Oct 03, 2011

How can specialization of IT skills lead to limited career choices?

In my career as a network administrator, there has been much pressure in the market to become a specialist of one kind of another to make it easier for employers to pick me out of a bunch of candidates. But can't career specialization be harmful? I think of all the unemployed Novell Netware admins I met in the 2000's, and wonder how I can avoid their fate. The Microsoft platform seems to be evolving with the advent of many changes announced for Windows Server 8, and I'm glad for the time being that I've stuck with improving my Microsoft skills.



While it's important to have some specialized skills in whatever career path you are taking with IT, it is important to keep your general knowledge up-to-snuff. There's a fascinating article here:


which describes how major data center disasters related to virtual cloud infrastructure hosted both at Amazon's EC2 and in private networks were related to too many staff only focusing on their specialization and not having enough cross-pollination with other specialists with other areas of expertise, which led to some pretty tragic network, server, and services collapses. When your data center fails your customer base, that's the kind of situation which can lead to your dismissal and having to search for a new job, so it's critically important to pay attention to the need for improving your generalized IT knowledge.


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