Should you be T Shaped or Jack of all Trades or master of one?

While I wandering across every different skill. I doubted about the long term effect and keep listening to some advice from different advisors.

One of the things is “Do not be a jack of all but king of one”  (Date: 2012)

They said “yeah do not try to be an expert at different things but try to stick with one, so you can excel at it”. Even though am trying to convince myself that I should be king of something but am unable to buy this idea on a long term basis. So this confusion has been with me until 2014. I met someone in a PayPal meet up in Singapore and he was in need of my help with digital technologies. On return helped with my confusion as well about the career planning and priorities.

He shared with me the concept of T Skill. T Skill is set of skill set you can have breadth of different/many skill set but you need to have one or two skill set which are so deep. It is not Jack of All, or not king of one. This is a generic concept.

Another example from GrowthTribe has published this T-Skill set for Marketers. Worth to go through as well.

When you look at this image(1st), what do you see. Content Marketing skills and Lifecycle skills are in depth. And others in the top are breadth. You should be an expert or try to be an expert in this depth skills gradually. No matter what . In long term your breath could change to something else and replaced. But there need to be always something in breadth. This is what is going to distinguish you from others. This is what you are going to be named after. When a company wanted to hire you or your colleague is in a problem… When they think of whom to call for this problem… Your name/face should come in their memory. That’s your brand value.

Naturally and logically if there are so many people who out there with lots of breadth and not depth (vice versa). The company which wanted to hire your or when you want to sell your service, you do not have excellence at something. Then the company will have many similar options where you cannot be distinguished. If you are not sure what you want to be in depth and couldn’t figure out now. Figure out what you should not be and not expert at it.

My Story: My expertise(depth) is not this > PR, Marketing communication, Branding, Design, UI/UX , conceptual campaign management, etc. They are my breadth of my skill. And I could be a supporting factor for it but not the person to run those.

My depth is Data Driven marketing channels

Even deeper

  • Search Engine Marketing (SEM) is not my expertise
  • Programmatic Advertising is not my expertise or not even intermediate
  • SEO am an intermediate according to the industry standard


  • Facebook Advertising is my expertise and my love
  • Web analytics, AARRR framework and the related strategies
  • Lifecycle Marketing Automation (via Email, Push notifications, in-app banners, retargeting channels). I am better at architecting a complex things into a structure and in a flow.
  • Content marketing strategy
  • Mobile App (App search optimisation, Ads, Attribution, Tracking and Measurement)
  • Conversion Rate optimisation (Web and App)

So you need to clearly draw out your Tskill to know where you are and where to focus. I did this once in a month to review for my learning level. At some point of time, that gives me the self realisation. {Use this simple excel sheet to visualise your Tskill}. Have a habit of review this once in a while. No joke, I did this in my early career in excel sheet. So whenever I feel accomplished by learning something, I put it there to see where I am.

Am stopping my story here. The purpose why I shared those are because we all experience something similar in our early part of our career, so no big deal to worry about it and how to prioritise. Just keep in mind, T skill is IMPORTANT!