Jack of All Trades, Master of (N)One

Posted by Brian Tue, 28 Dec 2010 03:32:16 GMT

One constant in my life is that I have a tendency to become a jack of all trades, master of none. I read voraciously across a range of topics, but rarely delve extremely deep into any topic for an extended period. If I hadn’t have hurt my arms I was planning to learn several more instruments in addition to bass guitar. I doubt this would have left time to be really good at any of them. I’ve only scratched the surface of hobbies such as woodworking, electronics, and yoga and find myself getting back into video games instead of delving more deeply into any of those.

I noticed this is definitely true with my development work as well when I was updating my resume during my recent job hunt. The thought had been floating on the edge of my mind, but crystallized during that process. At least in this case I am a master of one though. Spending 3+ years with C# made me really good with it. But my jack of all trades include SQL, Python, Java, C/C++, Ruby, Scala, Perl, HTML/CSS, and JavaScript/jQuery. Of those the only one I would consider myself to be proficient in is SQL. And that doesn’t even include all of the several other languages I have done one-off things with, development tools, libraries, and IDEs.

What I can’t decide is if this is a good or bad thing? Right now I don’t have any other languages I’m itching to learn (Although it would be nice to relearn Scheme and Elisp. I didn’t even list those above), but I would like to dive more deeply into some I have only scratched the surface of. The problem is that it simply isn’t possible to learn so many languages and related tool sets in depth without investing large amounts of time. Right now all that time is being taken up diving deeply into Perl. For now, I’m just not going to worry about it.

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