Who Can Yield Better Outcomes in Data Science: A Generalist or A Specialist?

by March 20, 2019 0 comments

Data Science

Data Science is no more a tech term, it has become a seedbed for every organization which is contributing to the world economy. It surely is a vast genre of intelligent acquisition which serves enterprises with an end to end algorithmic business flexibility. Talking about the teams handling it, are usually comprised of an array of professionals including research scientists, data engineers, machine learning engineers, specialists, casual interference scientists and more. But when does the role of generalists come into action?

First, let’s have a quick look at the meaning underpinned with the term Specialists and Generalists.



Specialist is the wide term used for professionals who are expert in a specific job. They don’t work generally in varied fields. They are appropriately able to perform well and succeed with flying colors in a distinctive duty of their job aspect. Specialists in an organization can be for different departments but while considering the subject of data science, Data Specialists are the one who is apt for the specific roles.


How can we describe Data Specialists?

These are the people who are responsible for the successful transformation of data on an electronic online platform. Data specialists supervise the whole process of working closely with clients and ensuring the accuracy and accessibility of data.

A professional sitting at the position of data specialist is credible for verifying the validity of data sources and for designing databases for clients in order to store data safely.


Duties and Responsibilities

•  By conducting a thorough analysis of the client’s data, data specialists after analyzing and verifying the data begin their work over its conversion process.

•  They ensure the accuracy of the data and make amendments in the existing data if needed after verification.

•  In some cases, Data specialists are responsible for the creation of a database or software program that is required for data conversion.

•  They are also responsible for consistently providing reports regarding the progress in the client work.

•  After completion of the conversion project, Data specialists train the client for the correct use of database or software.



Being blessed with the knowledge of a variety of subjects, generalists generally have loosely specified roles within an organization.


•  The best aspect of a generalist is that he/she is capable of offering greater scope to the product market utilizing his/her wide array of skills.

•  A generalist has better job chances.

•  He/she can grab multiple freelance jobs considering career flexibility as a suit.

•  As the globalization is rising, organizations demand generalists who are better at multitasking rather than sticking to one specific work.

•  They can be seen in a bigger picture working for different departments solving various issues.

•  The transferable skill set of a generalist is beneficial for ensuring business scalability.


Specialists Vs Generalists

When it comes to data science which is obviously a vast subject and is in under development process. Every now then we can hear some new innovations coming our way. As the industry is developing the demands for certain skill set is also accelerating. Specifically, in Data-centric businesses, leaders prefer to keep fewer people in the loop to manage the coordination cost. In this situation, generalists come into limelight. The generalists tend to move swiftly between functions, expanding data chain, introducing new features in the model, performing monotonous work with new ideas, which make them apple of leader’s eyes.

Hitting the precise note, we can say, a generalist may not be as well-versed in any one skills as a specialist but the majority of the organizations are not seeking functional excellence. Rather, they tend to hire those who can learn and discover all-new business boundaries impressive impact.

On the other hand, in a data-oriented company, if you are operating with petabytes or any other particular unit of data, specialization in data engineering becomes a must. Additionally, if the gist of the organization is to maintain the business capability with excellence then specialization surely trumps over the generalist card. Considering the highly competitive and compensating contemporary business world, to attain strong company values, specialists contribute a lot.


With Whom the Future Lies?

The question arises here is what employers prefer – A specialist or A Generalist? Rather than bending towards a single bias, the reality presents a bigger picture of the situation. It says, adopting a mid-way might succeed to a better outcome. A combination of generalist and specialist with “T-shaped skill set” can become easy and go-to choice for companies. Tracking current trends, the future of the industry will be very dynamic, which would require the ability to unlearn and learn on a continuous basis regardless of the genre of professional (be it specialist or generalist).

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