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  • #2265753

    Would you accept an IT job as “Jack Of All trades” or run from it?


    by why me worry?? ·

    I seem to see a very disturbing trend among many of the positions being posted on job search engines as well as those being emailed to me by recruiters. Companies want a network admin, a DBA, a developer, a Cisco engineer, and a security specialist all combined in one. Yes, there may be folks out there that possess all of these skills, but for the salary being offered for this position, the naive hiring manager of the company will be searching for quite a long time to fill the position. What happened to the good old days where developers were developers, DBAs’ were DBAs’, and server engineers were server engineers? If the company needs all these skills, then perhaps they should create multiple positions to fill these roles instead of trying to squeeze every imaginable technology into one role and expect to find a candidate that matches the descrition or will work themselves to death for such a small salary. Do corporations and their idiots in HR need a refresher course in the differences among various fields of IT? I think so.

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    • #2579231

      one mans peanuts are another mans cashews…

      by c4mpbell ·

      In reply to Would you accept an IT job as “Jack Of All trades” or run from it?

      can you quantify “small salary” ?

      • #2579229

        In a market like that of NYC, $75K a year for this madness

        by why me worry?? ·

        In reply to one mans peanuts are another mans cashews…

        Offering $75K for this position is robbery if you ask me. Too many responsibilities for too little money. This position should pay at least $140K a year if not more.

        • #2578097

          What’s it worth?

          by michael.l.noe ·

          In reply to In a market like that of NYC, $75K a year for this madness

          What would a position like this be worth in a small company in central Minnesota? Any ideas?

        • #2578043

          Jack of all trades in MN

          by dele1jim ·

          In reply to What’s it worth?

          I live in central MN and wear many hats in my office; PC support, Network admin, Security, and I make around $60K

        • #2578037

          jacks and hats

          by itforthemasses ·

          In reply to Jack of all trades in MN

          i work in that capacity in nyc along with others that do the same and i make about 120K, 6 years into the business. i also manage a small staff, too.

          not sure if it’s a good thing to be a jack of all trades in this business, though. working for a larger company, you certainly need to specialize.

        • #2585733

          Jack in Rural Colorado

          by d50041 ·

          In reply to jacks and hats

          I grew up in NYC and have lived in semi-rural Colorado, west slope, for 30 years. I make 48,000 yearly, have excellent bennies and flex-time. I would NEVER trade my job for the same in any city for 140,000 yearly. On the other hand, I do laugh at the job descriptions I see that expect on to be an expert in all the skills, kinda like needing an enginner and advertising for mechanical, electrical, structural, mining, all in the same boat. And recent ads for help desk and IT support here only ask for high school ed but networking, apps, programing and web design for $10 an hour !!

        • #2585699

          They hiring?

          by locrian_lyric ·

          In reply to Jack in Rural Colorado


        • #2583574

          I know a few folks who would take the job for $10/hr

          by why me worry?? ·

          In reply to Jack in Rural Colorado


          Message was edited by: beth.blakely@…

        • #2583401

          That was a little racy….

          by hyposave ·

          In reply to Jack in Rural Colorado

          Why Me Worry,
          Your comment there was a bit racist. These people are VERY hard workers and they have great IT skills. Who cares what they eat!

        • #2585673

          jack of all trades

          by hurell.lyons ·

          In reply to Jack of all trades in MN

          Based in Atlanta and I’m learning as I go. i have ecellent knowledge of workstations, Imetermediate knowledge of servers, novice knowledge of networking (Cisco, routing etc) and no knowledge of VoIP in a corporate environment. Once I get up to speed I’ll be the manager and my Pay may go up another 5k. I thought a job like this should pay close to 6 figures,,,,if not with this company another one.

          Apparently I was mistaken…I don’t mind the low pay for now since I am still learning but i would expect with some experience, certifications and the title of IT manager i should be able to get closer to 6 figures in 2-4 years from now?

          Wishful thinking?

        • #2585464

          Location, location, location

          by d50041 ·

          In reply to jack of all trades

          Salary is very location related, but based on most salary surveys a 6 figure salary might be out there but not prevalent, and what horrid, crowded, noisy, city would you have to live in? and the cost of living will be higher alsotoo.

        • #2583447

          Yes, wishful thinking.

          by ralphclark ·

          In reply to jack of all trades

          The sort of company that expects to squeeze all that out of one person won’t pay well. The sort of company that will pay well will be looking for someone whose resume is more focussed. Don’t expect your prospective high-paying employer to be impressed by wide-but-shallow experience. When you do go looking for a better job, you will have to craft a resume that makes it look like you were just doing the one thing they are interested in.

        • #2578024

          In the real world…

          by online4 ·

          In reply to In a market like that of NYC, $75K a year for this madness

          Last year I was out of work for six months, looking for a job much like that in the Seattle area. I’d spent almost two decades in the legal industry, where for small offices one or two people needed most, if not all, those qualifications. The only thing on the list I had no experience with was SQL, and many times I wished I’d had it.

          I finally found a job with a big company, supporting one piece of enterprise software for more money than what lawyers were ever willing to pay me. Life is much, much better.

    • #2579228

      Do you have the skills?

      by mjd420nova ·

      In reply to Would you accept an IT job as “Jack Of All trades” or run from it?

      Hiring managers want to get one person to fill the shoes of three, but like you say, seldom are willing to pay for it. My last job was like that, as others left I was pushed into picking up the slack. When I asked the manager if I could get double pay because I was doing the work of three, I figured it was reasonable, they wouldn’t have to hire two others and I only wanted twice as much. In reality, they released all the high paid skilled workers and hired unskilled workers for half the price. Blew up in their faces as they now had no one to really do the work and had to sell the customer list to competitors and exit the business.

      • #2579217

        A lesson well learned for trying to cut corners

        by why me worry?? ·

        In reply to Do you have the skills?

        Servers and bank accounts are suitable candidates for consolidation, but not IT professionals who already have a hard enough time keeping tabs on one technology and skill, not to mention 5 or more.

      • #2578089


        by robert.pecar ·

        In reply to Do you have the skills?

        That’ll teach them to be so dang greedy. Companies that do that should be shut down immediately. Cut someone’s life line just so that some CEO can afford that new private island in the Carribean. I’m glad that guy’s happiness is dependant on 4 people losing their homes, cars, etc…

    • #2579221

      I am, and I don’t mind it

      by shirtbird ·

      In reply to Would you accept an IT job as “Jack Of All trades” or run from it?

      For a large company, yes – this is a problem. There needs to be a clear cut distinction in job responsibilities.

      But I work for a small company, 80 employees, a few million dollars in revenue/year. I am required to be able to administer SQL, domain services, Cisco IOS, desktop support, Exchange, backups, etc…

      When you’re in a small company, they can’t afford to have 6 IT staff. And I feel I’m being compensated fairly for it. The flexibility is nice, and I get to dabble in lots of different technologies. I feel like if I only concentrated on one thing, I’d get bored easily.

      • #2579219

        Granted, but what if you see this from a huge financial company?

        by why me worry?? ·

        In reply to I am, and I don’t mind it

        To me that says one thing and one thing alone….”We want cheap labor and to run this person into the ground with our rediculous list of required skills”

        • #2579212


          by shirtbird ·

          In reply to Granted, but what if you see this from a huge financial company?

          I agree wholeheartedly – a company which you describe has no excuse.

        • #2579177

          How else will executives “earn” their bloated salaries?

          by florida_kes ·

          In reply to Granted, but what if you see this from a huge financial company?

          Besides…all those computer geeks ever do is sit around and play games on the computers anyway, right?

        • #2579083

          And chat online!

          by dr dij ·

          In reply to How else will executives “earn” their bloated salaries?

          discussing why they aren’t paid the same salaries as the bloated execs 🙂

        • #2579549

          direct profit driver versus indirect profit driver

          by neon samurai ·

          In reply to And chat online!

          The Exec “my strategy dicisions made this company 2 billion last year; pay me.”


          The Tech “my supporting your systems gave you the accurate information to make those decisions and hardware to work with each day of last year; could I have a humble increase?”

          It’s nothing new though.

        • #2578107

          Well Said

          by jvillano ·

          In reply to direct profit driver versus indirect profit driver


        • #2578064

          They’re not

          by tonythetiger ·

          In reply to Granted, but what if you see this from a huge financial company?

          holding a gun to your hear and making you take the job!

          Perhaps you should start a consulting firm. You should make a killing fixing what the ‘cheap labor’ can’t.

        • #2578000

          That’s exactly how we do it

          by sereniti ·

          In reply to They’re not

          I AM the IT department of a small financial services company. I was hired for my writing and web skills, but I’m also expected to do help desk functions for nine employees, and the simple day-to-day maintenance of the LAN/WAN and web servers. However, we outsource anything I’m not capable of, and some things I am capable of but don’t have the time for. It’s a nice balance.

          I don’t make much now; I’ve been in this position six months with little prior professional experience, just a steady freelance background, mostly unpaid. This is an INCREDIBLE opportunity for me to earn while I fill in the gaps in my knowledge. My CEO is a gem, I’ve already had one raise, up for another in September, and am assured that my salary in 2008 is going to go through the roof. Watching how our revenues are skyrocketing, and how the rest of the staff is treated, make it clear this will be the case.

          No big company would have given me this opportunity. The small company that can’t afford the justifiably large salaries for this work is a great place to hone one’s IT chops.

        • #2583310

          “Land of Oz”

          by john.m ·

          In reply to That’s exactly how we do it

          Dude! where do you work… in “The Land of Oz”?

        • #2584896


          by sereniti ·

          In reply to “Land of Oz”

          Well, I guess there’s no way to tell, but I’m not a dude, I’m a lady. You could call me dudette. 🙂

          And I really don’t understand the question – insulting me, or commenting on how lucky I am?

      • #2579597

        Are you allowed cosulting help?

        by jsncstr ·

        In reply to I am, and I don’t mind it

        What happens when you run into a situation that requires expertise beyond your capabilities? Do you have a budget to procure outsourced help or expertise when needed?

        • #2579544


          by downrighttired ·

          In reply to Are you allowed cosulting help?

          Its called TechRepublic! lol, you guys are my consulting help.

          But yes, in my case, if its something I cant figure out, or something that requires a specialist like a programmer then obviously they either fork over the money or it just doesnt get done.

