I don’t really have that dim a view of specialization, but I do believe the software industry values specialists too much. For many of the same reasons that general-purpose programming tools are better than specialized ones, developers with broad experience and knowledge are more valuable than specialists in most cases.

At the Rocky Mountain Software Symposium a few weeks ago, an attendee said something like “All this stuff about broadening yourself sounds good, but companies want to hire specialists, not generalists.” Sad to say, he’s right, but there’s a related fact that’s just as important: companies may not want to hire generalists, but they certainly like to employ them. That is, if you can convince them to hire you, you’ll have better than average job security.

(For a darkly humorous take on this, read Anne Learns to Recruit. And it’s also worth checking out the page on this topic at Ward’s wiki.)