The Learn to Code With Me Advice Column

Jack of All Trades vs. Specialization: Which Is Better?



Hi Laurence,

I’ve been obsessing over your blog since I discovered it; thank you for all the amazing advice.

My question is, should you specify? I’ve read a lot about how people who can unite design and development skills are in high demand; I’ve also had people tell me that if you try to market yourself as such, you come across as a ‘Jack of all trades and master of none’. This is a big concern to me as while I do have a lot of design skills and graphical interests, I’m increasingly drawn to the coding bit—which I have less experience in!

What would you advise?



Hey Natalie!

Thank you for checking out the site! Glad you enjoy it and find it helpful :D

I think this is something many people deal with — in web dev/design or otherwise. The question of being a “jack of all trades” or a specialist.

It’s funny, because my thoughts on this change. At one point in time, I thought a jack of all trades was the better way to go. Now, I actually lean more towards specialization.

But that’s not really what matters in this instance.

Designing and building for the web are not that different. They relate to one another. They share similarities. And as you said, many people do both.

Having completely diverging interests would be like wanting to build web applications AND pursue crab fishing. (With those two things, there aren’t many commonalities.)

Here’s what I think you should do:

If you have design savvy already, but are drawn to learning how to code—I definitely think you should learn. Or at least dabble in it a bit :)

At the end of the day, what matters is you, your happiness, and if you’re being fulfilled. If you have an itch to scratch with web development/coding—scratch it.

This doesn’t mean you need to rededicate your career to coding. But you’ll never know how far you may want to take it until you give it a try!

Plus, coding skills can come in handy with your design work. Meaning even if you don’t become a full-fledged programmer or web developer, you can still benefit in your trade (design) by having coding skills.

So even if you were to continue to specialize in design, having some coding know-how can make you more lucrative and a stand-out candidate in future endeavors ;)

I hope this helps!


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