Great article on IT Generalist vs. Specialist

lsud00dlsud00d Posts: 1,571Member
IT Generalists and Specialists | SMB IT Journal

This was a really interesting read and the author makes some great points. This topic comes up a good bit here so I'd recommend anyone who's pondered the topic to give it a whirl.
Both career paths offer rewarding and broad options but the choice between them does play a rather significant role in deciding the flavor of a career. Generalists, beyond gravitating towards smaller businesses, will also likely picking up a specialization in an industry over time as they move into higher salary ranges (manufacturing, medical, professional services support, legal, etc.)

Specialists will find their focus is in their technology and their focus on market will be less. Generalist will find it easier to find work in any given local market, specialists will find that they often need to move to major markets and potentially only the core markets will provide great growth opportunities but within those markets mobility and career flexibility will be very good. Generalists have to work hard to keep up with a broad array of technologies and changes in the market. Specialists will often have deep vendor resources available to them and will find the bulk of their educational options come directly from the vendors in their focus area.

Comments

  • anoeljranoeljr Posts: 278Member
    Thanks for this lsud00d. Very informative.
  • Danielm7Danielm7 Posts: 2,228Member ■■■■■■■□□□
    It's dead on about the titles too. I've worked in a number of smaller companies and been everything from Systems admin, to systems engineer, to IT manager (that doesn't manage people) and most of them were doing roughly the same job. On the plus side as I'm moving into a more specialized role (security) I'm finding the generalist background is very helpful, even in interviews, because knowing some of how everything works is very helpful in figuring out things in your specialty.
  • pinkydapimppinkydapimp Posts: 732Member
    Danielm7 wrote: »
    It's dead on about the titles too. I've worked in a number of smaller companies and been everything from Systems admin, to systems engineer, to IT manager (that doesn't manage people) and most of them were doing roughly the same job. On the plus side as I'm moving into a more specialized role (security) I'm finding the generalist background is very helpful, even in interviews, because knowing some of how everything works is very helpful in figuring out things in your specialty.

    I definitely agree with this. Having a broad base of knowledge early on allows you to be more flexible as you specialize. At least in my case.
  • aspiringsoulaspiringsoul Posts: 314Member
    I recommend becoming a generalist first, then get a taste for what you really like, whether it's Microsoft, Cisco, VMWare, or Security and then seek to specialize in whatever area you enjoy the most.

    Just my 2 cents.
    Education: MS-Information Security and Assurance from Western Governors University, BS-Business Information Systems from Indiana Wesleyan University, AAS-Computer Network Systems - ITT Tech,
  • hustlerb01hustlerb01 Posts: 16Banned ■□□□□□□□□□
    its very accurate what was said :)
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