What shape are you in? Speaking personally, I drink too much coffee and get too little sleep. But that’s not really what I mean. I’m talking primarily about your skill-set.

Historically we’ve been an industry of specialists – you were either front end or back end, you might be a Flash ninja or a JavaScript guru, whatever. Fundamentally you would have deep skills in one particular area. As a result you could, if you so wished, sit in your own fiefdom and not worry too much about the stuff that went on outside.

Of course, as anyone who’s been around the block a few times will know – things change. HTML 3.2 has been eclipsed by 4 and now 5. CSS is evolving as is JavaScript. New devices are emerging all the time. Nothing stays the same for long.

For me, it’s one of the things that makes the industry so exciting. But increasingly it’s also demanding that developers become more multi-skilled (or at the very least have a deeper appreciation for the skills that sit outside their own specialisms). And to thrive in a highly changeable future, you need to spread your bets.

A number of years back, some clever and no-doubt highly-paid consultant at McKinsey & Co came up with the notion of the T-shaped person (find a good explanation of it here). Essentially this is someone who has deep skills in one particular area but also has a wider understanding and empathy for other areas they come into contact with. Areas they can then apply their own vertical skills to in order to create a better solution to whatever challenges they’re facing.

So take us web-type people. These days of course you’ll need all the usual HTML and CSS skills. Perhaps some Sever Side skills. But if you haven’t done so already, you should also be adding an appreciation of user experience, touch interfaces, context-driven animations and what JavaScript can do beyond simple image hovers. You’ll need to understand how to develop for devices where every decision has an affect on battery life. And you’ll need to be able to solve problems caused by any number of factors.

Ultimately it’s the end consumer that has the greatest influence on what skills will be valued in the future. The sites and apps we build will revolve around their needs (not what we happen to be good at). So to ensure your career is as future-proofed as possible, it’s time to get seriously T-shaped.

Over to you. Apart from the skills listed above, what else do you think developers need to get T-shaped about?