        • #2579524

          I thought you already knew everything and could walk on water

          by locrian_lyric ·

          In reply to Sure

          Just kidding 😀

        • #2579486


          by downrighttired ·

          In reply to I thought you already knew everything and could walk on water

          one step at a time 😉

        • #2578246


          by downrighttired ·

          In reply to almost

          **got lost**

        • #2578141

          That’s reasonable

          by jsncstr ·

          In reply to Sure

          If an organization expects to hire an IT genralist or “Jack of all Trades” then there must be an understanding that some projects might required external assistance and provide budgeting accordingly. It’s when an organiztion has expectations that the “Jack of all Trades” can do and be an expert at all things that might require addressing that things can get messy. I’ve seen attempts by “Jack of all Trades” to take on a task that they might not be completely qualified to do. In cases such as these the individual doesnt always know what they dont know. The solution implemented by the “Jack of all Trades” can sometimes cost additional money and increase certain types of risk exposure than would have existed if an expert was called in to complete the task. A “Jack of all Trades” with good project management skills would be best utilized to procure and manage temporary expertise help to implement the solution. After implementation the “Jack of all Trades” should receive basic knowledge transfer of the solution for daily support issues.

        • #2585731

          I would expect that

          by tonythetiger ·

          In reply to Are you allowed cosulting help?

          [i]Do you have a budget to procure outsourced help or expertise when needed?[/i]

          if you were in a situation to need it, you probably don’t have the budget [b]not[/b] to. 🙂

      • #2579552

        Great experience for me..

        by downrighttired ·

        In reply to I am, and I don’t mind it

        Im in the same kind of position. I work for an international NPO that works in underprivileged countries and I AM the IT department. Its hard to say how many employees we have total but I interact with about 80 mid/upper level workers internationally.

        I manage our local domain, web server, FTP, database; handle desktop support, purchasing, building and deploying pc’s, backup strategies, update deployments, basically any and everything related to IT.

        While I and my employers both know Im pretty underpaid (it IS a non profit after all), I couldnt be happier with the wide variety of experience Im getting. I only just finished college last year so this is my first full-time IT position. I know some other guys that graduated with me got jobs with big companies and all they do for 8 hours a day is reset user accounts in AD. NO THANK YOU!

        I can understand where someone whos been in the field many years would have a complaint, but, I know the experience Im getting now will lead to $$$ later.

        • #2583306

          same boat…

          by john.m ·

          In reply to Great experience for me..

          I feel comfortable saying this because I am in the same boat;

          Don’t you feel that everything you do is only half-baked because you are not able to afford the proper time on each task to get it done properly-completely and documented for future support and standardization?

        • #2585013

          i find time

          by downrighttired ·

          In reply to same boat…

          There are times when things get crazy and details get overlooked but then when things slow down or theres little to do, I try to go back over whats been done and tie up any loose ends. For instance Im just getting around to properly documenting (from notes and receipts) some pc’s built and deployed last month.

      • #2583544

        Been there….

        by liame ·

        In reply to I am, and I don’t mind it

        Been there and its not bad. A Jack in a big company though just sets alarm bells ringing.

        The one skill I would seperate off though is developement. That is an art in itself.

        As for the “master of none” part well lets look at it. Tech guy A – he’s an exchange specialist in a big company… he does exchange all day every day. Tech guy B works for a small IT support company – he does some Exchange amongst all the other stuff, perhaps 1 or 2 installs a month. Lets look where they are after 3 years… Tech guy A has done 1 install if that, and he probably got help in for that. On top of that he has done a shed load of admin that he really will never learn much from. Tech guy B has done 50 different installs by himself – many of which would have been different or odd in some way, and he would have learnt just a little bit more every time. Tech guy B, on the downside, will have had little to no exposure to clustering etc. Master of None? Hardly, master of some is nearer the mark.

        I say bravo to the Jacks – it takes a lot to get that broad range of experience and the small to medium sector is your oyster.

    • #2579218

      I did, and I love it.

      by locrian_lyric ·

      In reply to Would you accept an IT job as “Jack Of All trades” or run from it?

      It’s coming in REAL HANDY, as I am implimenting interoperability between various systems.

      It also is a great way to be a better business analyst.

    • #2579215

      Size matters

      by tonylewis ·

      In reply to Would you accept an IT job as “Jack Of All trades” or run from it?

      I think it all comes down to the size of the company. If it’s a large company, then there needs to be a clear delimitation between jobs because there’s exponentially more users/projects/crisis’s to manage which would be too much for 1 person. For a small company, it’s great to be the jack of all trades.

      • #2579198

        There is no problem

        by clark1 ·

        In reply to Size matters

        in having to know several different platforms/job duties. There really is no substitute for knowledge and it will help in the long run. Where I work I manage pc’s/laptops/printers, server admin, and am starting to dabble in the pix/cisco routers we have.

      • #2579541


        by downrighttired ·

        In reply to Size matters


      • #2578156

        What if it’s not all IT

        by kylegeldmaker ·

        In reply to Size matters

        I took a job as a System Admin for a large company, but a smaller division. My site only has 62 people. I manage a domain controller, two servers, 40 users and support an RFID based shipping operation. I am the jack of all trades, but, the trades extends to Quality Assurance, Management, Engineering. My frustation stems in the fact that small companies who hire a jack of all trades will often blur the lines between what is actually related to your job title. I as an IT person am approving specifications for production, I draft drawings for tools used by mechanics, I have to train and manage two different departments. All this is under a system administrator title. While I like the opportunity to expand my knowledge, I have to think that this principle is being abused. This is especially apparent when something starts going wrong in of the fields in which your particular expertise does not reside in.

        • #2578132

          I know how you feel

          by stuart_in_glasgow ·

          In reply to What if it’s not all IT

          Well maybe not as far as you but I am expected to do a lot more stuff outwith an IT role. According to the staff in here I am the designated mobile phone charger, Karaoke machine setup person, physical desk mover among many other things that is nowhere near related to IT.

          With regards to the original question to be honest no matter what size of the company they should have separate people for all the jobs with at least one backup for each role within the existing department.

          If you walked out of the job today then the company would be well and truly screwed as in theory they are losing 6-7 people due to all the jobs you do.

          Realistically I would be using it as a reat bartering tool for a substantial payrise.

    • #2579178

      I’m a “Jack”, but …

      by charliespencer ·

      In reply to Would you accept an IT job as “Jack Of All trades” or run from it?

      I’m the only IT guy at this site (200+ PCs, 5 servers, 300+ users). I am not the only IT guy in the company. Corporate HQ has a staff of 15 or so, with various specialists (500+ computers, 15+ servers, several hundred users, WAN infrastructure, commo to parent and sister companies, etc). This model works for us because I’m not an unsupported generalist. I’ve been similarly employed in another company as the on-site generalist with the majority of the IT staff at another location. I don’t know about trying to do it as the sole IT employee in a firm larger than a couple of hundred people.

      • #2579155

        Same Boat Here

        by rschmid1 ·

        In reply to I’m a “Jack”, but …

        I am the only IT guy for a 24 /7 manufacturing facility. Not only do I support the users PC’s but the proprietary manufacturing equipment as well. Jack of all trades is in my job description. IF it plugs in its my responsibility to make sure it works 100% of the time.

        • #2579717

          Oh Man!

          by jackofalltech ·

          In reply to Same Boat Here

          I would love a job like that! Over the years I’ve done all that one at a time.

      • #2578052

        Jack of All Trades,

        by Anonymous ·

        In reply to I’m a “Jack”, but …

        Master of none.

        I have worked in technology since 1991. I have interviewed and met candidates that claim to know various fields and notice often that they have strengths in a few or one but not all. This has been more obvious when multiple areas suffer problems and the person is required to multi-task. Often problems are patched rather than fixed. The intention to return later to correct the problem completely and correctly rarely happens with the pace of the tech industry.

        Those who actively seek persons with such a broad background may get a real gem but I am sure there are more semi-precious stones or pebbles to be found. The other issue that Corp might not realize is that losing one person could put their day to day business in jeopardy by putting all eggs in one basket. Considering someone (true gem) with this large skill set is probably underpaid for their knowledge and experience, turnover could be quite high if other opportunities become available to them.

        I have held many positions in my career and find that my skill set changes depending on the position so much so that trying to remain current on all aspect of technology is far too time consuming for me to be the best I can. If someone can devote that much time, I applaud them for being a dedicated Jack of All. I think you are a rare breed. I would not apply for a Jack of All, got enough stress. 🙂

        • #2577999

          “Master of None” is right

          by charliespencer ·

          In reply to Jack of All Trades,

          I wouldn’t recommend it in all situations, but it does work in mine.

    • #2579084

      Now no

      by tony hopkinson ·

      In reply to Would you accept an IT job as “Jack Of All trades” or run from it?

      I had the knowledge and the interest and the job gave me a chance to implement and learn more. It was always seen as a generalist position though rather than a multi-skilled one.
      I have no doubt it made me a better developer though.

      DBA I could probably manage as I do a lot of back end stuff, any other sort of admin I’m sadly out of date.

      It was never set out that I would end up doing all those things, sort of evolved around me, until I was building entire systems from picking the hardware onwards.

      It’s not so much that you are unable to do any facet of the job to your best as you simply haven’t got the time.

      Robust simple systems are what you build if you want to survive though, which compared to what a committee of ‘experts’ can come up with is a very valuable trait.

      • #2579695

        Old dogs and new tricks?

        by jellyyacht ·

        In reply to Now no

        I’m one of only 5 IT bods on a 24/7 Silicon plant and we manage everything between us, VMS, MS Servers, Unix, Linux, Databases, Network, phones, PC’s, even down to supporting the controllers in the machines in the Fab where we can, it is hectic at times but we manage.
        The only thing I say is if you enjoy variety it’s great, I think it probably makes you more valuable too.
        If you are a bit of a dinosaur and will only do “what you do” it probably wouldn’t be for you. And you wouldn’t fit in in the team anyway, because unless we all help each other the way we do it here wouldn’t work. I was taken on to support Promis/VMS but now I do it all so I guess you can teach old dogs new tricks.

        • #2579620

          How old a dog is that ?

          by tony hopkinson ·

          In reply to Old dogs and new tricks?

          Left the one man shop job to specialise, in WEB, coding and DBA’ing at a youthful 36


          All of them except phones…

          I liked doing it especially the freedom to go from design to finish, but recognition of any sort was minimal.

          Nice to talk to someone familiar with a proper operating system.

          Went back to VMS for two years, enjoyable but marginalised.

