Versatile vs Vanilla Engineering
For me, Engineering has always been about tackling tough/tricky problems. When I worked as a freelancer, I almost never got the "vanilla" gigs because I charged an above-average rate. In my corporate roles, I loved getting the interesting projects: stuff that other Engineers sometimes avoided because they required creative mental effort.
A versatile Engineer (aka Hacker/Maker) is someone who has the most fun when tackling challenging technical tasks.
Here's a partial list of unique problems I've solved over the years using a diverse set of technologies (NodeJS, Python, .NET, PHP):
.NET WPF Desktop App to hook into an Enterprise ERP Application to automate tasks for power users.
A CLI Tool in NodeJS to handle data import and export for an Enterprise SaaS software system.
A Python desktop App to post Product data and images with categories to an e-commerce system.
Magento mass import for 25K+ complex, configurable products with nested categories and images including upsells, cross-sells, related products, videos & size charts. Used SOAP and XML data transfer over SSH (SFTP) using PHP.
Tiny Python ORM (< 1k LOC) to handle CRUD for pre-existing databases.
Generate PDF reports using ReportLab (Python open-source library) for complex tabular data with subtotals & paging etc.
Convert web pages to PDF including hi-res images for real estate listings.
Webscraping complex product data (15K+ products collated from multiple web pages) into a database.
Rescuing legacy data from a MS SQL server into MySQL using a REST-based data pump.
Python Desktop thin-clients to provide real-time updates to manage/track a wood-working shopfloor with 20+ Stations, 10+ unique product routes (including loops, re-works and rush jobs) with the ability to collect metrics on data flow.