Sunday, Feb 22 2015

Why Diversifying Your Skill Set in IT May Not Be the Best Idea

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Why Diversifying Your Skill Set in IT May Not Be the Best Idea

The general wisdom for job candidates states that having a diverse skill set is an advantage. The more you’re able to do, the broader your potential qualifications are for a wider range of jobs. But when it comes to the IT industry, diversification may actually work against you in your job search.

In many cases, it’s better to focus on and improve a particular set of tech skills, specializing in a certain area rather than attempting to be an IT jack-of-all-trades. Specialists can be beneficial for employers, and give you a greater boost as a job seeker. Here are some of the advantages of specialization for IT candidates.

A competitive edge

The IT job market is highly competitive. Tech candidates are competing with both seasoned professionals and newly trained college graduates, and there is increasing pressure on companies to hire the best of the best among IT talent. If you have a specialized IT skill set, you’re more desirable to employers — who prefer to choose rock stars over stage hands.

Specialists are more likely to get hired than candidates who are simply proficient in the required skill set. While specializing can limit your options, you’ll have a greater chance of landing the positions you are qualified for with comprehensive skills in a particular area.

Elevated authority and expertise

Networking is an essential part of any job search. IT specialists can enhance their profiles, and their chances at getting hired by top companies, by becoming authorities on their areas of specialization through various networks that employers and recruiters frequent.

Contributing to and leading discussions in your specialist area on social channels like LinkedIn, and IT-centric forums like Github, can help you create an online presence that will truly impress employers. Your authority and influence as a specialist will give you a significant networking advantage over other candidates.

Greater independence

Employers seek out specialists in part because they don’t require a lot of training, and need little-to-no supervision on the job. As an IT specialist, you can enjoy increased independence and autonomy in your career. Specialists are also more likely to be innovators, with the freedom and latitude to work on projects that interest them personally in addition to directly assigned projects.

Increased salary and job security

IT specialists can typically command higher salaries than their general-skills counterparts. Particularly in today’s business landscape, employers place a high value on tech specialists, who are able to deliver more value to the organization. This often extends to better perks and benefits in addition to salary.

Those who specialize in a particular skill set can also enjoy greater job security. If you’re difficult to replace, you will be more valuable to a company — and less likely to be laid off or downsized, even if the organization is forced to cut back on staff.

Having specialized IT skills as a job candidate can not only help you land a more desirable position with a great company, but can also serve as the foundation for a long and successful career in technology.