The IT generalist makes a comeback

Tom Yager’s weekly column in InfoWorld: Application development starts out: “The IT generalist makes a comeback. I’ve been seeing the title “IT generalist” coming back into use. It’s a welcome sight. I recall the generalist from the days when minicomputers and mainframes were being traded for less costly Unix microcomputers. Back then, the generalist was the one who had a functional understanding of the entire technical operation and many of the processes that depended on it. If you had a generalist, by any title, you may have him or her to thank for easing the transition from legacy to modernity.”

I think IT generalist is a lot less presumptuous than “Architect” particularly the capitalized ones. General Knowledge has often taken a back seat to Specialization, usually resulting in a loss of Perspective. Speaking with an experienced UNIX admin last night, and he wondered how we got into this situation where people are slapping together systems that are held together with baling wire and shoestrings; his thesis was that there was a lack of “system perspective.” I spoke with another friend just back from the US Pycon conference; a long-time Windows developer, he was amazed to see people sitting around with Powerbooks and Linux laptops and Windows laptops and all working together — he’d had no idea. He’d been sheltered in the Redmond Reality Distortion Field. C’mon out, folks, the air is great out here!

Mission: Interoperable. Competition breeds Innovation. Monopolies breed stagnation. Working Well with Others is Good.

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