Are you a Web Specialist or Web Generalist?

specialistgeneralistIt’s my contention after consulting for the last ten years in the Chicagoland market that if you spend enough time here as a Chicago web designer – the market will mold you into a generalist rather than a specialist. Why do I say that? Well in my experience most companies (save for a select few) hire generalists – sort of all in wonders – who can do everything extremely well. Look at most job postings in Chicago and you will find openings for jobs that require a combination of top notch CSS2, SEO, flash and video skills all rolled into one. Perhaps they tack on so many requirements as a way to weed out and discourage unqualified applicants? I don’t know. But I do know they just want one worker who can do everything for them and save them big bucks. However, I did say there are some exceptions to this rule. I once attended an office party of a new ad agency that had come from Canada and the art directors told me they hire specialists rather than generalists because they found generalists to be weak in all areas. Ha! That was a hoot. Don’t get me wrong – I like applications like flash but if I just pigeon holed myself as a flash specialist I wouldn’t be eating as well as I have for the last ten years – because I wouldn’t be working as much. The same thing goes for Chicago web design firms that only build in flash – I wonder how they are eating these days in the economic downturn? I see things in terms of the gestalt like art school taught me when I build a web site. An effective marketing web site does require a middle ground in terms of technology usage. Anytime I meet a Chicago web design extremist I cringe. I know like an engine that is run without out oil that they won’t last too long in this town. They will eventually become frustrated and leave. Good riddance to their ilk. Three cheers for all the web design generalists of Chicago like me. We’re the real survivors. We’re the real champions.