Is a generalist a “jack of all trades, master of none” or a Renaissance man (or Renaissance woman, as the case may be)? Can a generalist be an exceptional programmer, analyst, photographer, student, spouse, and contributor to society? Does a wide bredth of interest and experience help to see the forest as well as the trees?
Here, we assume that a generalist can do these things. A generalist is a life long learner, curious, emperical – always on the look out for connections and unintended consequences.
Too much specialization perhaps led to the current financial mess. Although, in many areas specialization is still required – a team needs a generalist who can intelligent discuss a wide variety of topics and undersand the holistic implications of the team’s actions.
This is my philosophy.