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A "Jack of All Trades" Industry?


Well-Known Member
Have you ever called a plumber to the house and said "hello mate, the water pipes are through there. Oh, when you're done would you mind putting up these shelves, hanging that door, tiling the kitchen and weeding the garden? Thanks. Oh and I've not got much cash so could I get this done cheap? I'm sure it won't take you long anyway"

Of course you haven't! But I bet it sounds familiar. It seems to be an increasingly popular theme in creative jobs that employers want one wage to pay for a plethora of, let's be honest, very different skills - encouraging a "jack of all trades, master of none" situation to emerge.

Does anyone else think this is the case? And if so where do you think this could lead to in terms of how people in the industry work and how newcomers are educated/employed?

Or am I wrong? Should a "designer" be skilled in all forms of design and a "builder" be just as skilled at electrical work as he is at roof tiling? Or should we compare it to a joiner who "only makes tables" as opposed to all kinds of woodwork?

I think a designer should be well rounded and able to adapt to different situations - after all they are a designer.

If however you are strictly a Graphic Designer or Interior Designer I think it would be insane for someone to ask a graphic designer to knock up a 3d model of a building on 3ds max or draw out plans on autocad.


Well-Known Member
This is exactly the point though. There are so many job ads these days asking for a "Graphic Designer" who can also code a website as well as do 3D animation, for example. And while the 3 disciplines come under the "design" umbrella, they're very different specialities.


Senior Member
Using your analogy, there job is a plumber, not a carpenter, builder, gardener...

I would expect a plumber to be able to fix my radiators, fix my boiler, put a shower in, sort out my washing machine plumbing...

In a similar way I would expect a front-end designer/developer to be able to design a webpage, implement it with code, consider usability and accessibility, understand the constraints and benefits of these constraints of the technology, and know what other types of people would be needed to help with projects the larger scale they get...

So maybe some jobs are getting broader and broader, but I think unless you are researching and developing the field (so essentially an academic) specialising is not necessary. Even people who specialise need other skills :)


Senior Member
Renniks has a good point. I'm a web developer but I design, code, know the ins-and-outs of accessibility and semantics etc.

However. Anyone looking to employ someone who:
+ Knows Photoshop and Illustrator inside out.
+ Knows HTML/CSS. *
+ Knows jQuery. **
+ Knows ASP.Net, PHP, MySQL etc
+ £22, 000

Should be well well avoided. Somewhere that runs a decent agency would never allow all that talent to be diluted over one person, because very very few people can actually do all the above to any degree of skill (I have only ever met one such person, and even he ain't too great at the prog stuff).

* There's a massive difference between 'knowing HTML/CSS' and being a web developer. Massive.
** This makes me rage. Don't learn jQuery, learn Javascript then jQuery et al.


Senior Member
I’m in total agreement Jim. 3D models, websites, animation and logos are different things. We’re encouraged to put our fingers in all of the pies to make us more employable but at the end of the day this does distract from becoming a master of illustration for example.


Senior Member
When I think about the amount of time my dev friends have spent learning front end coding and CMS is bordering around as long as I have learning about the rules of print and framing!

We should all take a lesson from the great Mike Holmes;

Make It Right®

Get the right person for the right job.


Staff member
Jimlad said:
This is exactly the point though. There are so many job ads these days asking for a "Graphic Designer" who can also code a website as well as do 3D animation, for example. And while the 3 disciplines come under the "design" umbrella, they're very different specialities.
The thing is that 3D animation for example actually has more than one area in itself, you have character, gaming, product and architecture, that's ignoring the sort used in intro video's and movies. My area is product and architecture and I wouldn't market towards the others. It doesn't help when 3d design is usually bundled in with graphic designers when you have to select your work.

Now with my 3D work I do actually do some graphic design as well, it's one of those things that goes hand in hand, now it's mainly photoshop work even combining images, playing around with stuff so it all works in the scene that type of thing. So in some respects there's an overlap between fields.

Now I can also make my own website (slowly - been on it a while now lol) but I would never market myself as someone who can do web design, it's not my field in the same way as someone who does web coding with basic photoshop (templates/layouts) wouldn't really advertise themselves as a graphic designer.