How to Be a Specialized Generalist, Should You Be a Jack of All Trades or Specialize?

I’ve been toying with an idea over the last several weeks and also over the past several months of whether it’s better to specialize or be a jack of all trades type generalist. I’ve come to the conclusion that wall there are pros and cons to each one, that it’s best to somewhat blend of the two, and become, is Tim Ferriss says a specialized generalist. With this basically means, is that you blend two or three lesser combined type skill sets, in order to catapult your career upward and land you in the top decile of income, by giving you an edge over the competition. It’s very hard to get to the top decile or quartile in your field, by simply specializing on one thing. And so, in today’s blog post, I’m going to show you how to be a specialized generalist, and why you should combine two or more lesser used skills together to increase your career. 

It generally only makes sense to specialize on a single thing, if you are in the top .01% in your field, especially if your career choice is something like basketball, or even finance or accounting. To summarize this, I am working on combining together a list of skills that are rarely used in conjunction together, to see how they may work in my career. Some of the skills are:

FinanceHow to Be a Specialized Generalist

Wealth Management

Accounting and Tax




Public Speaking

The three kind of skills that are generally thought of as an Archimedes lever for any career field, or public speaking, negotiating, and writing. This is because you can write reports and publish papers in your field, you can start a blog to leverage income, you can give speeches to leverage income in your career, or you can negotiate for a higher salary and higher career positions. I’d like to add one more potential Archimedes lever to the equation, which is going to be software engineering. I can’t think of any field that can’t have a benefit by software engineering, if you are in finance or insurance, there are programming positions on analytics teams, as well as IT positions at every major company in those fields. If you are a CPA or you are an audit or tax accounting, programming is becoming almost a right of passage, and massively opens the job market for you. If you were in digital marketing, it is almost necessary to have at least a light programming background, to really participate in the field at a high level. 

Should You Specialize or Be a Jack of All Trades?

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And don’t mention the fact that adding software engineering to any other engineering field, can definitely start a catapult your career, making you a much more well-rounded engineer. Marketing, sales, finance, engineering, science, even research physicist can benefit greatly from a software engineering background, and that’s where the majority of the jobs in that field are. As a fourth Archimedes lover, software engineering takes the cake.

With this in mind, I would say the best way to get to the top decile in your field is to take two or three skills that are your bread and butter, such as finance, public speaking, and accounting. In the field, this will give you a massive upgrade over someone who is just in finance, or just an accounting. Adding in one more thing as a hobby, such as racing cars, aviation and flying planes, or even something simple like running, roller skating, cooking, horseback riding, or some other hobby type skill, can really work wonders. Especially in a sales environment, it gives conversation topic to dinners and work discussions, it makes you more well-rounded and sheds you in a different light around the office, and it generally makes you more well-rounded as a person. Well those who say specializing is the way to get really rich are somewhat correct, don’t underestimate the fact that being more well-rounded is one of the best skills you can possibly have in the job market to move up in the office. Optics and office politics are important, and the more interesting you are, the more likely they are to keep you around just based on the likeness.

Final Thoughts on How to Become a Specialized Generalist

And so in short, I would say that becoming a specialized generalist is definitely a good way to get to the top of your field. Blending something like software engineering and IT, computer science and law, finance and public speaking, or accounting in aviation, can really have huge benefits on your career over the long term. It also makes sense to go with what you’re most interested in, so find your interest in the career or hobby of your choosing, and I say run with it, there’s more time than you would think to pull it off. Until next time, you heard it first right here at inflation




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