Should you Specialize or be a Generalist?

I consider myself a very curious person and I like to learn many things, especially those that are hard and challenging (Multiplayer Networking, Developing for Virtual Reality…). Interactive graphics applications (video games) are my main occupation. I like to label myself as 3D Technical Artist and Game Developer.

– 3D Technical Artist because I like both art and technical skills

– Game Developer because many people still don’t know what’s that “technical” part of artist, but most should understand that game developer, well, creates games.

The main software that I’m using is #unrealengine . But few years ago I started just as a 3D Artist using 3ds Max and Substance Painter while tinkering with other software. My curiosity would always lead me to be a generalist.

Nowadays we have many marketing and career gurus advising “Find your niche and dominate it!”, “You must specialize!”, and so on…

I have a few questions:

– Should I have stopped exploring other software and technologies and just continued improving my 3ds Max skills even though I knew more than I needed?

– Should I focus on just one niche?! Even though this World and this Life are very dynamic things and we could have whole industries literally deleted due to the natural process of evolution, advancement and improvement.

– Should I call my self “Specialist for [insert artificial narrow specialty]” and leave my other skills unmentioned? There are MANY skills that I have that can come in very handy. This was proven on the projects that I worked on. This past Winter I was working on creating a concept inside Unreal Engine for a completely new city that can house millions of residents and utilize technologies and system that would make it future proof for at least 50 years. So, knowledge from civil and industrial engineering and architecture was necessary, while all of that being packaged as video game. My client was thinking of employing an architect, but I told my client that I’m familiar with just mentioned industries and overall very comfortable with technologies and I love to learn. Me being Generalist saved my client thousands of dollars.

Due to listening to too many marketing gurus, majority of people nowadays use specialization labels as cheap marketing gimmicks trying to communicate how they are better than others. The only thing that I’m keeping “specialist” in my label is Unreal Engine Specialist, yet, Unreal Engine is very wide and capable software that isn’t specialized at all, and it’s getting more and more un-specialized! It’s General Purpose Graphics Software. 

Specialization is for machines! No computer or machine is capable of learning as fast as human being. However, once human completes research and development phase, also know as R&D, it tends to make things more streamlined, more efficient while also removing the factor of human errors. What follows is creation of specialized software or specialized machines that would replace human worker(s). This is a beautiful thing because humans can “focus” on being humans thus tinkering and exploring while letting machines do the tasks that are exceeded by humans.

To conclude this post, I think that overly narrow specialization is either bad or fake. I as a person don’t relate neither with “bad” or “fake”. Just don’t go crazy and deliberately learns things you know that wouldn’t be of help to you. Be Specialized Generalist.

I consider myself a very curious person and I like to learn many things, especially those that are hard and challenging (Multiplayer Networking, Developing for Virtual Reality…). Interactive graphics applications (video games) are my main occupation. I like to label myself as 3D Technical Artist and Game Developer.

– 3D Technical Artist because I like both art and technical skills

– Game Developer because many people still don’t know what’s that “technical” part of artist, but most should understand that game developer, well, creates games.

The main software that I’m using is #unrealengine . But few years ago I started just as a 3D Artist using 3ds Max and Substance Painter while tinkering with other software. My curiosity would always lead me to be a generalist.

Nowadays we have many marketing and career gurus advising “Find your niche and dominate it!”, “You must specialize!”, and so on…

I have a few questions:

– Should I have stopped exploring other software and technologies and just continued improving my 3ds Max skills even though I knew more than I needed?

– Should I focus on just one niche?! Even though this World and this Life are very dynamic things and we could have whole industries literally deleted due to the natural process of evolution, advancement and improvement.

– Should I call my self “Specialist for [insert artificial narrow specialty]” and leave my other skills unmentioned? There are MANY skills that I have that can come in very handy. This was proven on the projects that I worked on. This past Winter I was working on creating a concept inside Unreal Engine for a completely new city that can house millions of residents and utilize technologies and system that would make it future proof for at least 50 years. So, knowledge from civil and industrial engineering and architecture was necessary, while all of that being packaged as video game. My client was thinking of employing an architect, but I told my client that I’m familiar with just mentioned industries and overall very comfortable with technologies and I love to learn. Me being Generalist saved my client thousands of dollars.

Due to listening to too many marketing gurus, majority of people nowadays use specialization labels as cheap marketing gimmicks trying to communicate how they are better than others. The only thing that I’m keeping “specialist” in my label is Unreal Engine Specialist, yet, Unreal Engine is very wide and capable software that isn’t specialized at all, and it’s getting more and more un-specialized! It’s General Purpose Graphics Software. 

Specialization is for machines! No computer or machine is capable of learning as fast as human being. However, once human completes research and development phase, also know as R&D, it tends to make things more streamlined, more efficient while also removing the factor of human errors. What follows is creation of specialized software or specialized machines that would replace human worker(s). This is a beautiful thing because humans can “focus” on being humans thus tinkering and exploring while letting machines do the tasks that are exceeded by humans.

To conclude this post, I think that overly narrow specialization is either bad or fake. I as a person don’t relate neither with “bad” or “fake”. Just don’t go crazy and deliberately learns things you know that wouldn’t be of help to you. Be Specialized Generalist.

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