Jack of all Trades

I find it odd that people would only specialise in 1 of these things… in most jobs I’ve been in, there are loads of people who do front and back end. I consider myself pretty proficient in HTML, CSS, PHP, MySQL, with a bit of JS thrown in for good measure (something I really need to brush up on!).

I see there being more of a distinction between a graphic designer and a developer.

I agree with this.

Generally speaking I don’t believe most people advertising positions understand the ideal candidate and what makes a dev team the most productive.

I agree with the 37 signals team that you get the best out of a team if there is a distinction between the front-end / back-end developers and have a ‘sweeper’ that can work in both worlds.

It’s very common for teams to be heavilly lop sided and this comes through in their position descriptions.

My advice would be to find out what role you want to fill, what you enjoy doing most, what you are passionate about - and then try and find a place which values that role. You could also sell this more specialised role to a company in a interview when they are asking for a jack-of-all-trades.

I suppose I should expand on my comment instead of just posting an agreement. Backend coders have a really bad name in the standards community. Mostly for turning out outmoded markup (tables based layout, et al).

If you don’t at least have a basic understanding of semantic markup and separating markup, styling and behavior then you’re most likely turning out invalid and possibly incompatible web sites.

I suppose as long as you have a dedicated front end coder that you will at least listen to when he complains that your output didn’t pass the Validator then you’re a step ahead of the guys that won’t remove a <font> tag and put a class attribute in instead.

I do agree with specializing between designer and coder but not as much between front-end and back-end.

I don’t perceive knowing server and front side technologies as being a jack of trades. All the technologies are so closely interlinked it really is critical to have a decent understanding of the front-end scripting in combination with server side programming to build web sites and applications. As a web developer its rare to just work with only server side language since the server and client side code go hand and hand.

I’ve been recently noticing alot of jobs are looking everything under the sun
SQL Programming
Graphic Design (Adobe Photoshop, Illustrator, InDesign)
Wordpress, joomla
must be proficient in OOP
JavaScript / Ajax / JQuery

At first i was skipping the jobs the second they mention .Net now i’m realizing these people have no clue what the hell they’re typing into these job postings nor know what they want in a person they’re trying to hire.

i can def tell you a Really good programmer isn’t going to know photoshop or even touched it. and a really good designer isn’t going to want to touch PHP …

Depends on the .net job.
If your making websites, or working with something has anything to do with websites, then there is no way around it, you need to know HTML/CSS/JS/etc.

And since you want to work with Silverlight and ASP, then your working on websites, so 100% sure you need to know HTML/CSS/JS/etc… might not have to be an expert it them (it helps), but if you have no clue about HTML you have no business touching anything that gets displayed in a browser window…

And knowing all those, does not make you a jack of all trades, since they all fall in the same category.
Jack of all trades is when your working with those, and your also doing some graphics in 3D, server setups and so on.

I agree with this too, especially since they are becoming more inter twined. The introduction of EF/Linq for example has in so many ways brought what used to be typical backend into some sorta middle tier, so yeah, i dont think its jack of all trades.

My office used to post openings like this, asking for the moon, and we’d get people who either knew some of the requirements and not the rest, or people who knew some of the requirements and pretended they knew the rest.

I got to review our last opening, and I re-wrote it in a more realistic manner, and we got a really good person who was very proficient in exactly what we needed, and the position was filled much more quickly than the “fantasy openings” we used to post.

I think if you post openings looking for *, then a lot of good people won’t even bother to apply. Heck, some of them might assume the people doing the hiring don’t even really know what they’re looking for, and in many cases they might be right.

If your making websites, or working with something has anything to do with websites, then there is no way around it, you need to know HTML/CSS/JS/etc.

Yeah, I should have worded that better. I want to master .NET, and put everything else on the side for relevance and practice. But I will defiantly be going full-speed on the client-side in my free-time.

Just trying to decide on wither to wait for HTML5 and CSS3 or use the current XHTML and CSS 2.1? Trying to future-proof, but the evolution of both of them would warrant a decision. Especially the radical changes with CSS.



Anyways, I decided after ALL of the great posts I am going to focus most of my time learning , not mastering, .NET and related features, while in my free-time learn as much as possible on the client-side: HTML/CSS/JS, while knowing deep down I will be average at best.

I think you’ll be able to learn enough about the front-end to keep yourself out of trouble, but then even if it’s your free time, build stuff in it.
I’d recommend Ian Lloyd’s book Build Your Own Web Site the Right Way Using HTML and CSS to get started (you can ignore that he uses XHTML and choose your favourite Strict doctype). When you’re familiar with the validator, you’ll know to always check your output for serious errors, and if you have trouble fixing them, there’s always SitePoint forums.

I would think someone who needed a .NET developer would want… an excellent .NET developer first and foremost. Not being most excellent and bodacious in all the stuff asked for is more tolerable if you are very good at the core thing they need.

That and you want employers to know the difference between when they need someone who knows a little about everything for a given situation, and when for example they really need a goof PHP programmer, with knowledge in other things as a pré.

My two cents: master of all != knowledgable in all.

I’m not great with advanced css or javascript, but I know enough to talk about it or work through code. I know basic T-SQL, but never bothered learning things like cursors. But again, I know enough to talk about it.

I think what these people are asking for is along the lines of: Reach for the stars to get the moon. When all they wanted was the moon to start with.