What skill set makes a good JOAT?

--chris----chris-- Member Posts: 1,518 ■■■■■□□□□□
I have been told more times than I can remember that in this area (Metro Detroit/Central MI) that most employers seek a "do it all" kind of IT employee or what I see TE call JOATs. From the job ads I have seen and the people I have met, I tend to agree with this here. You could specialize (linux for example) and I am certain there are some high paying jobs for that skill set, but they are few and far between.

So my goal for the next 5 years is to become a JOAT. My ancillary reason is that I want to get into security down the road. As I have seen on here and I have been told you need to understand what you are securing before you can secure it.

What makes a good Jack of all Trades?


  • ande0255ande0255 Banned Posts: 1,178
    I think being a contractor would be your best bet, working short term contracts in different job roles, this got me a good base of low level experience in a wide variety of technologies. Or as is often mentioned, an MSP is a good place to get exposure to tons of different technologies.
  • DoubleNNsDoubleNNs Member Posts: 2,015 ■■■■■□□□□□
    I see a lot of job ads looking for in-depth understanding of Active Directory/Group Policy, in addition to networking.

    I think a JOAT would essentially be someone who understand desktop/server/network issues, and has an extra skillset such as SQL, scripting, cabling, web design/programming, virtualization, security, or what have-you.

    I'll also agree w/ ande that I've heard MSPs are excellent places to work and build JOAT skills.
    Goals for 2018:
    Certs: RHCSA, LFCS: Ubuntu, CNCF CKA, CNCF CKAD | AWS Certified DevOps Engineer, AWS Solutions Architect Pro, AWS Certified Security Specialist, GCP Professional Cloud Architect
    Learn: Terraform, Kubernetes, Prometheus & Golang | Improve: Docker, Python Programming
    To-do | In Progress | Completed
  • docricedocrice Member Posts: 1,706 ■■■■■■■■■■
    I've never worked in an MSP environment, but I'll say that in a smaller business where you'd have to wear multiple hats and you're constantly under fire, that's a good place to practice your skills in a live environment under constant pressure. It's not the kind of role that just anyone can fit into, but it's certainly a place to test yourself, build resiliency, and gain an understanding of how the the entire structure fits together, and while keeping your cool.

    As for personal qualities, you should have the basics pretty good - network fundamentals, client/server OS principles, etc.. As long as you have those down good, you can build on top of it more easily. You should be able to research well (know how to use Google effectively, for example), some basic scripting ability or at least able to develop them, and as odd as it sounds ... be a decent typist. If you're constantly running around and juggling ten things at once, the last thing that should be slowing you down is hunt-and-peck typing. I've occasionally seen competent people who knew what they were doing but took forever to get a simple thing done because they could not get an email out fast enough, configure a device quickly, etc..
    Hopefully-useful stuff I've written: http://kimiushida.com/bitsandpieces/articles/
  • --chris----chris-- Member Posts: 1,518 ■■■■■□□□□□
    I recently got into help desk in a large organization. Officially its a "Long term refresh project" where we move from XP to 7 but I have been told there are other things that need to be done, so my fingers are crossed those "other things" get me some exposure to stuff outside of the desktop environment.

    Thanks everyone for the feedback, I have interviewed with a good MSP but (understandably) I was under-qualified at the time.

    So I will keep on the current plan, CCNA studies then get into a MCTS before the end of the year.
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