Should I specialise or continue being a generalist?

(Daniel) #1

I’ve been testing for a few years now, and I’ve always sold myself as being a general tester. I’ve done web, mobile web, mobile app, mobile game testing. And I’ve found myself enjoying the mobile testing stuff the most, and knowing the most about it.

So I’m considering branding myself as a tester “with a specilisation in mobile testing”.

Has anybody else done similar? How has it worked out? How did you go about doing it?

(John) #2

Become a General Purpose Specialist - now you’ve got both bases covered! :grinning:

I would follow your passion. Also, do you have a knack for finding certain things? When work is fun, that’s nice. Part of the issue may be what type of employment you’re looking for - a perm job or contractor. If you plan working as a contractor, then you would want to stay more general, so you have more job opportunities.

In the U.S., it’s common for candidates and agencies to “tailor” a resume to a specific job. So if the job mentions specific skills or knowledge and you have that, emphasize it on your resume (CV).

As a specialist, you run the risk of that job disappearing due to automation or a technology change, if your specialization is too specific.

Is a specialist someone who knows more and more about less and less until they know everything about nothing?

(Heather) #3

(Simon Godfrey) #4

Pro’s and Con’s to this.

There is a risk to a generalist that you’re in danger of being the “Jack of all, master of none” and never fully recognised (professionally or salary wise) as an expert in a field/technology.

If you specialise you need to be prepared for that specialism to become old hat as times and technologies change, so you need to be nimble and be prepared to move where the industry moves.

Are you familiar with the concept of the T-shaped employee?

(Tobias) #5

Hi @thatdamnqa,

I started as a general tester and quickly realised that mobile was my passion. I started looking for assignments at my first job that had meant I would test mobile apps. After less than 1 1/2 years I went to work for a mobile agency. I learned a lot about mobile testing and further “specialised”. I didn’t stay very long at the agency (1 year and 2 months) due to my GF working in another country, I also went to the UK and I am now working for a mobile platform startup. I enjoy working on mobile and I followed that passion. To the day I haven’t regretted that decision. I can only recommend to follow your passion and not to worry about being too specialised. Mobile is an extremely fast growing market and most of what you learn, especially when it becomes more technical testing, than you will be able to use that knowledge at other (non mobile) gigs at well.

Always follow your passion!