The Generalizing Specialist: The Key To Success

Generalizing specialist

A generalizing specialist is simply someone who is multi-skilled. Such an individual can be a specialist in one or more technical disciplines while at the same time actively seeks to expand their skill set, which spans across different areas besides their present specialties. Generalizing specialists are also referred to as cross-functional developers, multi-disciplinary developers, and versatilists.

While they can become more skilled with time, don’t mistake them to be super skilled in every discipline. However, their technical knowledge and general software development knowledge, as well as a good understanding of their relevant business domains, can be critical to getting things done in real-time. The person can easily be redeployed based on the changes in business strategy or other necessary requirements to remain competitive.

Benefits being a generalizing specialist

We live in a fast-changing industry, where being a specialist in just a single discipline alone may not cut it in the larger scheme of things. Since generalizing specialists have knowledge on a broad range of issues, they can see the bigger picture and help make better decisions for greater productivity. As such, the available job opportunities will likely be more compared to specialists. Better yet, you will be able to attract better job offers.

Importance of generalizing specialists

Generalizing specialists are essential to developing high-performing agile teams in companies, and here are some of the reasons they are considered the key to success.

• Better collaboration

While a company will have different departments, they will be connected with others and geared towards accomplishing the same end goal. Communication and collaboration within the teams involved are important elements to achieving that goal, and this is something most specialists aren’t good at. When you don’t have a good understanding of how everything fits together, it’s very easy to look down on what your teammates are doing. Working together effectively might prove a challenging task.

Generalizing specialists are more likely to appreciate the work of others simply because they have a good grasp of different technical and domain disciplines. Their background allows them to understand the issues teammates are trying to find solutions to.

• Improved flexibility

The IT industry, by its very nature, faces significant changes that serious businesses must comply with to remain relevant. With a generalizing specialist, dynamic transition and allocation of the new tasks wouldn’t be a huge problem. Things would look quite different if a team is built of specialists that are just accustomed to doing the same type of tasks over and over again. In fact, this is considered to be risky, as it can result in productivity loss.

• Increased efficiency

Generalizing specialists bring less dependency, which can go a long way in increasing efficiency and productivity. The problem when working with specialists is that they can easily become bottlenecks, especially when they have a lot on their plate. There’s a good chance that multiple development teams will be looking up to the specialist, and this can negatively affect the overall team efficiency.

Conclusion

Generalizing specialists are surely taking over. There’s room for some specialists within IT departments, but as things look at the moment, more departments are moving towards becoming more agile. It’s not unlikely to see only a few specialists survive in the information technology industry over time.

As a technologist, How to work as a craftsman

How Technologist Can Work as A Craftsman
Craftsmanship

How Technologist Can Work as A Craftsman

Change is good, effective and positive change is even better. Recently, just about all over the place, “Service Persons” are being mentioned to as “techs” which is an abbreviated form for a technologist. The model description of the technologist is stated as “Professional in industrial procedures; a person who is accomplished in industrial methods or the excellent hands-on application of a skill. A technologist could also be described an individual who is vastly skilled; someone who has become skilled at a process or other specific expertise at the highest level. It is true times change, but not all things change for the best. Taking a new name on a traditional title is nothing, if not puzzling. The variance between a Technologist and Craftsman largely hang on who we are talking about.

A World of Difference

According to the typical characterization, a technologist is theoretically a master at his selected field.  So, who is a craftsman? A craftsman is someone who makes things by hand, and it could also be a person who creates practical objects expertly by hand. Every craftsman is Skillful and does things with great skill and expertise. Which is more precise when used in our craft? If you look at both descriptions, it is quite obvious that they are correct. In actual fact, using these explanations we could create a new designation, “Tech-Craftsman.” Below are some few ideas every technologist can use to work effectively as a craftsman:

  • Keep reusable code samples
  • Keep reusable useful techniques for expediting work and problem solving
  • Learn shortcut keys for your applications
  • Master some common software tools and techniques for your craft
  • Use of Time

Keep reusable code samples

As a technologist, what makes us stand apart is simply the ability to manipulates our computers or machines to produce a certain desired result or effects. A craftsman knows the ins and out of a process. They can repeat such process a thousand times and still achieve excellent results. As Technologist seeking the skills of a craftsman, you need to be certain of codes and functions that works every time. The challenge is to understand how to reuse codes samples and keep them in use to tackle various issues. This could be small scale or large scale, but showing a high level of proficiency is needed every time similar problems occurs. The problem here is not what to call somebody, it is what the individual having the title do to hold the position. In today’s market, most corporations call their employees techs; not HVAC specialists, not plumbers, …. just techs. In accordance with the descriptions given earlier, one would always expect an exceedingly skilled craftsman to come to his or her doorstep, completely ready to handle any issue within the scope of their elected job. The realism is quite diverse.