        • #2584376

          You are right about the recognition

          by jellyyacht ·

          In reply to How old a dog is that ?

          There is very little, everyone just expects everything to work “All the time”, no downtime, no hardware failures. And God help us if something does go wrong. Good job I do it because I like it eh?
          Oh yes, as for proper operating systems VMS is just brill, one of my servers has been up for 460 days and the last time it was rebooted was when we upgraded the OS.
          Thats why we use it in a 24/7 manufacturing environment. As you say, what a shame it is being marginalised.

        • #2584776


          by tony hopkinson ·

          In reply to You are right about the recognition

          I’ll take a guess here , you’re mad keen on bright spark cutting edge untried stuff,
          because it’s really great to start arsing about with stuff you don’t understand at two in the am, with a big hairy fitter complaining about his crap bonus this week on the radio.

          Sunny Scunny me. Used to be 24/7, left to be a 9 to 5ver, but with a lot of valuable lessons learnt.

        • #2584280

          Let’s hear it for the old dogs

          by blueknight ·

          In reply to How old a dog is that ?

          Where have all the VMS folks gone? That’s one system I really enjoyed working with. Unfortunately that organization ended up going to UNIX.


      • #2584282

        I agree with you Tony

        by blueknight ·

        In reply to Now no

        I wouldn’t take a position like that now, especially for a company that wanted to pay enough for only one of the positions.

        At one place I ended up becoming the jack of all trades because it was a small shop (10 or less in the IT area) and because I wanted to improve things (including my knowledge).

        One day I found a new version of the old OS we were running, so I suggested to the boss that we “upgrade.” He agreed, so I installed it and we went on.

        Some time later, we upgraded the entire system. After we’d been on the new 4331 mainframe a while, I suggested that we run everything under VM so we programmer/analysts wouldn’t have to work overtime at night and on weekends to do our testing. The boss agreed, so I went to a training class then installed VM. This led to my creating a test system under VM. That gave me the opportunity to learn CICS and the DL/I database system. At that point, I was System Programmer, DBA and Programmer/Analyst. Over time I added skills in the area of communications, LAN construction on up thru LAN Admin and some other stuff including data center manager.

        I really enjoyed the variety of work and was actually pretty good at it all. A position like that would not work in this shop where we have 150 positions in IT to support many departments. Things move fast and when something goes critical, you don’t have time for a jack of all trades to finish working on something before he can work on the hot issue.

        I’m thankful for that previous position, and I wouldn’t mind doing it again in similar circumstances… but applying for a job advertized as “jack of all trades” is just plain nuts. The low salary basically states that the employer a) doesn’t know IT and b) doesn’t have the funds to hire/retain quality folks in the company, let alone the IT area.

    • #2579614

      I’ve found “jack of all trades” to be the problem around these parts

      by neon samurai ·

      In reply to Would you accept an IT job as “Jack Of All trades” or run from it?

      As a jack of all trades techie, I keep hearing “but what do you specialize in?”. Seems they don’t want someone who isn’t only an SQL admin or AD admin. If you do everything you can get your hands on or read about your “too general” a skill set.

      If things are ‘a changing; this Jack of all Trades is ready and waiting.

      • #2579611

        Aye well that’s the HR confusion

        by tony hopkinson ·

        In reply to I’ve found “jack of all trades” to be the problem around these parts

        The skill is not windows admin, webmaster , DBA and coder, it’s putting together something that works more often than it doesn’t, stays with in budget and is relatively easy to fix and enhance.

        Something experts fail to do on a regular basis, how could they succeed, by definition they know nothing about anything else.

        • #2579534

          hehe.. HR thinks I’m looking for tips on what to take in school

          by neon samurai ·

          In reply to Aye well that’s the HR confusion

          I emailed HR mentioning diplomatically that they where using 10% of my skill set in my current role and that I was interested in moving to the IT side of the business where I’d be a far more effective, self motivated and self training resource.

          The email back was “so your interested in moving into IT and want to know what sort of courses to take?”

          Everybody from IT that talks to me for more than five minutes inevitably asks “why are you not working with us already?” yet HR sees me as a non-tech wondering what courses I should take in school. At least I have a sense of humour about it and keep getting paid for what I am doing currently even if it is about the same as using a Crey to calculate simple math.

          Ah well, been a while, time for another email off to HR; maybe they’ll have interest after I write the security+ certification. So far the study guide’s been a casual read and review.

        • #2579497

          Talk to the Supervisor, Not HR

          by wayne m. ·

          In reply to hehe.. HR thinks I’m looking for tips on what to take in school

          If you want to transfer, talk to the hiring supervisor, not HR. The supervisor is the one who will open a job requisition (assuming his budget permits) and transfer you. HR does not create positions, it merely reacts; don’t waste time with them, use your contacts to see if they can make an opening for you.

        • #2578327

          HR is not skilled with technical people.

          by locrian_lyric ·

          In reply to hehe.. HR thinks I’m looking for tips on what to take in school


        • #2583460

          HR is not skilled in anything…period!

          by why me worry?? ·

          In reply to HR is not skilled with technical people.

          Those numbnuts can’t even write a proper job description for an administrative assistant without making it sound like a job for an astrophysicist.

        • #2584886

          In 1996…

          by sereniti ·

          In reply to HR is not skilled in anything…period!

          …I saw an ad, clearly written by HR, for an admin assistant. They wanted five years experience with Windows 95.

        • #2584876

          I saw job orders for .Net with similar requirements…

          by locrian_lyric ·

          In reply to In 1996…

          The year: 2001.

          The requirement: 5+ years .Net experience….

        • #2585793

          that’s the kinda stuff I keep seeing

          by neon samurai ·

          In reply to In 1996…

          When I talk to someone I get “What do you specialize in” and ‘computers, whatcha got?’ doesn’t seem to cut it.

          When I read job postings it’s “Job: asystant systems analyst. Requirnments; 4 years management experience, DQL, DBA.. blah, blah” and ‘Administrated a BBS for three years and have Administrated my own cross platform network for over ten years ongoing.’ doesn’t seem to cut it.

          Bah.. The “HR Supervisor” tip seems to be the best one for me here so far. Yup, time to send another letter of introduction to the IT side HR and see if I can’t hit a little higher up there food chain.

      • #2579539

        what do you specialize in?

        by downrighttired ·

        In reply to I’ve found “jack of all trades” to be the problem around these parts

        computers! 😉

        • #2579529

          Ha.. Bingo! ;)

          by neon samurai ·

          In reply to what do you specialize in?

          Info Tech has been my obsessive hobby and area of education since before grade school (literally; I wore out a coleco Adam before entering grade school).

          I study whatever tangent catches my interest with heavy leanings towards different OS, Networking and security in general. Now how do I explain that I specialize in “Computers”.. everything about them; but, will tune my skills to the possition I occupy.

          We’re Jack-Of-All-Trades specializing in what applies to the possition we’re placed in until placed into a different possition and set of applicable skills.

        • #2584773

          Cross platform system integration

          by tony hopkinson ·

          In reply to what do you specialize in?

          HR think that sounds well clever.
          ‘cept it’s too long to fit in the box on the application form unless you write really small.

        • #2585799

          I like it

          by neon samurai ·

          In reply to Cross platform system integration

          It sounds much more professional than “Anything I can get my hands on through a keyboard.”

          So now I have “security auditing” and “cross platform system integration” as more acceptable forms for those who can’t read between the lines. ;D

    • #2579604

      Excuse for H1B

      by pgm554 ·

      In reply to Would you accept an IT job as “Jack Of All trades” or run from it?

      This gives companies a reason to bring in H1B, because they raise the bar so high in terms of skill set and then low ball in terms of salary.

      Now they can use the excuse that they can’t find “qualified” people.

      It’s a big friggin’ game.

      • #2579586

        Edited by moderator

        by why me worry?? ·

        In reply to Excuse for H1B


        Message was edited by: beth.blakely@…

      • #2578148

        Well stated!

        by glgruver ·

        In reply to Excuse for H1B

        My first thought upon reading the opening post of this discussion was exactly what pgm554 said. It IS a game and has been for many years now. These people KNOW they won’t find any “qualified” candidates, that’s why they put such requirements in. Now, if a person happens to meet all of these “requirements” they are dismissed as “over-qualified”, don’t have that one “specialty” that the hiring manager is really looking for, want too much money, or whatever other excuse HR can think of.

        Oh yeah, since I work in Government, there is one other possibility….connections, either political or social. I have seen many job requirements that were written for a specific person, based upon his/her “qualifications”. Should one have the temerity to apply for such a position, they will be told that “a suitable candidate” has been offered the position.

        I can sit back and laugh at all of this now, but it wasn’t funny at the time.


      • #2578074

        Excuse for H1B

        by sevenof9fl ·

        In reply to Excuse for H1B

        Best answer on this board. You’re exactly correct.

    • #2579603

      Need to Read Between the Lines

      by wayne m. ·

      In reply to Would you accept an IT job as “Jack Of All trades” or run from it?

      I never treat all of the “required” skills as equal in an advertisement. Look at the context and the company to try and figure out the real job description. My interpretation of the above is that they are looking for someone to be a network engineer who works with a lot of Cisco equipment. The person probably runs some periodic security scans, writes some reporting scripts, and saves statistics into a database and generates reports from the database. I don’t think the terms refer to what I think of as a “DBA”, a “developer”, or a “security specialist”; and merely mean that the job involves slight incursions into these activities. I think this reading would also fit the salary of $75K.

    • #2579583

      Normal depending on size of the company

      by highlander718 ·

      In reply to Would you accept an IT job as “Jack Of All trades” or run from it?

      I think it is normal for a company of up to 100 users to not have an IT guy for each of the roles. I was in that position and I liked it actually, being sort of in charge of your own 1 person department :-), making the rules, being able to setup the things to run the way you want ….

      Obviously, there were parts that were outsourced, such as say communications, there was 3rd level suport from the ERP company when needed, hardware maintenance (printers and so) …etc.
      I think an IT guy with expertise in 2 or 3 domains and general knowledge of the rest can easily handle such a situation.

    • #2579573

      It depends….

      by unhappyuser ·

      In reply to Would you accept an IT job as “Jack Of All trades” or run from it?

      In a large organization there is probably no reason for “Jacks” and you are right on. The company is trying to make the money makers happy by keeping costs down so the big wigs look good and get a bigger bonus.

