"Most of our lives are about proving something, either to ourselves or to someone else."
In an interview, it is the job of the interviewee to portray themselves as worthy of employment; the interviewer should not believe a single word. I prove myself by concentrating on the task itself, confident that my employer trusts my decisions. My past is an unbroken record of solid results spanning the gamut from optimization to standardization.
My skill, my proof, comes from my ability to research and find unique solutions to difficult problems. Sometimes this means automation. Other situations call for a customized roadmap to transform a slapdash system into something that can be deployed at the press of a button. I won't hesitate to write custom software if necessary, either. The trick is producing the desired result, and my requisite tool chest is vast.
"Experts and specialists lead you quickly into chaos. They are a source of useless nit-picking, the ferocious quibble over a comma."
-- Frank Herbert
A good programmer or DBA does not simply leverage one language or technique, they encourage basic language types, or the overall concept of data interaction. A person with these skills is system ambivalent, and any experience they have in one area overlaps greatly with others. Given a manual on an API in a language I've never used, I've been known to write superior applications in mere days. I was never formally trained in database management, but I've been described by colleagues and supervisors as the best DBA they know.
While I don't necessarily agree with acclaim at my supposed prowess, the perception is that my approach works on several fundamental levels. To a generalist, this is no accident.
"Imagination is more important than knowledge."
-- Albert Einstein
My skill, my asset to an employer is not merely my experience. What I offer is the ability to think and analyze around problems, to create solutions where none existed before. I write infrastructure, layout, and design into my projects. I document my thought process as well as the code so it may be useful to others. I imagine many aspects of everything I do, and love team environments that have brainstorming sessions because it fosters scalable and creative design.
My best tool of trade is my brain and my imagination. The languages I have learned are simply how I express my thoughts. Python, Perl, C/C++, Java, Pascal, Ada, PHP; none of them are important. My skill lies in the fact that to me, everything is equal until they are weighed against each other for the needs of the company and project at hand.
Call me a solution consultant.