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Specialist Vs. Generalist

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#1 Guest_gooky_*


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Posted 29 August 2007 - 10:21 AM

I believe 100% happiness or success is not within reach of most of us in life. However, at least in IT, from your experience and based on your opinion, whose shoe would you rather be in? A specialist or generalist?

Personally, I know that no one can know everything. You can only be good in one or few things. You can't be good in a lot of things. Let me know your thoughts.

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#2 jhsmurray


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Posted 29 August 2007 - 11:16 AM

I suppose in order to be a specialist, you will first need to have a similar background of a generalist. That is, some general foundation of knowledge is required before specializing in one aspect of the field. In contrast I suppose it is up to the generalist to be able to provide references to a specialist - a specialist may only be able to refer back to a generalist if the needs are not met by his/her specialization. It is especially important to note that I have no idea of what I am talking about. :thumbsup:

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#3 jgweed


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Posted 29 August 2007 - 11:51 AM

JhsMurray makes some very good points. From my own experience, both are needed in the field; if you have ever sat through a three-hour interface meeting whilst staring at detailed charts and diagrammes, you will understand this. My own skill-sets and ways of thinking, working, and approaching problems and tasks make me a generalist, so I am good at what I do. That and the fact that I "stumbled into IT" from an entirely different field, and without any "professional" or technical credentials.
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#4 MattV


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Posted 30 August 2007 - 02:00 PM

I believe 100% happiness or success is not within reach of most of us in life.

It is. The secret lies in being happy with who you are, where you are, and what you do - right now. You can't be happy if you waste your energy wishing for things you don't have, or being envious of those that do have them. Just accept yourself, and be content.

Now, this is not to say that efforts to improve oneself or one's situation can be cast aside. Continue to strive to improve, while being content with where you are now.

Now, back to the original subject. :thumbsup:

I think a lot of people are specialists in one particular area, but generalists overall. For instance, I can do a lot of general maintenance to my car, but I wouldn't even think about fooling with the wiring. Thirty years ago, I had no problem with auto wiring, but today, with all of the inter-connected gadgets and gizmo's that cars have, I know I'd be inviting disaster if I started poking around.

I have a lot of general knowledge in a wide variety of subjects, but I would consider myself a specialist in only one or two. If I encounter a problem that is outside the scope of the knowledge I have, well, that's what specialists are for. :flowers:

Edited by MattV, 30 August 2007 - 02:01 PM.

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