      For a small organization it’s the only way to survive. There are two of us supporting just under 100 people. There is not money for any more IT staff so we “do it all”. We do have other IT people, and places like Tech Republic, to access for help with problems but we have been forced to become “Jacks of all trades” because of the organization’s size.

      There are days when I’d like to have one job but having “multiple hats” can be rewarding too. It’s a hit or miss and depends upon the person. Some of us thrive on it while others cringe.


    • #2579435

      My specialty? Why, I spin straw into gold, of course.

      by labrat636 ·

      In reply to Would you accept an IT job as “Jack Of All trades” or run from it?

      I know a little bit about everything, and I know a lot about some things, but I don’t know everything about anything.

    • #2578193

      Slightly off topic but….. what kinda salary can be demanded in this…

      by chris ·

      In reply to Would you accept an IT job as “Jack Of All trades” or run from it?


      I’m very much in this position myself in our small company based in UK, however as some of the contributors mention it is giving me great experience in many skill set’s and environments.

      What I was wondering is what kinda salary is normal for this kinda position in the UK?

      I’m on ?35k with a good bonus of between 100-150% of my salary depending on how good the company has performed that year. Worked out about ?70k last tax year.

      Anybody care to contribute or should I post a new thread?

    • #2578185

      You are right man

      by kumvnode ·

      In reply to Would you accept an IT job as “Jack Of All trades” or run from it?

      Yes you are right…Now a days there are many such jobs posted to get a person who is network admin, DBA , network , System engineer , Shell Scripting and Security Specialist… This is something very difficult to get..Coz Every thing mentioned is in itself a big field.. For instance it is very difficult to find a Security Specialist who is also a DBA ..

      The search engines should post jobs for HR as follows:

      Required for the post of HR who can recurit , handle office work , clean toilets sweep , serve tea, coffee and clean the tables…Salary as per experience…

      • #2583568

        Haha…that’s excellent..I’d love to see this one

        by why me worry?? ·

        In reply to You are right man

        How’s about a posting for technical recruiters as such:


        Highly skilled technical recruiter who knows how to use his/her brain, will thoroughly read the resumes presented in front of them, and will not blast emails of irrelevant positions to candidates who are either unqualified or have nothing to do with the technology based on their skills and experiences.

        • #2584884

          Yes, yes, yes!

          by sereniti ·

          In reply to Haha…that’s excellent..I’d love to see this one

          …and will not blast emails of irrelevant positions to candidates who are either unqualified or have nothing to do with the technology based on their skills and experiences….

          Every contact I ever got from a headhunter through Dice or Monster in response to my resume that said my skillset was limited to HTML, CSS, and a smattering of .php and javascript said something like, “We have an opening for a C++ and Cold Fusion programmer that we think you would be perfect for…”

          I always wanted to blast back, “Did you bother to READ my resume?” LOL

        • #2585869

          I did respond back to these morons with “Read the #$&^% resume!”

          by why me worry?? ·

          In reply to Yes, yes, yes!

          And the jerk-off responded with: “Well, do you know somebody who would be interested in this?”

          It’s bad enough they blast me with this crap…I now have to “recommend” others to these morons? What’s in it for me and why should I help them in their pathetic jobs?

        • #2584309

          They’re lazy *ahem*’s if you ask me

          by sereniti ·

          In reply to I did respond back to these morons with “Read the #$&^% resume!”

          They can’t be bothered to do a targeted search for resumes, they just blast to the easiest contacts and then ask US to do THEIR job. Sheesh.

        • #2584341

          Now, Wait just a minute!

          by neon samurai ·

          In reply to Yes, yes, yes!

          ColdFusion is still alive and in use? Wahoo.. one of my programming languages is not completely burried under a gravestone. Ah the good old days of building website front ends for database back ends.

          (Sorry, had to say it if only to amuse myself ;D )

        • #2584307

          Not having been a programmer since 1985…

          by sereniti ·

          In reply to Now, Wait just a minute!

          …I have no idea what programming languages are “in vogue” now. hehehe I just put in the first language that came to mind – I could have said COBOL and FORTRAN! LOL At least that list would have included something I knew at one time.

          Actually, I suppose it’s .ASP, .NET, SQL and AJAX now, right?

        • #2584243

          I’m in the same boat

          by neon samurai ·

          In reply to Not having been a programmer since 1985…

          during the end of highschool and start of university I developed websites coding mostly in html and ColdFusion with Access or SQL database backends.

          ColdFusion and .ASP sort of appeared about the same time with ASP being Visual Basic based and ColdFusion being tag based. I could use five lines of code in .ASP or two tags in CF. For our needs, CF became the language of choice and my home server had a nearly 100% web adminable setup acting as my “let’s see what I can do with CF today” platform.

          As for my guess on current languages? The Windows side has Studio.NET and anything included in the IDE along with c#, vb, vc++ and whatever other MS favourites are there now. The Unix side seems to have Python, Ruby, Java the age old c/c++ and the favorites like perl. My programming schooling is all on the Windows side so the Unix world of programming is still new too me.

    • #2578151

      You have to consider the source

      by sheri.stuart ·

      In reply to Would you accept an IT job as “Jack Of All trades” or run from it?

      Many HR people are business majors that had little or no exposure to IT. They have no idea that there are so many facets to IT,and that it would take a genius to learn and apply the knowledge needed to do ALL those jobs. Obviously companies need to educate themselves and their employess on what each job needs to fulfill it so that they know they have to create a position for each type of IT job they need. If they only need someone for a short term project, they should hire a good freelancer for the project.

      • #2578140

        Unfortunately, you are correct.

        by glgruver ·

        In reply to You have to consider the source

        Reminds me of a quote from some anonymous source:

        “There are two types of people in IT:
        Those who understand what they do not manage, and those that manage what they do not understand”

        In all fairness, this state of affairs is not entirely the fault of the HR people. Many “techies” that I have known prefer to live in their own world, doing their own thing. They do not want others to know exactly what they are doing under the guise of “knowledge is power”. Call it what you will, but I find this attitude does not serve anyone well. Technical professionals have always been treated with some disdain because managers generally do not understand the technology or the type of individual that chooses this field as a career. As professionals, we all need to brush up on our communications skills. So long as I can present a rational business case for a specific piece of hardware or software to my administration, I have found them willing to seriously consider my proposals and recommendations.


        • #2583514

          Job “IN-security” is the reason for this

          by why me worry?? ·

          In reply to Unfortunately, you are correct.

          I see it done all the time and the common excuse for this is “job security”. Bullcrap…it’s more like job insecurity among those who feel they have to hoard every bit of information and keep everyone else in the dark or guessing at what is going on. If you are really good at what you do and can document and communicate well, then your job isn’t going anywhere.

    • #2578145

      The reason why is someone will take the job

      by tomz ·

      In reply to Would you accept an IT job as “Jack Of All trades” or run from it?

      HR people know someone will do it, it just depends on how long they can wait for them.

      I actually prefer the “Jack of all Trades” Positions. There is something new all the time, and keeps me skills up in more than one area (in case I need to move on). I worked as a developer only for 3 years, and I drove me nuts doing just one thing.

      • #2578117

        Could you please advise me Networking / Software Development

        by kumvnode ·

        In reply to The reason why is someone will take the job

        Since your answer was really what I felt some time back that Programming job sucks after some time.. I just need some advise from you (please)…

        I am a student of Arts (B.A) did it from Correspondence due to some problem.. However at XII (SSC) I had major at Mathematics.

        However I had interest into Computers and did Software Engineering…However at that time I did not get into Software Development.. Since I was not feeling that B.A was enough. I did MCA ( Master of Computer Application).. At the same time I did a course in Networking and Hardware..and entered a Job of Networking .. I currently into a web hosting company provides Technical Support..

        My Interest are into Network Security and have already cleared EC-CEH certification

        But I am unable to land into a decent job and finding it very difficult…Bcoz companies prefer B.E/B.Tech Student So I am feeling like moving to Software Development.. I just don’t know where should I head to…

        1.)Move into Software Development

        2.)Try doing more certifications like CCNA, CCSP , CCSA and CISSP..

        3.)Any of your **Ideas

      • #2583565

        Now let me ask you a serious question about this position

        by why me worry?? ·

        In reply to The reason why is someone will take the job

        If you know a little bit of everything, but not too much about any specific technology, and say a major problem arises, how will you solve it? The average Jack of all trades will be crapping his/her pants, sweating profusely, calling colleagues who know this stuff, and usually abandoning the problem or quiting the job on the spot. Jacks don’t last too long in these positions because the demands are exhuberant and those morons in charge will use any excuse to terminate you if they feel you aren’t performing 1000 tasks in one day.

        • #2583547

          Know where to find the answer.

          by labrat636 ·

          In reply to Now let me ask you a serious question about this position

          When I run into a problem that can’t be solved “off the top of my head”, I will reach out to those, whom I have helped in the past. Or grab a manual and start reading, or search the net for the answer. Whatever I have to do. Due to the vast array of equipment I deal with, it is unrealistic for me to anticipate detailed system problems. But, I do anticipate problems in general, and I am prepared to attack those as needed.

        • #2583517

          Granted, but you are “expected” to know everything on the spot

          by why me worry?? ·

          In reply to Know where to find the answer.

          and many problems are far more complex than simply picking up a manual or calling friends and colleagues to solve it. I too am capable of reading through 6,000 page manuals, researching the problem online, calling the vendor, and calling others, but some problems require immediate resolution that requires you to know it on the spot.

    • #2578143

      Would you accept an IT job as “Jack Of All trades” or run from it?

      by 50kilroy ·

      In reply to Would you accept an IT job as “Jack Of All trades” or run from it?

      I’ve been there and will never do that job again.
      The I.T. world now has little enough respect for those of us who have made it ‘the hard way’ for 20 or more years and to be the ‘jack of all trades’ is not a thing which commands respect.

      Don’t forget the second part of that phrase, ” AND MASTER OF NONE.”

      • #2578133

        Been there too

        by joan.dachsel ·

        In reply to Would you accept an IT job as “Jack Of All trades” or run from it?

        Years ago, that was me. I was the IT department for a small company with 1 junior programmer and 6 key punch people. While the variety is interesting, I had no time to take classes to keep up my skills or learn new ones. I was always on call, even on vacation. I worked many more than 40 hours a week, but upper management did not even recognize my contributions. I realized that they would not change. I had made it easy for them. Never again!

        I now work for a large company with many people in IT. I still do a variety of things, but it is within my area.

    • #2578128

      ya know, kids

      by critch ·

      In reply to Would you accept an IT job as “Jack Of All trades” or run from it?

