My mentees often ask me which is a better option for them when they are trying to make a successful career, being a generalist or a specialist?
This debate has been around for a very long time in the industry, and it confuses many people especially young software engineers as they develop skills for a career in tech. Well, the answer completely depends on you, whether you want specialization or generalization.
As a technology leader, I believe that Generalization shapes you to tackle multiple and complex challenges while specialization narrows down your knowledge power, and potential.
In this week’s Letter from my desk, I will share my insights on whether a software engineer should specialize or generalize in his professional journey.
Begin your career with a specialization
Software Engineering is a career that demands specialization to kick start your career. One must be an expert in at least one programming language and ability to solve complex problems using Algorithms. Additionally, in the early stages of your career, no one will put you in a managerial post where you have to manage multiple operations. It is better to focus on the specialization of one-two domain in the beginning and then slowly expand your expertise in other domains.
Switch Gears to Generalization as you grow
This might confuse you a little bit, but it is imperative to understand the importance of continuous learning. Even though you focus on becoming a domain expert in the beginning, always remember that cycle of the tech industry has no breaks.
If you don’t spend time updating yourself on new trends and domains, you might lose a chance of generalization in the future. Therefore, spend some time building other skills such as soft skills, particularly useful in managerial roles, or hard skills like new frameworks. This will definitely help you in the future.
Let me know your thoughts on my insights and suggestions in the comment section.