On Being a Generalist
I blog about quite a few subjects. They are mostly software andtechnologyrelated but from time to time I talk about business or why youabsolutelyhave to put orange zest in cranberry orange muffins. Within the technology camp I talk about all sorts of things because I consider myself to be a generalist. I don’t want to be stuck using any one technology because I worry that something will happen to that technology and I’ll be unable to find a new job. Then I’ll be unable to work and things which just spiral down until I’m the star of some show on TLC: “TechWennie to Crack Deal” or “Early Adopter to Laggard:Victimsof Rogers Diffusion Model”
Sure there are some “safe” technologies like Oracle or SAP which areunlikelytodisappearbut you never know”¦ I think about Siverlight which was the future for many years until HTML5 pretty much killed it.
I think that being a generalist is a great move. I work with all sorts of technologies and it affords me the ability to apply ideas form one technology to another. I think I come up with someinterestingsolutions in a problem space because I’ve seen how it is done by people in an unrelated space. I am constantly exposed to things outside of my comfort zone, I’m always learning. However, it has its costs: I probably don’t earn anywhere near what I could as a deep specialist in a field. Because I have a lack of really deep knowledge I don’t have theopportunitiesto travel to conferences or give training as an expert. Basically I’m trading being a super-massive star with a short lifespan for being an average main sequence star with a long lifespan. I won’t shine as bright but I’m alsoprobablynot going to be on TLC.