      I got some good chuckles from this thread. Over the last 28 years, I’ve been in $10M privately held companies and in a Fortune 100 and few in between.
      Yes, it is wholly dependent on company size, but You have control over who you work for. If you don’t like the requirements, there is the door.
      And to me, currently in a $50M company, the staff programmer never heard of FTP, the AS400 operator was amazed that we changed from greenbar to MFPs and I sliced the telcom budget by 26%….so much for Specialists…

      Yep Jack of all trade – when I need a high level of expertise, I contract it & throw them out when they’re done…..

      • #2578101

        Ya know, kids….??

        by 50kilroy ·

        In reply to ya know, kids

        And your attitude, my friend, is a good part of why I.T. is such a mess today. Coupled with the Micor$oft MSCE toilet paper certs, those of us who helped to _invent_ these blasted computers (and from your comment of 28 years experience, it would seem that you are about my age. You were part of the development process too)are being discarded as ‘not qualified’.

        • #2578067

          well, well…

          by critch ·

          In reply to Ya know, kids….??

          I shared the same opinion for Certs not-worth-the-paper-they-are-printed-on.

          All I’m saying is that Business is Business – we are selling a product – expertise in one form or another. Yes, if the company needs/can support a team of Cisco experts, ok get a handfull of people who only know Cisco and wouldn’t recognize an AS400 if they fell on it.

          But, other companies need other things; this current company NEEDS a Jack. And I had an M$CE in yesterday to look over my Exchange implentation, since I am Not an Expert. And I’ll take his feedback with a grain of salt and review but not blindly implement.

          Some companies need someone who can implement barcode scanning, who can streamline process, who can integrate, but how many can afford to have a dedicated expert on staff?

          I make a decent enough salary as a Jack, and in all honesty, the money is Secondary. I enjoy my job, the support and respect of my boss, and encouragement from (hmm) most of the users.

          But one cannot afford to stagnate. You do have to continually improve and prove yourself.

          Business is Business

        • #2578053

          MCSE = Minesweeper Consultant, Solitaire Expert

          by locrian_lyric ·

          In reply to Ya know, kids….??

          I hate those damn certs, and the HR wonks who love them.

        • #2585582

          Certs are only valuable with experience to back them

          by why me worry?? ·

          In reply to MCSE = Minesweeper Consultant, Solitaire Expert

          otherwise, they are only good for wiping one’s butt with. I agree partially with your statement, but don’t discount the certified individuals who really do know their stuff and can walk the walk and talk the talk.

        • #2583624


          by locrian_lyric ·

          In reply to Certs are only valuable with experience to back them

          I don’t discount the cert folks as many people have gotten them just to prove to HR wonks that they know what they know.

          What irks me is that HR wonks will pass over YEARS of experience in favor of a cert.

      • #2578096

        One other advantage of a Jack-Of-All-Trades

        by jruby ·

        In reply to ya know, kids

        Because, like critch, I have been involved in several companies and the government as a jack-of-all-trades, now when the specialists and consultants come in they had better be minding their p’s and q’s. Even though I’m not certified in their particular topic, I’ve probably worked with it long enough to know when they have substance or when it’s only smoke.

        Management also likes the fact that I can take the documentation and technospeak of multiple specialists and turn it into a comprehensive single presentation they can wrap their hands around.


        If you think the problem’s bad now, wait until we solve it!

    • #2578099

      It is the trend, senior IT pros need to pitch in to turn the tide.

      by atsltc1 ·

      In reply to Would you accept an IT job as “Jack Of All trades” or run from it?

      1. Companies need to cut cost, so they post “Jack of all trades” job specifications to get the best value guys.
      2. Recruiters won’t look at the resumes from quality IT pros that are “Master of the trade”. They would only submit “Jack of all trades” resumes to the companies in order to get the business. So only quantity matters in the resume, the more technologies and more years the better. At the same time it is much easier for the HR and recruiters to do their jobs, all they have to do is to count.
      3. Job candidates need to be “Jack of all trades” in order to find employment, so they pile up the numbers in their resumes.
      4. The senior IT guys play the game in order to maintain their positions in the companies, because they have nothing to lose in short term.
      5. The companies think they are smart and getting the best value IT guys with least amount of cost.
      6. Crystal ball shows: The “Jack of all trades and master of none” wins by nature selection; “Master of trade” will become endangered specie. The spiral of the “Jack of all trades” trend continues in the IT field until doomsday.

    • #2578083

      Having Worked Both Sides…..

      by itsp1965 ·

      In reply to Would you accept an IT job as “Jack Of All trades” or run from it?

      In most of my previous sysadmin stints I have managed pretty much everything including deskside support/server admin for 60 servers running Netware/HP-UX/Windows/Cisco router/switch config/Telephone systems/Domino/SQL Server/IIS, User Training/Development etc…
      When I saw that my salary was not on par for the job that I did, I moved on. I loved being a generalist, it is great to dabble in all sorts of technologies and it keeps you sharp
      Then I got outsourced.. Pigeon-holed as Windows Sysadmin… All I do nowadays is monitor about 100 Windows servers and I’ll tell you it’s mind numbing.
      I would look for a new job, but as the original poster has indicated, the requirements/expected salary is beyond ridiculous
      I don’t mind going back to being a generalist but bare in mind, if companies expect these skills from there IT staff then they should be;
      1. Paying you well for the breadth of skills you need to have to support this function
      2. Provide you ongoing training and not expect you to pick it up on your own time after working 60-70hr weeks
      3. Take IT hiring away from HR folks who post these ridiculous ads and wonder why they can’t fill them and put them back in the hand s of IT folks who in the end are responsible for hiring.

      Sorry for the long-winded post folks. had to vent.

    • #2578077

      You forgot about the phone system, help desk and computer repair.

      by elizabeth.collins ·

      In reply to Would you accept an IT job as “Jack Of All trades” or run from it?

      No only do we do all of the above we are handle the phone system, help desk and the repair of the computers and servers. Every once in a while we also run cables.

    • #2578068

      Eliminate paying for wasted time.

      by tonythetiger ·

      In reply to Would you accept an IT job as “Jack Of All trades” or run from it?

      Employers don’t want to pay 40 hours of pay for something that may only take 10. Combining 4 such jobs into one position is just smart. It allows the business to lower the cost of its product or service. I just wish the government would do it.

      [i]If the company needs all these skills, then perhaps they should create multiple positions to fill these roles instead of trying to squeeze every imaginable technology into one role and expect to find a candidate that matches the descrition or will work themselves to death for such a small salary.[/i]

      How many applicants do you you think they’d get advertising for a 10 hour a week job? (Or do you expect them to pay you for 10 hours of work and 30 hours of twiddling your thumbs?)

      • #2578055

        You are right

        by working it ·

        In reply to Eliminate paying for wasted time.

        Small companies don’t need a full time DBA, Network Admin, etc. They only can afford one or two person who can take care of everything.

        For the last 2 jobs I have, I worked in small companies with less than 100 staffs with 10 small offices. I basically took care of everything (LAN, WAN, Security, Exchange, Servers, Helpdesk, Phone System, etc). From time to time, if there was anything I need further assistance, I will search the Internet or just hire a consultant for a few hours.

        For the companies, it is a big saving on the labor cost.

        For myself, I can learn everything from top to the bottom and learn how to deal with different kind of people (executives, supervisors, end-users, users-who-call-monitor-as-a-TV). It is a great experience for me.

        • #2585745

          More bang for the buck…

          by pyropakjim ·

          In reply to You are right

          I’ve had to multi-task in most every job I’ve had since college, and my current one is no exception. I was hired for my PC and networking experience over 11 years ago, and shortly thereafter assigned the digital phone system as well. Later, timekeeping, then payroll, administrative tasks, and even some production work (we are a small-business manufacturer). When a consultant advised Management two years ago that we did not need a full-time HR person, myself and the bookkeeper split those duties. The only times it gets rough is when you have problems in multiple areas, and find yourself spread thin; but otherwise, I like the diversity, and the knowledge that working in several areas has allowed me to learn more and more. Yes, it can be stressful at times, but think of the job security. 😉

    • #2578063

      One point that may be being missed…

      by shawn ·

      In reply to Would you accept an IT job as “Jack Of All trades” or run from it?

      Everyone here is contributing to a common cause, helping each-other when one doesn’t have the answer- For Free. And that is what makes all of the people I’ve met here very special and unique. I have had many positions similar to those posted in this thread and have experience most of these issues. The only time I have not been compensated for my responsibilities was when,
      1) I did not articulate my knowledge/ abilities and responsibilities effectively.
      2) I was not willing to move on when I had presented my case effectively, and denied.
      3) I began to develop a bad attitude about my situation that affected my working relationships.
      The point is, it was all on me to do the right thing.

    • #2578058

      Sounds Like Marriott…..

      by mcwconsulting ·

      In reply to Would you accept an IT job as “Jack Of All trades” or run from it?

      Yes Marriott Intl. I took a job with them Dec 04. Fancy Title Dir of Hotel Technology, what I experienced was everything but. Cant count the # of weeks I put my kids to bed Sun night and didn’t see them again until Sat morning. Comp time OT you gotta be kidding not part of their vocabulary. Ruined my Marriage and just about killed me!
      Now I work just across the river from that He>> I took a $12k raise & better benefits as Sr. Network Engineer, in a shop with dedicated DBA’s, Developers, etc. If something breaks over the weekend we fix it on Monday.

      If I were approached with the Jack of All again….. I would run like Hell!!!


    • #2578026

      I can’t get rid of Jack status

      by orka1998 ·

      In reply to Would you accept an IT job as “Jack Of All trades” or run from it?

      My company downsized and due to not having enough people most of us started performing multiple roles to keep the company going. Now the company got back on its feet, but because I was able to perform 4 different jobs in this department they don’t think they have to hire somebody else. Due to having all these other responsibilities I cannot concentrate on what I really do for leaving: programming.

      On one hand it’s great not to have a same day twice and doing different things all the time, makes your job interesting. But I spent more than 50K for my degree and now have no chance to cash it in. Unfortunately I love this company and people so I’m staying here probably forever.

    • #2578010

      Not Realistic

      by flyers70 ·

      In reply to Would you accept an IT job as “Jack Of All trades” or run from it?

      I agree….what an unrealistic set of job requirements. Eventually, those postings get filled with 4 seperate guys from India. It is probably how companies can say that this country doesn’t produce enough talent for the industry (and therefore, the need for more H1Bs, offshoring, etc.).

