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  1. #11
    pathwise dependent FDG's Avatar
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    Depends on what you are better suited for. A natural generalist will be a rather crappy specialist. However, you have to take into account that there are niches that for specialization require integration of a large number of subjects; moreover, unless your aim is to be come the most specialized of the world, if you're smart enough you may be able to become a specialist without sacrificing general knowledge.
    ENTj 7-3-8 sx/sp

  2. #12
    Senior Member animenagai's Avatar
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    i'm a jack of all trades ENFP, but i definitely see the worth in have a specialty. in a world of capitalism and division of labor, it pays to have a specialty.

  3. #13
    ish red no longer *sad* nightning's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jack Flak View Post
    Of course there are cases where that is so. Fewer today than a hundred years ago, or ten thousand years ago.
    True.

    Quote Originally Posted by Hmm View Post
    Specialists get more respect and make more money but they aren't having more fun.
    Where is the respect coming from? Because they can do something few others can do?

    Quote Originally Posted by IlyaK1986 View Post
    Generalist. Specialist out of element=fucked.
    *nods* Too narrow a field and you lose flexibility to adapt in change. Good point.

    Quote Originally Posted by whatever View Post
    both are necissary, as kyuuei pointed out...

    I can't be anything but a generalist (or as my mom calls me "a jack of all trades and master of none" )... there's too many interesting things out there to try and learn some about!

    I'm glad that some people have the ability to concentrate down into a specialization though- it makes the medical practices more precise (and more expensive )
    *nods* I share the sentiment with both of you.

    Quote Originally Posted by Peguy View Post
    Interesting, I was just about to post a thread with a similar theme.

    Both are necessary, and we need a more balanced respect for both approaches. Sadly we've tipped the scales insanely in favor of the specialist - the point we have specialists who specialise in nothing.
    I'm actually planning on writing something up relating to the scale being completely imbalanced in favor for specialists. Science is one. Research is great, but the knowledge never reaches far beyond people in the specific field. I wince every time I see people misuse research findings for their own purposes and the public eating it up. The second is in web design and development. The sentiments there is you ought to be in one or the other. But there's a niche market for generalists... people never acknowledge the factor though. That's why I started this topic to ask people's opinions and get more ideas.

    As for me, Im a staunch generalist. As the old saying goes: "Jack of all trades, master of none, though often better than a master of one."
    I did not realize there's more to the saying... heh! Thank you.

    Quote Originally Posted by Aimahn View Post
    I've actually had this as a recurring topic in a lot of my thoughts for a while now. I think there are a lot of relations and connections to be made with this timeless topic. Off the top of my head is creativity and forward movement and progress in industries and careers.
    *nods* That is the main problem I see for web design/dev. It's a field subjected to massive changes. I thought it ought to be sensible to have at least a basic understanding of the whole... It's all interconnected! But the community seems to disagree. Many of the designers are clueless when it comes to even HTML, let alone front-end dev. So you get projects from the dev team pass on to the design team to "pretty up". That's about all the interactions the two gets. :rolli:

    What about specialization and generalization from youth?
    I think you ought to at least try a little bit of everything to figure out what you want before you specialize. It makes very little sense for a youth to specialize right off the bat. Crippling your foundation really.

    Do you think the trade offs vary based at what stage you decide to go in one direction or the other?
    Well they do say the older you get, the less easily you can adapt to change. Being a generalist, you must adapt to change. So people tend to specialize as they get older...

    Is there sort of a potentiating effect with each one. That is to say is it necessary to specialize in order to understand the worthwhile generations you can make or vice versa.
    Not especially. People tend to forget that the difference between specialist vs generalist is only in whether people recognize the field as being "specialized" or not. A generalist can actually be doing a very "specific" job, it just doesn't have a name attached to it per se. In a company, the generalists will best serve as facilitators to coordinate the different teams of specialists.

    Another example, 10 years or so back... Web design and development didn't even exist as a field. But with the start of the internet era, you get people with different backgrounds, often generalists taking up the new niche. Then suddenly overtime, it became a specialty. Do you see where I'm getting at? They're just names... both are equally important and will serve just as well without the labelling.

    In terms of education what should the focus be on?

    Do you think a country's education is at cause for developing individuals in one way or the other?
    Education is whatever the individual needs right? But the current system does have a heavy emphasis on specializing. After all special schools for individual fields are easy enough to set up, a "generalist" school is a lot more difficult. About the only ones I can think of is in my knowledge is something like the integrated science program at my university. It's definitely a minority.

