Some number of years ago, I ran across a thread on Reddit. It asked, “What are common sayings that most people only know half of, and to know the full saying changes the meaning entirely?” Among them was this gem:
A jack of all trades is a master of none, but oftentimes better than a master of one.
Growing up, I have only heard the first half of it, and per the point of the post, the second half changes the meaning completely. I was reminded of this when I was contacted this week by a fan of the blog.
It’ll be a bit personal question about my career path, and you can answer just in case you want.The Jira Guy Fan
2.5 years ago, I took a DevOps course with the desire to work in the industry, as I love technology. I didn’t manage to find a job in the DevOps topics (Jenkins, CICD, etc.) I learned in this course.
However, finally, I found myself as a Technical Support Specialist in a high-tech company. And a short time after that, I got the opportunity to manage the company’s Atlassian products suite – Jira & Confluence. I learned a lot about managing the servers and systems and even started learning groovy scripting. I really enjoy the work, as it also combines advising teams and people with a technical role. Currently, most of the work I do as a lone Jira admin.
Lately, I’ve been thinking about my career’s future scope and got a little bit stressed. I have some good friends telling me that staying in the Atlassian position would be a dead-end, and pinning my career to a single vendor application is very bad. They also tell me that no one knows what the power of Jira will be 5 years from now.
Sincerely, I’m a bit stressed now thinking about the thought, but I have no one to ask any questions about this. So, what do you think?
I won’t lie to everyone; I have had the same thought myself. I personally got no sleep the night after I learned of Atlassian’s plan to sunset their Server products, for example. And if two of us are having these thoughts, there must be more out there. So I figured I’d take today to discuss why I’m sticking with Atlassian, but what I’m doing to prepare should there be a life after Atlassian.
The heart of both of our concerns are disruptors. The Balance has a much more detailed explanation on the topic, but a disruptor is a company or idea that fundamentally changes a market. Atlassian itself was a disruptor as it grew over the past decade. However, they are now the established player, which means that they can themselves be disrupted. As William Kennedy put it best on Twitter:
This statement is very much true. The best disruptors are those ideas that seem obvious in hindsight but are almost impossible to predict before they occur. It doesn’t have to be a new idea entirely, just a good idea that is not common in the market and is executed well.
So, the world is ending?
In a word, no. As I stated in my “So Long, Server” piece, I still believe Atlassian is trying to position itself for long-term viability. I actively see them taking criticism from the community and trying to make the product better – as evidenced by last week’s article “What even is Jira Work Management?”
Then there is the community around Atlassian products. No matter what question you have, I can all but guarantee you can find the answer from fellow users of the products – all with a simple Google search. Between that and resources like Ravi Sagar, Rachel Wright, and yes – even this blog, the barrier for entry is still pretty low.
Then there is the marketplace right now. Looking around, most everyone is following the same format. They’ll use different words, but it’s essentially some variation of “Let’s subdivide the work to a single unit and track that unit through a workflow.” Yes, Atlassian stands out here due to their flexibility, but they are hardly unique at this point.
Honestly, I don’t know what the next big thing will look like or where it will come from. That being said, I do investigate every new product in the space that comes up. So far, I have yet to see anything that has really caught my attention.
So, Nothing to worry about?
In a few words, I think so. The demand for Atlassian products is still strong and still growing, as best I can tell. If you are in this field, don’t jump ship just yet.
Don’t become complacent. When times are good is when it’s best to prepare for when times are not. Take this time to expand your capabilities. If you are weak in Cloud technologies, maybe start studying that. Both AWS and Azure offer programs to give you free time to learn their platforms. Trust me – it’s very much like diving into the deep end of the pool, but once you figure out how to swim, you’ll have many more opportunities for it.
Maybe you’re like me and are weak on programming. Start by learning Groovy (something I very much need to do). Then progress to learning some of the configuration management tools like Terraform or Ansible (two of my favorites).
Or maybe you hate giving presentations. Well – work on that. Join Toastmasters if it’s available, or otherwise, give training and presentations regularly. Or maybe you have trouble writing – in which case, why not start a blog and post to it regularly – say once a week. Wednesdays at Noon…for example…
My point here is learning these skills may help you should a future without Atlassian come to pass, but they will also help you in your career in general. There is no harm in becoming more well-rounded, and it will only open more opportunities to you. However, my experience is most companies won’t let you experiment or learn too far outside your job, so it might have to happen on your own time.
So what do you think?
Are you scared for the future, excited, or are you just living in the moment? Let me know in the comment. You can also find me on Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, or Instagram, where you can get the latest from the Blog, new posts, surveys, and the latest news from the community. Don’t forget to comment and like while you are there to help others discover the blog!
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Also, did I mention the webinar? I spoke about that the past few weeks, so be sure to sign up! Last I heard, only 48 people have signed up, and I know there are many more of you out there who read this. Peter Byrne, Flora Rubio, Jeff Tomb, Kurt Klinner, and I will speak on how you can scale up your Jira instance to support your teams fully.
But until next time, my name is Rodney, asking, “Have you updated your Jira issues today?”