      This reminds me of the job posting I saw in 1998, where a company was looking for someone with 10 years of experience with Windows NT. Not Windows, but specifically Windows NT.

      • #2583559

        10 years of NT back in 1998? Were they expecting to hire Bill Gates?

        by why me worry?? ·

        In reply to Not Realistic

        I mean really…are they that stupid that they cannot see the illogic in their own job requirements?

    • #2578009

      Jesus in a 3 piece suit

      by bradsdad25 ·

      In reply to Would you accept an IT job as “Jack Of All trades” or run from it?

      My wife was in healthcare recruiting for years and always said they look for Jesus in a 3 piece suit. They want the most perfect candidate to send to the job interview but know that person does not exist. Much like the IT job now that wants 2-4 years of Vista and Office 2007 to apply.

      • #2585757

        I’m already in Healthcare and not for sale……..

        by rclark2 ·

        In reply to Jesus in a 3 piece suit

        It is especially bad when the Hospital is a NPO.

        I do ok, but not anything like you guys from New York.

        I started out as a programmer, picked up the web and PC stuff as it came along.

        Do a lot of DBA and SQL nowdays, but my bread and butter is still an AS400 and in interfacing.

        On the other hand, I don’t have to be the first one that answers the message/beeper/phone, just the last. So if a problem gets to me, I know that my operators, network admins, and application specialists have all taken their best shot and didn’t come up with an answer. Most nights I don’t get called……

        My real problem is that the people we get are over qualified for the entry positions. By the time I get them trained and productive, they want to be making twice what I do, and that isn’t going to happen anytime soon. At least, not around here. So they leave and I have to train another. In the meantime, the volume of late night calls I get go through the roof, and then slowly taper off after the replacement is up to speed.

        My last trainee just handed in his resignation recently. Going back to school for his masters and is going to teach. Said he would take a job at a Development house until his postgrad came through.

        These kids are bright but they want everything now. With the debt load they have coming out of school, I don’t guess I blame them.

        • #2585708

          You say that the people you get are overqualified…

          by 50kilroy ·

          In reply to I’m already in Healthcare and not for sale……..

          What do you think that those of us who have 28-30 years experience with computer systems from System 350 through Sinclairs, Adams, TRS series, the pc clones and o/s experience to match are worth?
          We would not be happy with entry level pay or positions, but there are still some of us who have not had time to earn degrees or are too intelligent to accept MSCE toilet paper.
          What are we worth?
          I have fought the battle with “hi skool” kids who have bought their MS toilet paper with a 6 week boot camp and are subsequently made my supervisors…

          Bah..hire someone with experience and pay him what he is worth and you will not have many of those late night calls to bother you.

      • #2583585

        I know somebody with 2-4 years experience in Vista

        by why me worry?? ·

        In reply to Jesus in a 3 piece suit

        but the guy is a multi-billionaire, founded Microsoft, and I doubt he would be interested in such positions.

    • #2577984

      I seek out these jobs

      by benrain ·

      In reply to Would you accept an IT job as “Jack Of All trades” or run from it?

      I seek out the jack of all trade jobs at small companies and love them. You get exposure to lots of cool technology. At my current job I do Cisco IOS, Active Directory, Compliance, Telecommunications, server architecture, application support, application development, phone system support and configuration .. what ever it takes. If you?re working your self to death that?s a time management issue. If you come in and put in a solid 8 ? 9 hour day work hard and produce results no one will fault you. If you?re not able to meet a deadline then present options (prior to deadline), Take some work off my plate, we can delver the project resluts later with your current resources, we can get consultants in to do it at X cost to delver it at the proposed time, or we can higher additional resources. Being a jack of all trades doesn?t have to mean you?re over worked it just means that you might not be as specialized as you want to be. If you want to be completely specialized then look to work a larger companies with large IT departments. I don?t like the larger companies because there is generally more red tape involved and I would prefer to be less specialized and have the freedom to make the systems work. 🙂 Just my 2 cents that no one asked for.

    • #2585764


      by enriquehernz ·

      In reply to Would you accept an IT job as “Jack Of All trades” or run from it?

      I think companies are going to realize the disastrous effects this will ultimately have on their IT productivity in the long run. I can just picture it now, networks down, DBA is having issues, back up needed immediately… oh by the way, did you finish that script I asked you to write for me last week?

      It’s a daunting task and unfortunately, I am in that situation now. Good news is the company is relatively small, but am doing a little from column A, B, C through Z!

    • #2585739

      How can it be?!

      by farid tahery ·

      In reply to Would you accept an IT job as “Jack Of All trades” or run from it?

      It’s as illogical as expecting a plastic surgeon to perform brain surgery and psychotherapy.

    • #2585736

      Really Filling Someone Else’s Shoes

      by mcarpenter25 ·

      In reply to Would you accept an IT job as “Jack Of All trades” or run from it?

      During many a job hunt, I too came across job openings asking for an MCSE, PC support tech, with telecomm experience, SQL, Photoshop, Quark, MAC, and ability to repair coffee machines, as well as light plumbing. The problem, as I see it, is a previous employee who started when the company was small, learned everything from the ground up, and couldn?t say no to any request. As the company grew larger though, he/she became overwhelmed with all the responsibility they took on, and just couldn?t hack it any longer. Now the company needs to fill their shoes. Sorry, but I can not take on the responsibilities of someone who simply couldn?t say, ?No, I?m sorry, I can?t do that? but let me look into hiring someone who can.? Not to mention, most of these jobs were only offering $18-20 per hour, or the huge salary of $40K per year. I?d rather drive a garbage truck for a starting salary of $70K per year! The mechanical arm does all the work anyway!

    • #2585725

      That’s the color of the environment!

      by jolenj ·

      In reply to Would you accept an IT job as “Jack Of All trades” or run from it?

      Simple, or should I say, Obvious! Consider – in today’s working environment employers attempt to protect themselves from employees. The wording of announcement allows employer to pick and choose between respondents, since no one will have all the requested skills/knowledge. In short, the employers using these broad requirements are fools, pure and simple!

      On the other hand, if these employers are doing this type of “B.S.” before one signs on to work for them, what additional “B.S.” could one expect after one is an employee? [The solution is left to the student!]


      • #2583587

        Agree completely with you. What happened to clear cut job descriptions?

        by why me worry?? ·

        In reply to That’s the color of the environment!

        Whichever dilweeds in HR, in conjunction with the hiring manager, comes up with these broad and vague descriptions should be beaten senseless with a metal pipe. If the position and job duties aren’t clearly defined, then the job candidate will be taken advantage of and given way too many other responsibilities that are outside the scope of what he/she was hired for. Yes, it’s always good to learn a new skill, but it’s never good to be bombarded with so much work that one wants to go on a killing spree against those in charge.

    • #2585701

      Jack of all Trades – Is it a trap?

      by johnhong ·

      In reply to Would you accept an IT job as “Jack Of All trades” or run from it?

      There was a time long, long ago before people specialized …
      That was many years ago in a simpler time, now you need to specialize to be an expert because things have gotten so much more complicated. But you don’t need a specialist for many day to day operations.
      HR is generally clueless when it comes to IT.
      If you have the “paper”, HR likes you. The last VAR that I worked for had one client who had 2 MCSEs on staff and every time there was a problem, we would get called in to fix it. I was a little freaked one day when one of them was watching me copy some files and I had to explain about Ctrl A. But, I digress; would I take a job as a Jack of All Trades? Yes. Specializing in one thing and doing it over again day after day would drive me nuts.
      My first experience with computers was with punch cards back in ’75. Since then I have been a programmer, a systems analyst, network administrator, security consultant, project manager and just about everything in between. The problem with being a Jack of All Trades is that you are usually working for a smaller company or a company with very limited IT staff and they cannot afford to have you away for training courses and/or certification. Add in some long hours at work and collecting new paper can be very hard. The last time I tried, a new version of the software (Citrix) was released and the certification changed while I was half way through. Be aware that if you do take a job as a Jack of All Trades you may get stuck with at it because all your paper is old and you haven’t had the time to re-specialize. Anybody out there need a CNE 3 ?

    • #2585700

      I’d gladly compromise it this way…

      by sevenex ·

      In reply to Would you accept an IT job as “Jack Of All trades” or run from it?

      I’d actually run from such a thing if the company is too large or doesn’t compensate me fairly. I saw the writing on the wall last year with one Nebraska company I interviewed when they insisted I put down a figure, rather than them give an offer for me to consider. I’m still looking for consistent work, but I have a contract job next week and can’t complain. The bills stay paid. 🙂 I’m on the road again toward the midwest and Rockies job hunting late this month and into early July before the holiday.

      I would accept a position where there are two or three IT people who dabble in at least two or more different specialities and learn from these co-workers what their responsibilities and vice-versa, so if something drastic happens such as vacations, vehicle breakdown or inability to arrive to work, illness, other family emergency, then there would be some fault tolerance in place without maxing out the corporate piggy or allowing boredom to overrun the department. This is the way it generally works in today’s extremely consolidated broadcasting industry that I’ve been part of (both radio and TV) since 1982. If I were operating a medium-sized company with 100 to perhaps 700 employees in the same facility, that configuration would probably fit.

    • #2585696

      been there and loved it

      by richard_lehr ·

      In reply to Would you accept an IT job as “Jack Of All trades” or run from it?

      That’s the best type of job in the world. I worked for a company that, in their heyday, had five national and three international sites. Four IT employees did it all, with the help of some contractors. Some specialized in certain areas but we all cross-trained with each other. I left that job to move my family closer to my wife’s family. If I could find something out here like that I’d be in heaven.

    • #2585693

      Ofcourse yes

      by onbliss ·

      In reply to Would you accept an IT job as “Jack Of All trades” or run from it?

      If something was offered like that to me, definitely – Yes. In an ideal World, I would like to rotate between different positions. Say a project as developer, then another project as a DBA, another as a Designer, another as an Architect, another as a Project Manager.

      Such a job would be a terrific one, from my perspective. Helps me to look from underneath different hats.

    • #2585677

      Good and bad points for being a jack

      by jdclyde ·

      In reply to Would you accept an IT job as “Jack Of All trades” or run from it?

      Good points, your day has more variety, so your less likely to get bored with the drone of the same’ol same’ol.

      Bad points, the more you have to do, the less specialized you can be. You can know a few things VERY well, or a lot of things pretty well.

