Generalist vs Specialist

Do you prefer to be a generalist or a specialist?

Understanding knowledge and information would be beneficial for one. Other than technical skills, practical information is a necessary soft skill for having a better career.

Some people master a particular area, which could solve any specific problem in their circle of competence. A specialist doctor would understand diseases of an organ and could render effective treatment to patients.

On the other hand, a generalist, a person that could have a broad understanding of various topics. In a way, a generalist could be a practical person who enables one to find topics to talk about due to broad topic exposure. In a way, these people have no specific strength in a particular field.

With the limited time that everyone has, one needs to choose a career path, a specialist or generalist. Being a specialist, one needs to dedicate his time to master the skill. Whilst a generalist would need to get the exposure that could broaden his skills set. Therefore, is there a rule of thumb or a definite answer for choosing which path?

When one lives in a small community, one needs to have a versatile skill due to the lack of proper division of labour. In this situation, then becoming a generalist would be in the upper hand. The versatile skills would help one to survive and compete in a small community.

However, the improvement of society has divided the job in a specific way, where the training is to solve a particular problem. Being a specialist is not only able to solve an issue adequately. It could also help to the improvement of general society.

In this fast-paced era where the technology and skill demand updated at an unprecedented rate, a particular skill-set may not be used in the next two decades. Therefore, in a way, one should be a specialist while should not ignore any potential for expanding one’s skill. Therefore, a proper balance of a generalist and specialist could be the best for one’s development.

“Generalize and specialize could take time. A mixture of both could make one excellent in a way.”

What are the skills that you want to learn broadly and deeply?

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