Since the industrial revolution, the specialization of work has come into picture and this idea hasn’t stopped growing. The industries constantly seek to convert their work processes into specialized roles while automating the generalized roles. With the focus on specialization constantly increasing, the idea of success in the mind of people has become: learn more about your function, acquire “expert” status, and you’ll go further in your career.
Whilst this approach is valid for many areas, it is too one dimensional for the IT industry. IT is an innovation driven industry where the observed norm is that within 3 years a new technology pops up and within in 5 to 7 years older technology becomes obsolete. So not only does a person needs to gain domain knowledge but also constantly up-skill technically.
The Holy Grail for the IT industry in this scenario is a versatile specialist. A versatile specialist can be described as someone with strong core technical knowledge so that the person is adaptable to the latest development in technologies along with expertise in multiple functional domains. This can be described somewhat by the following figure.
The dark green square denotes a core technical expertise and the light green squares represent the expertise in multiple domains. Furthermore the blue squares represent a good knowledge of all the related domains in which the person has expertise and then we go one node further to the pink squares representing adequate knowledge in further related domains.
A jack of all trades and a specialist of none is now not good enough for anyone. We are living in an age of specialist and in the current environment with cut-throat competition where everyone is looking for even the slightest of advantage the role of a versatile specialist is becoming more and more prominent.