“The specialist vs. generalist debate has raged on, throughout many fields, for ages. I think it’s clear that there isn’t any answer to this debate, and that’s just fine, the debate has been and probably will continue to be an interesting one that doesn’t need, or have, an absolute answer. Having said that, I think what truly matters is a genuine interest and passion for what you’re doing, not so much the depth and breath of your skill set.
I know many successful generalists and more than a few successful specialists. But does it really matter one way or the other? Is it better to be specialized? Do you have to be specialized in order to advance your skills? Do generalists have more fun? I don’t think so. If there is an answer to these questions it’s likely the ever cliched ‘it depends.’
Depends on the person, the position, the organization, budgets, work load, team make up, et cetera.
The specialist vs. generalist argument really boils down to this: What really matters is your passion for your work, the rest is just a heaping pile of ‘it depends.’ …
Skills can be learned. Programming, design, writing, project management; all of these things can be practiced and developed. A true desire to succeed, passion for your work, a solid work ethic; these are harder to come by.
Bottom-line: if you’re willing to work hard, practice, learn and bring passion to the table every day you should do well, either as a specialist or as a generalist.”
D. Keith Robinson, Designer