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A T-Shaped 21st Century Knowledge Worker

Knowledge workers in the 21st Century must have many areas of deep knowledge, while also be capable of collaboration across multiple other domains with dissimilar T-shaped individuals.  This description of a person is a metaphor.  Compare it to the shape of the "I" in the classic saying there is no "I" in Team.



I first read about Scott Ambler's term "Generalizing Specialist" - but it's so hard to remember the proper order of the words... get it backwards and it has an inverted meaning... T-Shaped is easier to remember. 

A generalizing specialist is someone who:
  • Has one or more technical specialties (e.g. Java programming, Project Management, Database Administration, ...). 
  • Has at least a general knowledge of software development. 
  • Has at least a general knowledge of the business domain in which they work. 
  • Actively seeks to gain new skills in both their existing specialties as well as in other areas, including both technical and domain areas. 
Generalizing specialists are often referred to as craftspeople, multi-disciplinary developers, cross-functional developers, deep generalists, polymaths, versatilists, or even "renaissance developers".

- See more at: Agile Modeling

See Also:

Generalizing Specialists: Improving Your IT Career Skills - by Scott Ambler

The Difference Between a Professional and an Amateur - Mike Cohn

The T-Shape Deception by Gunther Verheyen

I have never worked with a single person who mastered no more than a single skill. Every individual I worked with had the intrinsic capability to perform in more than one type of work. Every individual I worked with had the intrinsic ability to join forces with people that master other areas of expertise.
Every individual is naturally T-shaped. Ultimately, people can unite to form collectively T-shaped eco-systems, entities, often teams.

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