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Michael Whitis
Michael Whitis

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Is the idea of an tech "generalist" dead?

I'm a 20+ year veteran of the tech industry. 18 of those years have been at a large fortune 500 company. I've always considered myself a generalist rather than a specialist because I've always had many irons in the fire.

For example, at one point, I was doing the following (amongst other things):

  • Managing middleware and servers for a legacy application
  • Coding updates for the legacy application
  • Managing 3 teams of developers
  • Designing and coding the legacy application's replacement
  • Designing and implementing an Azure infrastructure
  • Designing and implementing an AWS infrastructure for another project

Looking at new roles, it seems like everything is very specialized, and I'm not seeing these types of generalist roles that I had in the past. I'm guessing this is a result of an agile/devops mindset that hadn't quite made it into my teams.

Curious to hear from other folks what they're seeing, and if there's any life in a generalist career.

Top comments (1)

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Alex Fedorov

I don’t think Agile/DevOps mindset could result in fewer generalists and more specialist roles, to be honest.

Broken “Agile/DevOps” just might.

The most efficient teams I’ve ever seen are full of generalists where each person has a unique skill that is stronger than it is in others. But people never shy of work not in their area of expertise. In fact, these teams used what I call true Agile/DevOps—extreme programming.