      I guess the key is keeping from byting off to big of a piece.

      I am the net admin/ sys admin/ security/ remote access/ hardware support/ software support/ trainer.

      About the only jobs in our IT shop I don’t do is the in-house programming and the email server.

      I like it, but could use a raise. What the heck, I have a job. 😀

    • #2585662

      Just went through that horror

      by harlaboo ·

      In reply to Would you accept an IT job as “Jack Of All trades” or run from it?

      I just spent 3 months looking for a job and encountered that issue at nearly all the places I went. I am a Jane of “most” trades – network admin, tech support, email admin, AV admin but not DB admin or network engineer – and it was a huge pain in the butt. I think it is because consultants offer all of these services from one shop so HR people expect they can get the same thing in one employee.

    • #2585605

      Jack of all trades

      by jdarnault ·

      In reply to Would you accept an IT job as “Jack Of All trades” or run from it?

      The fool that I am….
      working for local goverment in field services that is just what I have become and not making anything close to what some of those in their so called specialized field make… but most of all it is not even appreciated

    • #2585592

      good and bad

      by alphatech9 ·

      In reply to Would you accept an IT job as “Jack Of All trades” or run from it?

      It is a good idea to be diversified. I learned a while ago that becoming too specialized can be scary. In a field with constant progression of technology, things can quickly become obsolete….in turn YOU can become a master of archaic science, you can become obsolete…. I have decided to go back to school to take some C+ and C++, I want to have the programming end covered along with networking.

    • #2585525

      Why be afraid?

      by graham.rance ·

      In reply to Would you accept an IT job as “Jack Of All trades” or run from it?

      Specialisation is something that can be outsourced. You can always ‘buy’ the services of an expert. What makes you valuable to a company is an ability to view IT as an interellated resource, and that’s why there’s a move towards recruiting people with a wide base of skills.

      In my experience people who moan about these things are ‘old skool’ meaning app developers who had no idea about networks, so produced horrible apps which over used the infrastructure, or security ‘experts’ who ban ICMP on networks because it is bad, without understanding that for apps to work over GRE tunnels you need to use ICMP for MTU discovery.

      Jack of all trades shouldn’t mean rubbish at a lot of things, it should mean highly skilled at a lot of things.

      If you’re worried, i suggest you do some work on upskilling rather than moaning


      • #2583597

        Don’t be lecturing to me about ICMP and GRE

        by why me worry?? ·

        In reply to Why be afraid?

        Read the post below and tell me if that position isn’t insane?

    • #2583633

      Jack of all trades

      by rwb1959 ·

      In reply to Would you accept an IT job as “Jack Of All trades” or run from it?

      You are absolutely correct! Let us not forget that they also want a PhD and all for $45 an hour. Being in the IT industry for over 27 years, I’ve had lots of different jobs needing different skills but even with that, I couldn’t match more than 70% of what many employers are “asking” for. What ends up happening is that you interview with many folks who have no knowledge of what the “posted” requirements were, they just want someone to help them with their particular project(s) and what ever needs they may have. I think HR needs to be taken out of the hiring requirement loop and just let the PMs manage the hiring for their own projects. In the end, they do anyway.

    • #2583599

      A perfect example of the stupidity I am referring to

      by why me worry?? ·

      In reply to Would you accept an IT job as “Jack Of All trades” or run from it?

      This thing reads like a PhD dissertation! It’s absurd to say the least in terms of what they want and what they will pay!


      Good Morning

      I have a position available for two Network Operations analysts in Manhattan – near Penn Station and the Empire State Building.. I see that you do have past experience working with Servers and desktops in a Windows environment. One position is contract to perm the other start as permanent employee.

      Contract range is approx. $40 per hour and will be converted to a perm position – The perm ant position will start in the $90K range. Please read the job description below and let me know what you think. If this position is not right for you and you know someone that is qualified, please pass it along. Thank you.

      JOB TITLE: Windows Operations Analyst

      LOCATION: New York City


      Leading media company in midtown – near empire State Building wants to hire 1 or 2 Operations Analysts – positions will be either Contract to Perm or Permanent –

      Person will be part of a team of 6 – Day to day responsibilities is 70% server support 30% desktop –

      . Provide support for standard server software including, but not limited to, Windows 2000/2003, SQL 2000/2005, IIS, Exchange 2003.

      Required Skills, Education & Experience

      . 7+ years system administration experience in a large-scale, heterogeneous data center environment (preferably Solaris, Linux, SuSe, NT/Windows2000/2003).

      . Advanced skills in the following technologies: Operating systems including Microsoft Windows 2000/2003 Server, IIS. Networking technologies including Conceptual understanding of TCP/IP, Routers, Switches, Hubs, Firewalls, Domains, DNS, DHCP and Subnets.

      . Windows 2000/2003 and Windows NT as well as Active Directory.

      . Windows Operating System administration.

      typical day includes: report generation, access control, provisioning – troubleshooting network, creating files share, user access -r emote desk-top support (citrix) telecom system knowledge is a plus-

      Service application monitoring and application / server performance monitoring

      MS Sharepoint is a plus

      Spyware is a plus –

      . ensure that all IT services meet their SLA targets and that the operational infrastructure meets all its operational targets

      . operate and implement all operational IT infrastructure and procedures

      . ensure that the physical IT environment is maintained and secure according to security and contractual requirements and business needs

      . provide day-to-day contact and coordination of third party engineers and support staff

      . ensure that the operational requirements of all other IT, Service and Business Management processes are satisfied

      . perform the day-to-day management and operation of all IT infrastructure processes

      . Maintain all operational documentation.


      . Responsible for ensuring the reliability of the Windows Server and Desktop platform.

      . Responsible for completion of PC and Systems support tasks in a timely and accurate manner, including tasks at all levels of complexity.

      . Responsible for documentation, tracking and resolution of issues, and monitoring recurring issues and suggesting long term solutions for such issues

      . Offer support in finding ways to improve the current environment and service provided.

      . Work well with other members of the team, respect ideas and contributions from others, maintain self control in difficult situations, and work well with people at all levels.

      . Support tasks include PC, Printers, Phone and Blackberry support.

      . Provide support for standard server software including, but not limited to, Windows 2000/2003, SQL 2000/2005, IIS, Exchange 2003.

      . Participate in problem solving and troubleshooting for the Windows environment and related applications.

      . Participates in and may lead projects to implement or enhance IT services.

      . Participate in functional test planning and testing for the Windows environment and related applications.

      . Research and implement new technologies to improve the Windows environment.

      . Interact with outsourcing vendors to assure timely resolution to any issues.

      . Ensure servers and desktop environment meet proper performance and capacity standards.

      . Develop and maintain a thorough knowledge of the Windows environment and related applications.

      . efficiently and effectively investigate, diagnose, progress and action all operational events, alarms and incidents to the agreed quality and targets, ensuring that issues are escalated where appropriate and all records are updated in a timely fashion; Incident and Problem Management, ensuring that they have the appropriate documentation

      . monitor, analyze, review and report on all IT Operations, services, service levels and service quality on a daily basis

      . maintain operational logs and journals on all events, warnings, alerts and alarms, recording and classifying all messages; maintain all operational data collection procedures, mechanisms and tools

      . maintain all operational documentation, processes, management and diagnostic tools and spares, ensuring that spares are maintained at the agreed levels

      . ensure that all routine housekeeping tasks are completed on all operational infrastructure and be aware of, check and test all availability, resilience, emergency and security test procedures and processes

      . use management systems tools to determine loads, collect routine performance statistics and create routine reports as required

      . ensure that all computer equipment is maintained according to policies and recommendations and perform regular checks on environmental equipment and conditions

      . carry out any necessary system tuning to maintain optimum performance levels in conjunction with Capacity Management

      Required Skills, Education & Experience

      . 7+ years system administration experience in a large-scale, heterogeneous data center environment (preferably Solaris, Linux, SuSe, NT/Windows2000/2003).

      . Advanced skills in the following technologies: Operating systems including Microsoft Windows 2000/2003 Server, IIS. Networking technologies including Conceptual understanding of TCP/IP, Routers, Switches, Hubs, Firewalls, Domains, DNS, DHCP and Subnets.

      . Windows 2000/2003 and Windows NT as well as Active Directory.

      . Windows Operating System administration.

      . General experience with server hardware devices, configuring and troubleshooting.

      . General network skills required in support of Ethernet, VPN, TCP/IP and FTP.

      . Windows server and PC hardware setup and configuration.

      . Server based performance and capacity planning

      . Problem troubleshooting and root cause analysis skills

      . Strong team player and must possess excellent communications skills.

      . Must have very strong customer service skills.

      . Must be proficient in authoring and contributing to technical design documents.

      . Microsoft certified or equivalent work experience working on Windows Server and PC Operating Systems

      . Strong communication and analytical skills, with the ability to resolve problems and explain solutions to others.

      . Must have strong organizational skills with attention to detail.

      . Ability to work both as a member of a group and as an individual contributor.

      . Ability to work independently in a fast paced and changing environment is crucial.

      . Ability to work flexible hours including other shifts and be able to respond in an on-call basis.

      The pay SUCKS and the responsibilites are rediculous for any one person to handle. Come on, even for a seasoned pro like myself with over a decade in IT won’t be insane enough to bother with this.

      Hey Kids..can you say “This job is an H1-B Magnet”?

    • #2583525

      Don’t believe their ‘ruse’

      by zenwarp ·

      In reply to Would you accept an IT job as “Jack Of All trades” or run from it?

      How do you think companies justify the need to go the H1B route?!!?
      They put an add in for the ‘jack of all trades’ that no one can match and then claim they have tried to fill the position, could not find anyone, and then they get an H-1B.

    • #2584685

      IT Hell

      by pcbradshaw ·

      In reply to Would you accept an IT job as “Jack Of All trades” or run from it?

      Well we have all seen it coming. With all the outsourcing of IT support positions and importing of middle-eastern and far-eastern personnel are we shocked. If companies can save big $$$ in an area they will do it. Is it right? No…can we expect more…yes. Historically look how large companies employed in the past, the railroads, mines all used cheap imported labor then later it turned we have tons of immigrants in ghettos. Welcome to the new “railroad” era.

    • #2584641

      Don’t knock it

      by marka ·

      In reply to Would you accept an IT job as “Jack Of All trades” or run from it?

      Seriously that describes the job I currently have. I prefer it to a typical IT job as it offer versaility. I can setup projects based on what is upcoming, not based on my specialty. While it can be disheartening at times, especially when finding a weakness in your skillset, it is a lot more rewarding in being versatile.

