Re: Specialize or Die?

Subject: Re: Specialize or Die?
From: Elna Tymes <Etymes -at- LTS -dot- com>
To: "TECHWR-L" <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- raycomm -dot- com>
Date: Mon, 17 Dec 2001 09:45:50 -0800

Edwin Wurster wrote:

> The main speaker presented himself as a team leader, who is hired to manage
> virtual teams. He claimed that in the very near future we will only see
> consulting work as a member of highly-specialized virtual teams. To staff
> this, he only uses persons who have experience in a specific area or
> industry.

Your speaker is probably indulging in a bit of puffery. To become "highly
specialized" is to depend on the continuing development of a specific industry
niche. As long as that niche remains viable, there is work. When that niche
gets threatened by superseding development or by economic problems, the
specialists are left out on a limb. For example, the teams who specialized in
the development of operating systems are probably trying to find new things to
do, while the teams who specialize in security are probably fairly comfortable.
Who knows what the hot specialty will be in five years? For many years the
COBOL programmers languished, then suddenly were in great demand as the Y2K
problems surfaced. But how many companies are looking for COBOL programmers

Putting together teams of people who specialize in certain facets of
development, on the other hand, makes a lot of sense: you need designers, QA
people, someone who specializes in configuration management, a writer or two,
and someone to train the users. You probably also need someone who does project
management and someone who does marketing or at least interfaces with
marketing. Those, however, are the kinds of specialized skills that cross
project lines, and those are still in demand.


> Q: Do you have a specialty within tech writing that you prefer?

My firm specializes in several things:

1. Getting projects done on time and on budget.
2. Keeping our agreements. Period.
3. Coming up to speed quickly and being flexible.
4. Staying abreast of latest technology, especially in telecommunications,
security, databases, and presentation of information.

Elna Tymes
Los Trancos Systems

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Specialize or Die?: From: Edwin Wurster

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