IT Staff becoming generalists

For years now I have observed that most IT staff are moving in the direction of becoming generalists whether they realize it or not.  This is nicely illustrated by this post by Brian madden where he quotes Citrix:

IT professionals are more and more becoming “generalists,” so it’s important that the products that Citrix makes are easier to architect and use

One of the commenter’s on the post was none too happy, saying:

Citrix better explain the comment that we are becoming more “generalists.”  This is an offensive statement to anyone in the IT profession. Things are not getting easier…..they are getting more complex. Just look at how simplistic Metaframe 1.8 was compared to Presentation Server 4.5. With each new version comes more features and more complexity.

This statement must have come from Citrix marketing. Citrix marketing is often confused and distorted. Look at all the name changes of the products over the years.

Brian has the perfect follow up comment:

I was in the session, along with maybe 200 attendees. The speaker asked how many people in the audience thought that their jobs were becoming more specialized, and no hands went up. Then he asked how many people thought their jobs were becoming more “generalized,” with them having to know more about more topics.. and probably 150 of the 200 hands went up. (Mine included!)

I mean five years ago I could be an expert in Citrix MetaFrame and that was it… but now I have to know about SBC and streaming and VDI and virtualization and WAN optimization… There’s only so much time in the day, so as I learn about more topics, I become more general. 

For me being described as a generalist is far from offensive, in many ways I think it’s code for saying “less likely to be out-sourced to India”, especially if your generalism includes business analysis, communications, systems integration and value delivery.

Steve Richards

I'm retired from work as a business and IT strategist. now I'm travelling, hiking, cycling, swimming, reading, gardening, learning, writing this blog and generally enjoying good times with friends and family

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