      As for pay, I agree, it does, for some reason, pay less. In the end the job never gets boring, I get to actually “play” at times while still doing my job. Being stuck as a DBA, for instance, isn’t worth the extra pay to me personally. I have never been a singular person so it suits my personality to have a varried workload. I tend to get bored very easily.

      This also means that I can’t do everything (go figure) and sometimes I need to pull in contractors and vendors. We migrated from a team of 5 to 1 over a period of 4 years. The cost savings per year has been close to 300,000$ as an end result. This includes the rare times I pull in a contractor. Its definately worked out best for all parties involved.

    • #2584546

      The bottom line is… well, the bottom line.

      by mnemennth ·

      In reply to Would you accept an IT job as “Jack Of All trades” or run from it?

      As companies continue to grow an excess of executives, we will continue to see them cut corners wherever they can, even if it is to their own detriment. Remember, a college degree (no matter WHICH prestigious school it came from) is no proof of having a clue whatsoever… and there is a 50/50 chance that the guy making this decision graduated in the bottom half of his class. The one thing to remember is this… EVERY role comes with a few “extra responsibilities” no one ever tells you about until after you’re on the payroll. If they tell you UP FRONT they want the kitchen sink and the Dispose-All too, they’ll probably have you emptying trash cans between servicing the VP’s pencil sharpener and dusting the server racks.

      “Sarcasm – just another service we offer.”

    • #2584489

      “Jack Of All trades”

      by vaidyashish ·

      In reply to Would you accept an IT job as “Jack Of All trades” or run from it?

      gone are the days tht a compnay wanted a specialized person for a in the arena of cost cutting a company want a person who can do all things.if u ask me i believe in the specialized job, so if a company want me they have to hire me as a specialized person not as someone who can do all kind of work for them.and its a grt idea the hr should be giving training abt the difference among it field or rather the it manager should be the last person who should take your interview cos he can access u better than a hr.

    • #2584381

      Good to Go!!!

      by azbill ·

      In reply to Would you accept an IT job as “Jack Of All trades” or run from it?

      Did for over 15 years. Loved every moment. No competition and I owned all upgrades. Supported over 125 users in all areas from IT Management to Helpdesk Support to include backup for telecommunication and radio.

      This depends on the size of the organization and support being provided. Number of servers, desktops, switches, users, etc. There are advantages and disadvantages. On the positive side you will know who did what when somethings goes wrong or maybe that’s a negative. Just the opposite for when things go right. You’re in control, takes a lot of responsibility to make decisions, because you can’t blame anyone else. So, to do this alone means that you have to be great to survive.

    • #2584374

      Jack of all Trades: Depends on your career level and career plans

      by ansocoetzer ·

      In reply to Would you accept an IT job as “Jack Of All trades” or run from it?

      If it weren’t for my hybrid of Projects, Configuration, Service Management and process design, I would never have known the Client as well as I do now. I entered on a junior level, and am so well educated and informed on all their operations etc. that it is opening new doors for me. I must say, I earn an excellent salary. A person who is able to be a Jack of all trades has a special gift, people often think those people can’t “make up their mind”.

    • #2585002

      A Jack plus a lot more…for under $50k?

      by greg o ·

      In reply to Would you accept an IT job as “Jack Of All trades” or run from it?

      Since retiring from the Air Force after 22 years I’ve been a Jack in a small engineering company. Except for the low pay, I love the job. Here in the Panhandle of Florida wages are abysmally low. Only 20 PCs, 2 servers, a couple databases, and some specialized large-format printers. I came into the office with almost zero experience (and none on Netware, which we still run!) except for some small-scale database development hands-on. I have taken all the classes for the A+, Server 2003 MCSE, but never the tests. Didn’t seem too useful running a Netware shop, and I don’t want to be a “paper MCSE”. Anyway, I also inherited almost all the HR stuff as well. A/P, A/R, payroll, insurance, facilities, safety, some purchasing, advertising, you name it. I also install and set up AutoCad for any new Cad techs or engineers coming in. As Netware/Groupwise admin, I spend very little time on real problems, mostly PC hardware problems or training new users. Almost 75% of my time is now office administrative headaches. Would anyone else do all this for $50k a year?

      • #2584712

        AIM HIGH

        by azbill ·

        In reply to A Jack plus a lot more…for under $50k?

        I agree. I also spent 22 years in the Air Force and was able to land a position with a Federal Civilian Agency. As the only computer specialist in a field office i became a Jack of All Trades. My Air force Training set me up to accept and handle those responsibilities. I have found the most respect for my talents from management and staff. I traded it for a move to another country, thinking that I would go forward with my experience. NO Way, If you got a job with anyone and are employed as a Jack of All Trrades in the IT Field, Stop and sy Thank You!!!!

    • #2585001

      It Depends

      by dr_zinj ·

      In reply to Would you accept an IT job as “Jack Of All trades” or run from it?

      Small to medium company with limited IT assets and 1 to 5 IT people, sure.

      Companies with greater IT assets and more personnel, you really need to start specializing. KNOWLEDGE of, and previous experience in, related areas may be required; but there is no way anyone in IT can be a fully up-to-date expert in all areas.

      If you are talking to an HR person, it may pay to remind them of that fact; and that if anyone tells them differently, that they are probably either, at best, inflating their description, or at worst, outright lying.

    • #2584795

      Beggars can’t be choosers!

      by jwebfoot2togo ·

      In reply to Would you accept an IT job as “Jack Of All trades” or run from it?

      If it means feeding and clothing my kids I’ll pull that stuck CD out of your reader through your nose if you like. I’ll give your power supply a bath if that’s what you want. I’ll wipe your hard drive clean and replace it with floppies if that’s the way you roll.

    • #2585959

      SMB jack of all trades

      by aathey ·

      In reply to Would you accept an IT job as “Jack Of All trades” or run from it?

      It’s been interesting reading about other’s experiences in the field and concerns about broad knowledge vs. deep knowledge, so I will throw my own story in…

      I work for a company of approximately 50 people, with several distributed locations. The environment is mixed Linux servers with a few Windows 2003 machines and primarily Win XP desktops. We have a thorough range of IT services, including intranet web capabilities and billing software, running on top of a segmented network (my first project).

      Therefore, I must by nature be a jack of all trades while working here. Even so, there are still ways to work towards specialization–long-term I am aiming to bill myself as a Linux admin with strong mixed systems skills, so I keep an eye out for useful OSS applications and ways to grow the Linux side of the server farm while satisfying business objectives. I can do this in a way that benefits the company as well as myself, and I do not neglect any area that needs my attention.

      I am also focusing my certification training in that direction(yes, I am no fan of paper tigers either, but as people say the little pieces of paper attract HR staff, and I do not believe in yielding hiring advantages to my competition on the job market), so that if/when I evolve to specialize I will be able to sell myself into that role.

      Otherwise, as my first network admin job I say I have found the jack approach to be incredibly useful for my development. I have gotten a taste of working with many technologies and have had the opportunity to pick ones that I would most want to specialize in, while gaining good experience. Money-wise, what I have heard and experienced does agree with the consensus on the discussion (specialists out-earn jacks on average, though that may well be because specialists inhabit larger companies in general), but at this early stage of my career I benefit more from knowledge so this is a non-starter for me.

      I have not seen the 24/7 time-drain problems that some jacks here have ran into. I mostly stick to the 9-5er routine, and when I need to put in an early morning or weekend bit of work I use flextime to take off some hours during the normal work week. So long as I keep management current on my time situation, there have been no issues. For those of you struggling to keep the job from invading your personal life, I would look into working out a flextime arrangement of some sort if possible, and make sure that your supervisor knows just how many hours you are putting in outside of the typical working day when appropriate. I have found most managers sympathetic once they understand that you have already inconvenienced yourself for the company’s sake and would merely like to keep the hours worked in balance.

      Lastly, for Why Me Worry’s initial point: I completely agree, I find it darkly amusing just how bloated even entry-level job postings can be (junior network admin, with a combined 6 years Windows, Linux, and Solaris experience)! My take on it is that if I want the job, I will tweak my resume and focus my cover letter on the areas that I am strongest at and send it in, counting on the hiring manager being a bit more sane. Should I reach the interview, at the end of the day the decision will rest on me convincing him of my value regardless of the ridiculous job requirements. If not, well, I would rather not work there anyway.


      • #2585886

        Alex, Nicely put…a proud JACK

        by pcthakkar ·

        In reply to SMB jack of all trades

        Alex, a bit of appreciation… You have almost said what i always wanted to say, but was falling short of words at that, good summarization of the kind of jobs we do to reach a position of Jack rather than a master.

        I was always feeling that all the jobs that were thrown across to me, had a purpose and each of them brought with them a learning experience. My past experience of almost 12 years, has been a checkerboard pattern of some solution suited to meet a business need or get it some competitive advantage, that over time, i sailed from being a network admin to a system analyst to RF Q builder to decision maker to implementer to help desk manager to now leading my own little enterprise…

        a reply to one of early posting-i m no beggar dude!

        to be a jack also needs patience with almost everybody, including yourself[at times the most difficult part], something which is a bit hard to come by.


    • #2576390

      Money, and evolution

      by amazonv ·

      In reply to Would you accept an IT job as “Jack Of All trades” or run from it?

      well when the companies doesn’t have enough money to have more than one spot, the person you hire (advertising for a Jack or not) may have to become a jack to keep things going.

      • #2589188

        Not a Fool

        by azbill ·

        In reply to Money, and evolution

        Accept until you find something better. You may be surprised at what you learn or can contribute.

    • #2617676

      Theres a few mixed questions…

      by komplex ·

      In reply to Would you accept an IT job as “Jack Of All trades” or run from it?

      1) Would you want to be the expert Jack of all trades?
      The drawback to this is users expectation. When systems are built well, it’s pretty easy to maintain them. All IT professionals have the basic knowledge to figure out Networking, Database and Desktop problems and the ability to find the answers. The drawback is when something out of the ordinary happens, it will take longer to solve. If a company is willing to have it’s SQL server go down for three hours while you are searching technet, then being a jack of all trades isn’t too bad. But if they expect a 24×7 environment, if they expect projects to be finished in a quick manner, then this job is a death march.

      2) Would you do it for the right amount of money?
      I would think maybe, but it would depend more on what the user expects. Can you outsource? Use consultants? Have weekends off?

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