Should one specialize in a specific area of expertise or be a jack of all trades in today's world?
I have noticed many job descriptions that seem to want one person to do the job of many nowadays (often for financial reasons), but I'm convinced that this is not the best way to go.
What's your experience with this? Your opinions? Arguments?
it certainly pays to be a "jack" if you are a small business in growth stage...
I have worked with IT teams for several years, so I will share what I have observed. Technology has changed drastically in the last 20 years. Those who did not actively work on learning and growing ended up on small teams specializing in legacy systems, until their specialties became irrelevant.
The "general" skills I think benefit IT professionals are in the areas of organization, project management (essential), and communications. Whatever you're doing--whether it's writing a program or building a network--consider it from the user's point of view rather than your own. Being able to do that will already put you miles ahead of others who are focused on "just doing the job."
Don't let job descriptions alone convince you that businesses want just generalists. In every job I have held, the description asked for the moon and the stars. They might WANT everything, but my job is to help them identify their needs and translate those needs into measurable actions.
I feel that the world is seeking the jack-of-all-trade in an uncertain economy. Ironically, a jack-of-all-trade type of individuals often cost more as they will have a specific skill set that is THEIR strengths, the rest of their core responsibilities they will either be delivering sub-standard work or have long ramp up times to become efficient.
To me, the solution to a jack-of-all-trade in today's world is by partnering closely with like-minded individuals and business owners that can help you expand your offering. That way everyone is optimized and you're providing the best value to your customers.
It depends on one's inclination. We have specialized in every field but lack professional who specialized in Generalization that can co-ordinates with team of Specialized.
In my view, in one has an inclination of versatility of skill should explore all and be a jack of all trades.
Hello! After my experiences, I feel as though everyone is an expert in some way in certain, specific fields. However, companies in today's world SHOULD be looking for those "jack of all trades." Those seem to be the people who are the most excited about learning new tasks and wanting to master those to add to their list of trades. Not to say that experts in one field dont enjoy that challenge. In todays society you want someone with more experience in a variety of fields. Who knows, those experiences that may not seem relevant at the time could make all the difference in the future.
Thank you for your time!
The term 'jack of all trades' is pejorative in nature and infers that the person is therefore 'master of none'. In this modern economy, particularly in the fields of IT, software development or digital there is a purposeful movement towards generalists as opposed to specialists, and it has been demonstrated through emerging Agile processes in particular that the benefits and efficiencies that this approach returns is significantly better than hiring a team of specialists. A true Agile team for example would consist of a team of individuals who have under their belt operational knowledge of, for example, analysis, design, development and QA - with an emphasis on one of these fields. The benefit of this is that their is no 'slack' as tasks are moved through the team as any person can pick up any task and move it forward. I'm strongly of the opinion that generalism in this context is better than specialism.
I have numerous passions, Chef, Musician, mentoring. My profession as a leader utilizes all of these talents. Being a musician you talk to a lot of people so it helps when approaching clients and helps in human relations being comfortable to spark up a conversation with people. They feel comfortable talking to me. I am in the food industry so my culinary background is a great fit. Being a leader in my field, I have to understand three things, my customers, my employees, and food. So I believe that Jack of All trades works well.
Reading your comment added, your industry seems to have a more concentration on what you do.
I agree with you and Benoit. In my experience, one person can't be great at everything, so quality and productivity suffers when one person is expected to do so much.
I believe it's more beneficial to everyone when people get to focus on and expand their knowledge of a particular skill - that's what's working for me.
I agree, this question may be a bit too broad :)
I come from an IT industry, so my experience is mainly in that field.
As you mention, the industry you are in will make a difference in aswering the question, and it may be interesting to see which industries cater to an individual who can offer "multiple" trades.
I believe that if you hire someone to fill multiple positions, you could be potentially losing in productivity and quality, but that may not always be the most important aspect in a business.
I would estimate that this has everything to do with how good the person or company is at accomplishing what the client needs and also in what industry. A jack of all trades is still a really broad term as it is not possible to actually be a jack of ALL trades. If it is a restaurant wanting someone to take care of their books, that can also do design work and is an architect, then that could be a potential synergy, but no one is ever going to find someone that can do everything for them unless they are working with a company that provides business services. Generally, a company has affiliations with contractors, design companies etc and they are just really good at delegating and working with sub contractors. In this sense, I don't think it is a bad idea to be a "jack of all trades". To be a person that is trying to go around and say you can do anything would be difficult as your time would run out and how efficient can you really be if you are trying to do everything. If you are helping one company, it might work, but that person would probably be stretched too thin.
The important thing, no matter what trade a person aspires to offer as a service, is that they provide a service that they client likes. If that is the case, and the customers are happy, then I say it is the right path.
There are just too many questions to answer within your question. What industry? Is the jack of all trades a company or individual? How much experience do the jack of all trades have? There are so many unanswered questions that it is difficult to analyze.