Incredibly specialized techies around the world are becoming more and more frustrated at the massive amounts of job ads looking for jack-of-all-trades. As more technologies crop up and jobs are fused together, being a jack-of-all-trades is suddenly an incredibly asset in the IT industry. But if you’ve never been one before, how do you start? Try these six easy steps!
1. Complementary Skills: The best way to begin your jack-of-all-trades journey is to focus in on a few new skills to learn. To create the most value in your career, you should start by learning skills that are complementary to the ones you already know. Write down the skills you already have and the skills you’re interested in learning in two separate columns. Then, connect each skill you already have to complementary skills you’re interested in. Whichever few skills have the most connecting lines should be your first priorities!
2. Meet Up With Fellow Skill Builders: Whether it’s your existing professional network, your coworkers, your friends, or simply a meet up group, there are techies all around you with varied skill sets. Find one who can teach you a skill you’re dying to know in exchange for lessons from you on one of your areas of expertise. This skill exchange is a great way to learn on the cheap and strengthen your professional network at the same time!
3. Dig A Little Deeper: Maybe the reason you’re looking to become a jack-of-all-trades is because you’re after a certain promotion at work or a job opening outside of work that you’re currently unqualified for. If you know what your career ambitions are, focusing your drive to become a jack-of-all-trades on those specific skillsets could help you! For example, if you’re itching to get into a leadership role, you’ll need to hone your communication skills along with your various technical skills. Don’t forget that jack-of-all-trades have skill sets that reach beyond the confines of learning a few new technologies, you have to strengthen your other skill sets too!
4. Side Projects: When you’re busy learning various new skills you’ll want to put them to good use! After all, one of the best ways to learn is to get real world experience using the technologies and other skills you’re studying. Making time for passion projects on the side is essential to the jack-of-all-trades lifestyle.
5. Incentives, Incentives, Incentives: Sometimes you’re having a hard day and the possibility of career advancement down the road isn’t exciting enough to propel you forward on your jack-of-all-trades path. That’s okay! In these times of minimal motivation, look to incentives to carry you through. If all you want to do is sit down and rewatch all of Game of Thrones rather than working on your side project, put in an hour of work on your side project in exchange for one episode. Rather than depriving yourself completely of your other hobbies, your jack-of-all-trades mission should use these less productive but fun activities as part of your incentive to keep you moving forward!
6. Watch Out for Burn Out: Sometimes when you’re extremely motivated by the career advancement opportunities you know being a jack-of-all-trades will bring, you’ll push yourself too far. Between your full time job, your side projects, and your attempts to have a fun and fulfilling social life, cracks can start to appear. Burn out happens to a lot of technical professionals but jack-of-all-trades are especially susceptible to this phenomenon. Why? Because it’s easy to get wrapped up in 6 or 7 side projects and lose track of the last time you took a break or a vacation. Don’t let this happen to you! Schedule in free time, remember to use fun activities as incentives, and don’t be afraid to take a break every now and then. Jack-of-all-trades weren’t built in a day!
You may be incredibly specialized now and frustrated at your lack of growth opportunities but, never fear, these 6 easy steps will propel you to jack-of-all-trades status in no time! Start picking the skills you want to learn today and, before you know it, you’ll be the perfect person to apply for all of those jack-of-all-trades positions