there is simply no way for me to efficiently concentrate on something. I will have three different responsibilities all listed as "urgent" in completely separate fields that can't be managed concurrently. On top of that, I've heard management say they would like it if I would be more involved in the business side and product management.

I really just want to stick to the part I am good at and what I was hired for: programming. How can I convince management that they are understaffed and should hire someone for the business analysis, technical support, and design separately?

  • Probably a duplicate. Is there actually enough work to justify hiring 3 separate people full-time? You sound busy but not overworked with your main concern being that you only want to program. If you're working in a small company where IT is in a supporting role having multiple hats is perfectly normal and something that you really should have anticipated (or have been told about).
    – Lilienthal
    Jun 24 '16 at 14:07
  • ^ I was hired as a programmer, though. My job description doesn't say anything about design, business, customer service, etc.
    – Crow
    Jun 24 '16 at 14:49
  • Your job description is just a suggestion, not a concrete rule set. Especially if you are working for a small to mid-size company with limited financial resources. To work on and only work on the area which your job description says, you need to work for a fortune 500 company with a strict division of jobs and responsibilities. Otherwise it will happen again and again.
    – MelBurslan
    Jun 24 '16 at 15:03

Run a thorough code analysis on the code base. I'm willing to bet it has a lack luster maintainability index. What they don't see is that you will not be able to continue this forever, because you're forced to cut corners in order to keep up with the workload. Show them this analysis and how the technical debt is going to eventually eat them alive.

If it helps, point out that 80% of the cost of software is on maintenance, not original cost of development.

Once you've done this, the company has 3 choices.

  1. Ignore the writing on the wall. (In which case you start looking for employment somewhere else immediately and without hesitation.)
  2. Replace any custom built solutions with out of the box software that entire companies have spent collective lifetimes perfecting. They've done it better than you ever could, not because you're a bad programmer, but because they specialize in it.
  3. Bring in the help you need in order to properly support the software.

Put the hard numbers in front of their faces. If they ignore it, that's their problem, not yours. It's unfortunate, but many companies don't have a clue that they're in the software business. (And every company is in the software business these days.)


The only way you will get help is if you don't get things done. There is no reason to hire another person if everything is currently getting done. 90% of companies will burn you out before they add on more salary.

So either you are doing too many things and just don't like that - and that is either having conversation with boss or looking for another job. Or you just have too much to do and are hurrying through everything.

The fact that you are good at a lot of things - compared to their other staff - I probably would not have that conversation with your manager. As some non-tech managers freak out and think a techie is becoming hostile when topics like this are brought up. The manager is like well I have to have meetings for 4 different projects it is the same thing.

So it really comes down to the hours you are working. If it is 40 or within range for your job - you shut up and do job or find another. If it is a lot more you let your manager know you are getting burned out and have been working too much (not on too many different things). Ask your manager to prioritize. Then simply don't do things that are down on the list. There will be some hostile attitudes to push you to do these things, push these attitudes to your manager and make him have those conversations.

I have been in your situation a number of times. Either management trusts you and wants more output so gives you help or they don't have any idea what they have or want and burn you out. The bad manager will go behind your back and sign a vendor contract to take duties away from you.. and within three months you are doing more work to fix vendor issues than if you did it yourself from start.


Firstly take a look at your workload. Do they actually have enough current and ongoing programming work to keep you occupied full time, or even close to it? If the answer to that is 'Yes' then:-

Take your concerns up with management, and keep doing so. Eventually one of two things will happen.

They hire someone else to help you.

They hire someone else to learn your job and replace you.

If they don't and you just want to do programming, you're probably in the wrong job.

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