Updated: Nov 22, 2021
In the present scenario, as the people moving towards their career beginning they stuck in choosing whether to go for Generalization or Specialization. Only that time it presented itself as a choice. Most of us have been at this crossroads of our career where we had to choose a path of either becoming a generalist or a specialist. This isn’t an easy choice, especially given the current level of competition in the market. So, what’s the answer? Or, is there really an answer? Maybe, we do not really have a choice. Let’s find out!
The generally known meaning of generalists is, “jack - of - all - trades, master-of - none." A generalist has a broad range of skills and experience of a specific field.
Advantages of generalization:
1. More job options.
2. Can switch careers easily.
3. Organization leaders excel better if they are generalists because they need to have a basic understanding of all the jobs in their company.
4. More probability of learning continuously about related things.
5. More scope for growth and improvement.
6. Less risky because demand will always be there.
Disadvantages of generalization:
1. the most universal critique against generalists is they sacrifice depth for breadth.
2. Generalists, who work for various positions with relatively defined responsibilities, may find job security iffy.
3. No clarity while searching for a job as there are too many options.
People who specialize have one skill (or a few) that they do better and faster than anyone else. In a company, the specialist becomes the go-to person for a specific area.
Advantages of specialization:
Specialist has marketable job skills that can merit employment in any number of industries.
1. The esoteric knowledge of a specialist adds value and wealth for a company.
2. Job satisfaction is a by-product of specialization. Specialist usually enjoys their work and gain satisfaction from solving problems.
3. A specialist career often leads to higher earnings.
Disadvantages of specialization :
1. doing the same work over and over can lead to boredom.
2. Today’s valued skill today can quickly become tomorrow’s buggy whip.
3. The narrow field and a specific skill set of a specialist can result in career inflexibility.
4. Although specialists can expect better earnings, a narrowly defined job means fewer job openings.
The choice between these is itself a contradiction because you shouldn’t have to make that choice. It all depends on your passion, your interests, and your personality. If your curiosity and passion leads you to explore a topic in-depth and extensively, so be it! Become an expert in that field. But, if you do not identify with any such passion or interests, starting as generalist is your only option. Forcing yourself into any of these two paths will prove to be unfair as well as disadvantageous.
Ideally, the middle path is the best one if you REALLY want an answer. A combination of generalist and a specialist! Be a generalist in your skills but a specialist in your subject. Let passion drive you as a specialist but always adopt an approach of a generalist.