Keep Reusable Useful Techniques for Expediting Work and Problem Solving

A true technologist has a broad, almost complete, tradeable knowledge of how various components come together to achieve the desired output. You do not have to be limited to a thin job explanation. Believe me, a technologist can become more of a craftsman by keeping reusable useful techniques for expediting work and problem-solving. A craftsman understands a system from the underground and knows how its working principles. Promoting the reusability of useful techniques as a technologist, as opposed to minor portions of a trade education to fit a business is one answer to the issue.

Learn Shortcut Keys for Your Applications

Yes, learn shortcuts. To learn shortcut keys for your applications is also a way of showing a high level of mastery for a field. Applications like AutoCAD, MATLAB, Visual Studio and other top programming application can save you a whole lot of time with the use of shortcuts. A craftsman is always crafty and is always looking for ways to produce excellent results within the shortest period. Inadequate use of these shortcut keys can often cause delay and reduced efficiency in terms of output. Business being what it is these days cannot expect to demand less experienced technologist to run certain key positions. If it does happen, there would be lesser trades challenging for the best output technologically, and noticeably fewer licensed operations out there. So, with excellent use of shortcut as technologist can improve your work as a craftsman.

Master Some Common Software Tools and Techniques for Your Craft

As an example, a technologist can be trained to handle a certain type of common software tools and techniques functioning for just an area or specialization, but what about the other areas? Without a working knowledge of the inherent characteristics of such Software, how can you be considered a technologist? You have seen it before, a technologist with vast knowledge in AutoCAD can simulate a large bore mechanism to carry out a number of things comfortable but a web programmer cannot pick up same software and achieve the same results within similar time frames. This is simply mastering the software tools and techniques needed for your craft (and area of specialization) which are transferable between customers and customers. Yes, these things can be effectively taught. At some point, though, technologist would need other software tools and parts when going outside his knowledge base or performing smaller DIY projects.

Use of Time

Becoming a technologist who can work effectively as a craftsman, boils down more on investing in yourself and improving your skill set in your chosen craft. At this point, you become a valuable investment to your firm and your industry at large. Trying to get the best for consumer could also lead to more innovations and creativity within the process as you can easily go through and make effective modifications that are cost effective. With the dawn of the explosion of the DIY market, a technologist with very creative minds can create new products to simply any process. These encourage and make our jobs as technologist easier as anyone with a bit of physical technological talent can create things that work. The only complications that can arise are not dedicating enough time to even begin or complete your overall skill improvement, learning process, and working. The time available might not be enough, but it is all we have got to improve.

Summary and Conclusion

Without technologist with excellent craftsman skills, most industries would have depleted manpower. This is further weakened by individuals who have no thoughtful information of, or invested in the process or technique but have the resources to start up a tech company hiring low-quality technologists to meet the needs of their customer base.

Related References

Craftsmanship – 10,000 hours

In his book, “Outliers: The Story of Success”, Malcolm Gladwell wrote that it takes 10,000 hours to master any task.

while, disputed, realistically, this rule means to say the mastery of a skill:

  • takes time,
  • requires practice/repetition,
  • required focus, and
  • must is earned through effort

Please, understand that other concepts are applicable and that all skills and knowledge are perishable and permeable.

Related References

Craftsmanship Quote – On Knowing and Doing

“Do the best you can until you know better. Then when you know better, do better.” – Maya Angelou

Craftsmanship Quote – Using Knowledge

“Craftsmanship isn’t like water in an earthen pot, to be taken out by the dipperful until it’s empty. No, the more drawn out the more remains.”
― Lloyd AlexanderTaran Wanderer