Ep206: Generalist vs Specialist - Which is better for career growth?

career growth career planning


In this episode, Mei Phing discusses which is the better career path for growth between a specialist and a generalist, and the best approach where you can become a generalist in a specialist space.



[00:00] πŸ’‘ Being a specialist offers core skills and expertise, making you desirable for well-paying jobs.

[01:46] πŸ’‘ Specialization shows commitment, passion, and in-depth knowledge, making you valuable in your industry.

[03:34] πŸ’‘ However, being a technical specialist puts you at risk of job loss if the demand for your specific expertise diminishes.

[05:33] πŸ’‘ Specialists who resist learning new skills and working with different people may hit a career ceiling.

[07:51] πŸ’‘ Being a generalist provides flexibility and adaptability, allowing for easier career transitions.

[09:18] πŸ’‘ But generalists may struggle to identify their value and get stuck in their careers due to lack of specialization.

[11:02] πŸ’‘ The best approach is to be a generalist in a specialist space, specializing in related industries while gaining diverse experience in different functions.


Key Insights

[00:00] πŸ” Being a specialist offers clear benefits, such as higher pay and being sought after in the job market. However, it also comes with risks like job loss if the demand for your expertise diminishes. It’s important to stay updated and adaptable to avoid career setbacks.

[05:33] πŸ” Specialists who solely focus on their technical expertise may hit a career ceiling if they resist learning new skills and working with different people. To continue growing, it’s crucial to develop managerial, strategic, and interpersonal skills.

[07:51] πŸ” Generalists have the advantage of flexibility and adaptability, allowing them to explore different industries and roles. However, the lack of specialization may lead to confusion and difficulty in identifying career opportunities and selling oneself to potential employers.

[11:02] πŸ” The best approach is to combine the benefits of both paths by being a generalist in a specialist space. This means specializing in related industries while gaining diverse experience in various functions. This allows for flexibility, transferable skills, and a strong value proposition in the job market.



πŸ‘‹ Welcome to the Corporate Survivor with Mei Phing — ex-Global Head of Department turned Career Coach & Founder of The Corporate Survivor™. On this podcast, Mei Phing shares her corporate world insights and experiences so you can survive, navigate and grow your career with clarity, confidence, competence and opportunities.

πŸ‘‰ Click here to checkout the Corporate Survivor Podcast library and archive.


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— Mei Phing




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