April 14, 2014


Jack of all trades

Jack of all trades, master of none “is a figure of speech used in reference to a person that is competent with many skills but is not necessarily outstanding in any particular one.” - Wikipedia

Jack of all trades, master of none is taken in a negative context whenever we think of this phrase. Don’t you?

In today’s environment in the workplace and at home, when we have to have knowledge in so many areas, is it really possible to master all the skills? Is it really necessary?

I was thinking of this very aspect and realized that a person need not be an expert in all fields, but must have the capability and zeal to focus on the area of concern and explore the options when resolving some problem that is not part of that person’s core skills.

I looked back at the events of the last few weeks!

The following are some incidents which I personally experienced or observed and led me to believe that in today’s context; being a Jack of all trades and master of none has an important bearing on our day-to-day productivity and ability to move forward.

Meeting client expectations on key features which are not part of our core skills

In one of my recent projects, the client was looking for the following features:

  • WebHelp should have the pretty-print feature, which means that the code snippets should appear in different colors
  • Remove extra scrollbar appearing in the Webhelp. The scrollbar was appearing due to some error in the latest version of the Authoring tool
  • Display the functional Print and PDF icons on the Webhelp.

To handle these two features, one requires good knowledge of HTML. However, I had no time for gaining expertise in HTML before completing the assignment! Of course, I have some knowledge of HTML, and with a little bit of smart exploration on the Web, I found some solutions and tried them out. Fortunately for me, I managed to pick the right one based on my understanding and applied the solution in time.

Exploring the creative world

We wanted some icons on urgent basis to accomplish certain task. Being a novice towards  a visual designing tool – Adobe Photoshop it took me some time to understand the tool and come up with some options. When we submitted the same to the client, we got a positive response.

Overcoming System related obstacles as a layman

We have an internal tool that detects whether you have installed any unlicensed tool on your computer. If there is any unlicensed tool, you are not adhering to the organizational processes.

Now one of my colleagues had got Visual Studio on her machine which she no longer required. She tried to uninstall it many times, but for some reason the software detecting tool kept saying it still exists. Probably some entry was remaining despite uninstalling it. Unable to remove it permanently, we decided to explore it ourselves before seeking any help.

It struck my mind that whenever software is installed, windows makes some registry entries. A quick research on the Web brought out scores of articles around this very problem and in no time we applied one of the solutions that cleaned the registry and the software license issue vanished!

Now that I have shared my thoughts and experiences with you, what do you think about Jack of all trades and master of none? Do you agree? Do you have similar experiences? HCL Technologies is a global software and services company has been delivering measurable business value to clients across a wide range of sectors.