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IT Generalist

By silvioandpauly ·
Is it me or does Generalist seem to be the buzzword nowadays. Isn't that a jack-of-all-trades, master-of-none?

In the ads and few interviews I've had, I hear more and more about these 'generalists'. Is being really good at your game a past value? Now you have to run the data center, helpdesk, and be the programmer analyst.

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Master of all?

by gralfus In reply to IT Generalist

Today, companies are looking for as much bang for the buck as they can get. I'm way overqualified for the job I'm in and was hired because I stood out as someone willing to do the job, despite much greater training. It is better to be employed than to not be employed. So I'm back doing what I started doing over 10 years ago, but I keep teaching myself more as I go. I'm pursuing compuer security since that seems to have potential locally.

Anyway, the more you know and are willing to do, the better chance you have of getting a job from a company (through normal channels). Others in the forum feel you are better off selling yourself to the higher-ups directly or working for yourself, but I think that takes a certain personality or level of confidence that many IT "geeks" may not possess (unfortunately).

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by mcollins1 In reply to Master of all?

I would agree, I feel that the more you have on your CV, the better it looks to an employer.
I have found that they seem to value experience more than just qualifications. But if you have both then you are laughing.
At the end of the day it's about having enough for your needs. Being employed is much better than not, and it is no good pitching yourself too high if you are not capable of doing the job. The company will soon find out.
I do feel however that communication skills are the key. I agree that a lot of IT "techies" don't possess these skills, and I feel that perhaps a course focusing on these skills may be the most beneficial qualification you could get.
Anyone is capable of selling themselves, it is just about finding their own, comfortable way of doing it.
And one thing I would say to a lot of people is to find a balance between work and pleasure. Get out and socialise, preferably with other people outside of work.
If you never leave work/work colleagues then you never properly relax, you are more likely to find yourself sitting for longer in front of the computer, and those social skills will just drift away gradually...
At least that what I found for a while till I got myself sorted!

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Humble Thy Self

by tngamecockfan In reply to mcollins1@

I have had to do just that for many years now in the Federal government. I am more qualified to be a systems analyst or programmer than desktop support. But things happen. I feel that I am over paid for what I do (and it true most of the time). But a wise person once told me "Your not getting paid for what you are doing, your getting paid for what YOU CAN DO AND WHAT YOU KNOW".

He's right and it has let me accept where I am. Right now I am on a detail for 60 days that allows my abilities to shine. Just glad for this moment and the chance I might be able to move on to a more challenging career.

Hint: I have alway found that I can find other things to do that can improve my department or the people I support. Sometimes the best thing you can do is take some initiative (be self-impowering) and make a difference. It makes it easier to go home every night. And people do notice.

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it's all work

by Joe.Canuck@beer .ca In reply to Humble Thy Self

I work ina small govt shop, and have to do pretty much everything from time to time. being a generalist and having broad knowledge and skills may not be very romantic or exciting, but it keeps me employed. I've known many people over the years who focussed narowly and deeply thinking this was the way to wealth and security, ironically it often leads to a dead end. I used to work for IBM, when they laid off 1/2 the workforce here and the old big iron was retired the few elite guys who supported them found themselves unemployable, I don't know what they are doing now, but it's unlikely they went to heldesks and 1/2 the pay. They weren't even qualified for that. At the end of the day you HAVE to be a genralist these days. Like a journey man mechanic you can work on everything from lawn mowers to diesel trains, and if they are paying good money to fix the lawn mower why not?

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28 years of jack of all trades

by gatech51 In reply to mcollins1@

I have always been a jack of all trades; machinist, computer repair, design tech. marketing events manager and after 5 months of unemployment back to computer repair. Multiple skills are very helpful in helping you survive today?s employment market.

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Agreed! Jack of all Trades.

by brentc76 In reply to 28 years of jack of all t ...

I know I may be one of the younger generation techies here, but I definately agree with Gatech51. I have been with the company I am with for the past 6 years, I started here in the Facility maintenance Department. I was an Electrician upon many other things. I have been working IT for the past 4 years, I think that working Facility Maintenance has made me understand how to troubleshoot Technical issues better. Also, Unlike the IT Manager, I understand how electricity works, and understand how to check out issues in the server room without having maintenance in there. I am now working toward my Security Degree to add onto my Electronics and Computer Networking Degrees.

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more than one hat

by baebaetech In reply to 28 years of jack of all t ...

I agree with gatech51, it's best to have more than one skill or you could find yourself in the unemployment line. I do both Desktop support and PeopleSoft Security and trust me I don't get paid for both but I have to pay my mortgage and eat.

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Be well rounded

by tsalagi In reply to more than one hat

I recently interviewed for a position with a different company. The interviewer asked me what I do in my off hours. They are interested in people with other interests, hobbies and more importantly skills that they can make use of. They want people who are able to slip into different positions as their needs dictate. Being a 'generalist' is what employers are going to consider an asset. I don't believe in 'the master of none' cliche. I believe that being a master of several is possible and is beneficial.

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From Generalist to I.T. Manager

by Gorto In reply to Be well rounded

I've been around for a few years and found that by specializing I limited my oportunities. I pickup a number of operating systems, applications, scripting languages, etc. Enough to get me through 3 years as a Microsoft Admin and another 4 years as a Unix/Linux SysAdmin. I'm in my 2nd year as I.T. Manager for a large distribution and logistics corporation. I find that my broad knowledge allows me to better understand and manage both hardware centric and software staff.

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26 Years of Jane of All Trades!

by deea In reply to 28 years of jack of all t ...

I have been in IT since 1979. Been all over the board from the local admin to IT Director. I too, after being laid off in 2002 for 5 months, went back to hands on Jane of All Trades, everything thing from changing toner to copier repair to Exchange server admininistration to support desk to voicemail to phones to hubs to routers to ... well, you get my drift. I am certainly never bored. Either way, experience AND certifications got me my present job, beating out over 500 other applicants. I love what I do and I'm not sure if I'd have it any other way. And due to downsizing, I guess that's a good thing. -- Oh, and My title is "IT Specialist" - I like that name better.

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