Subject: A jack of all trades (and master of none), in a technology company (for this question) would be somebody who is familiar with most relevant technologies and keeps up to date with them without being the best expert around.

Question: in a technology company (IT, software, biotech), what are the career paths for a "jack of all trades"? I am talking about traditional job roles where this background is a competitive advantage.

Another way of phrasing it is: are there career paths where being a jack of all trades is desirable?

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    Career paths are specialisation if you want to rise, jack of all trades tend to end up with the grunt work in a tech company. In a smaller non tech company they're great assets.
    – Kilisi
    Sep 18, 2017 at 23:22

4 Answers 4


Many rewarding paths.

Still, hard paths requiring creativity and ability to sell yourself, not just the working-harder-than-the-guy-next-desk-and-get-promotion kind of path. And yes in the long run, the more you find your niche the more likely you`ll look like the already mentioned T-shape employee, nothing bad about that tho.

Entrepreneur: This was my first job (somehow, I started off with a startup and with some luck there was a good idea behind it) your skillset must include (or probably have its focus on...) business stuff, but being able to envision a solution to a problem, put together a team able to make it real and sell it to companies in need is a satisfactions like few others.

Consultant: The company calls you with a problem, you understand the problem in its various ramification and elaborate a solution. The company provides you the resource you asked to solve the problem and you fix it. This was my previous job, requires mainly ability to persuade, to compromise and to be realistic and not idealistic in regards to technology.

System Integrator: mainly in a company, this is what I do now. You are the one that decides how the new production machine is going to communicate with the old-proprietary database your company is using and also builds the proposed solution. You`ll also be asked to envision a way to improve quality control but from times to times you'll change the office printer cartridge or fix the kettle.

Technologist: TBH, I know only one. A former college professor that seems to see the future of semiconductors, is paid around a million a year to travel the world at his will and tell them what the next hot thing is going to be. A job for very experienced and absolutely our of the ordinary people. Maybe one day....


Grow expertise in one area and become a T-shaped person.

You can read about it in the Valve Software's HANDBOOK FOR NEW EMPLOYEES available here.

Here's a picture from this handbook: Valve's T-Shaped person

You can also check out https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/T-shaped_skills

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    Thanks for linking that handbook, I didn't know that even existed. It's a really interesting read, and as a software developer I found it fascinating. Nice one.
    – JoeTomks
    Sep 19, 2017 at 8:27

are there career paths where being a jack of all trades is desirable?

Most definitely! There are lots of career paths where someone can climb the corporate ladder by being a "generalist". One I can think of is HR. However, in a tech environment, there is also a career path. This known as being a "full-stack" developer. This means you know a little bit of everything. Full stack developers have an opportunity to be on the business side because they often times have to understand the business needs for an application - not the just technical.


I would be extremely skeptical of someone who claimed to be a "Jack of all trades" in technology. There are very few people who are even qualified full-stack developers. Are you saying you know a little bit of every computer language I can name? Are you a competent front-end developer? How's your SQL? What about Dev Ops? Can you write a good bash script and spin up some Docker containers with it so we can have a simplified development environment setup for the rest of the team? How's your crypography and ML? Of course all trades would include hardware I suppose, how are your soldiering skills?

Also, if you're not good at any of those things, then why should I hire you? A mediocre developer might introduce more bugs than they fix. They might create a security nightmare for me.

A "jack of all trades/master of none" probably doesn't know much about the field to begin with. They probably don't even know the entire breath of it. I would assume that someone who describes themselves that way would be very niaeve.