Friday, November 7, 2008

Generalist Improved

In Track & Field you have two types of Athletes, those who do Heptathlon or Decathlon and the others. In the IT these two types were also used: Specialists and Generalists. There was also a division between useful (Specialist) and useless (Generalist). Specialists being the Gurus in their field of expertise; Unix Specialists, who knew every secret about a specific Operatings System, Java Experts who were familiar with all classes, methods and objects.

That these people knew very little about project-, change- & release management, communication, business requirements, architecture principles, etc. was not an issue. For that you had the Generalists who took care of that not so important stuff.

In a blog from Tarry Singh I came across the term Versatilist, which was first used by Gartner. According to Gartner; "Versatilists are able to apply a depth of skill to a progressively widening scope of situations and experiences, equally at ease with technical issues as with business strategy."

If there ever was a term that could be applied to an Infrastructure Tester, this would the correct one. The need for Deep Knowledge, but also the sense of Architecture, Processes and Procedures, etc. , anything needed to get the job done. Like Heptathletes and Decathletes performing well in various disciplines instead of excelling in one.

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