Hugo Martins

Generalism vs Speciality

Note: This is mostly a brain dump with no coherence whatsoever.

For most of my life I’ve been a generalist. I’ve been a jack of all trades. I know enough about a lot of different subjects that can help me fix things but I don’t have deep, or even below, the surface knowledge on most things.

There are some consequences to this:

  • Impostor syndrome. It happens a lot to me. When you feel that you are not worthy of being congratulated by your achievements because “it was just a little thing”.
  • Having trouble focusing one only one thing at a time. My mind just wanders too much.
  • Not being able to actually learn something new properly because you are only just being pulled from all places as the guy that knows a lot.

This is just draining but I really like to be a generalist. I like learning new things and I like knowing how to fix issues.

I don’t think there’s a right way to go about it, it is really just a matter of personality but I think both types of people are really important in the current state of affairs. We need people that are very specialized in something but once in a while, more frequently than not, we need people that are simply jacks of all trades and lot some things about a lot o subjects.

Both are equally interesting. Both are equally relevant.

With that said I personally thinks being a generalist fits my personality because I find interest in a lot of things and I like reading and absorbing information from a lot of different sources. I like to be able to connect different ideas from separate, distinct, areas and integrate them to build something new.

I think I’d like this to be the year in which I try to focus a little more on specific topics, just to feel like I actually can write code in a language or use a specific framework without feeling eternally like an impostor.