    I'm mentally tired right now, and not feeling very articulate so sorry for the copout answer.
    I think the questions are helpful in understanding the issue. Thanks!

    Quote Originally Posted by FDG View Post
    Depends on what you are better suited for. A natural generalist will be a rather crappy specialist. However, you have to take into account that there are niches that for specialization require integration of a large number of subjects; moreover, unless your aim is to be come the most specialized of the world, if you're smart enough you may be able to become a specialist without sacrificing general knowledge.
    Exactly what I was getting at. The distinction between the two blurs in a fast paced environment. The way the economy is going, the wider your skill set, the more likely you're to survive. I seriously think some specialists are screwing themselves not thinking about alternatives.

    Okay... so it seems like everybody likes generalists. Funny I would have thought there'll be more disagreement.

    Any specialists around that wants to list out reasons as to why they specialized?

  4. #14
    Senior Member INTJMom's Avatar
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    ...
    As an INTJ, I tend to specialize because I only want to do something I can be competent at.
    ...


  5. #15
    Senior Member Angry Ayrab's Avatar
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    screw it, I am going to be an orthopedic spine surgeon, just so I can say I am, and then go back and work in a FP clinic.

  6. #16

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    We're all specialists, whether we like it or not.

    We only have access to one life-time's worth of activity. We will generally have interests in some things but not others.

    A "generalist" is a mythical creature, IMO.

    With that said, particular pre-defined "fields" are a different matter all-together. Most advancements, breakthroughs, and paradigm shifting comes from the "boundaries" of these fields...or a "combination" of "fields."

    So I think the better question is whether it is better to work in predefined fields or on something custom tailored for your own interests.

    It is much easier to find work in predefined fields, but I think it is better in the long term to do something more tailored for yourself.

    Accept the past. Live for the present. Look forward to the future.
    Robot Fusion
    "As our island of knowledge grows, so does the shore of our ignorance." John Wheeler
    "[A] scientist looking at nonscientific problems is just as dumb as the next guy." Richard Feynman
    "[P]etabytes of [] data is not the same thing as understanding emergent mechanisms and structures." Jim Crutchfield

  7. #17
    No moss growing on me Giggly's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by nightning View Post
    Okay... so it seems like everybody likes generalists. Funny I would have thought there'll be more disagreement.
    I prefer specialists.

  8. #18
    Senior Member Grayscale's Avatar
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    to be most efficient, one would need knowledge to handle what is likely to occur.

    generalizing and specializing are sort of the same thing if you look at it this way, it is inefficient to take the time to learn something that you are not likely to get a positive return on in the long run, whether that knowledge is very deep, or very wide. it is a waste of time for me to know very specific information about the bumps and facets of human bones if i will probably only use that information once or twice in my lifetime (if ever) for the same reason it is a waste of time for me to know even the basics of underwater basket weaving.

    i say, neither! simply put, only know what you need to know.

  9. #19
    ish red no longer *sad* nightning's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ygolo View Post
    With that said, particular pre-defined "fields" are a different matter all-together. Most advancements, breakthroughs, and paradigm shifting comes from the "boundaries" of these fields...or a "combination" of "fields."
    Mind if I steal that idea?

    It is much easier to find work in predefined fields, but I think it is better in the long term to do something more tailored for yourself.
    Good enough a reason... laziness. Although it's not the first thing that comes to mind when it comes to being in a specialized field.

    Quote Originally Posted by Grayscale View Post
    to be most efficient, one would need knowledge to handle what is likely to occur.

    generalizing and specializing are sort of the same thing if you look at it this way, it is inefficient to take the time to learn something that you are not likely to get a positive return on in the long run, whether that knowledge is very deep, or very wide. it is a waste of time for me to know very specific information about the bumps and facets of human bones if i will probably only use that information once or twice in my lifetime (if ever) for the same reason it is a waste of time for me to know even the basics of underwater basket weaving.

    i say, neither! simply put, only know what you need to know.
    *smacks head* Darn ISTPs never answers the question like they're suppose to.

  10. #20

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    Quote Originally Posted by nightning View Post
    Mind if I steal that idea?
    Sure. I wouldn't be the first person to say that.

    Accept the past. Live for the present. Look forward to the future.
    Robot Fusion
    "As our island of knowledge grows, so does the shore of our ignorance." John Wheeler
    "[A] scientist looking at nonscientific problems is just as dumb as the next guy." Richard Feynman
    "[P]etabytes of [] data is not the same thing as understanding emergent mechanisms and structures." Jim Crutchfield

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