Tagged: workplace

Specialization is for Insects part II

Came across the Heinlein quote again today:

this time in the context of a “Business” professional. There is another point made in the blog post about how to be successful. You can either be an expert in a narrow field (top 1%) or be very good (top 25%) in multiple fields. The author calls these “Core Human Skills”

This is worth a read, and I will definitely abstract these concepts out in my interview process.


Specialization is for Insects

The other night we had a security issue that came up at 3am. Our combined response toolkit included DNS changes, akamai CDN configuration, adserver updates, javascript, HTML, and lots of good old fashioned interpersonal communication and persuasion. In these days where I’m working with dedicated ‘Javascript’ engineers that don’t read Java and operations people focused on CDN configurations that don’t know the application innards the concept of specialization is a concern.

The individual aspects of a scaled web architecture are each so complex that it is easily a full time job for a person just to keep up in one area. I’m concerned about this because as we spend more time in individual areas we focus less time on the holistic approach. This is my same concern with modern medicine.

A friend and colleage went to a back surgeon and that doctor recommended surgery.  Why?  Because surgeons do surgery.  And they are so steeped in their practice that they elevate it above other options.  Before you generalize on greedy doctors let me tell you about an ops and dev at my shop that discussed for an hour how to handle a redirect.  Ops wanted to handle it at Akamai, and the UI Dev wanted to simply throw a redirect from the template.  When I told this to a middleware engineer he said they are both daft and it should be done in the spring controller.
Continue reading