Do companies value employees with a diverse set of skills?

The short answer is No. The long answer is that the real benefits will be enjoyed by you in your own career, not through rewards by a single company.

In my own experience working in big companies, I often find that my *peers* really appreciate having a lot of different skills.

For example, experience as a founder gave me a strong product sense, which fellow PMs appreciate...
Product sense is really helpful to an engineer because it means you can keep the broader product strategy in mind with every line of code you write.

You can infuse it into your team meetings to help spread it.

You can give feedback and advise to help *form* the strategy too!
My passion for design meant that I would implement designs with every last detail in mind.

One time a designer said she was blown away by my question to her about animating specific gradient points in a single button she designed...
She noted that normally she's happy if an engineer even respects her font weights!

Every team and situation is different, but folks typically don't get to work with engineers that care about things like design or product.

If you become one of them, you'll be highly appreciated.
However, being appreciated by peers is different than being appreciated by the company!

When it comes to being *measured* for these kinds of skills, I often found they didn't help me at all. Typical engineering 'metrics' for performance don't include 'product sense'.
So if you are going to focus on other skills, the reason to do this should be because it expands your own skillset. It will pay off in the long term as you compound your own skills.

Don't expect to get rewarded as much in a big company for a mix of different skills.
By contrast, startups seem like the perfect place to have a generalist approach, right?

This is only partially true. I do think there is more of an expectation of 'full stack' engineers for example...

BUT the specific skills that are needed depend on the startup, not you.
So you can definitely expand your skills in a startup, but they likely won't be your choice. This is important to note!

If you're trying to expand into design but the startup needs you to focus on management, you're probably going into management.

Tradeoffs to keep in mind.
Ultimately, the biggest returns on your investment of self-diversification will come to you directly.

You'll build a set of mental models in your toolbelt, you'll find more meaningful kinds of work, and you'll have more fun.
You can follow @daretorant.
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