How do you become a specialist?


The title of this blog is the question that was posed to me by a young student engineer who is working in the same factory as me for practical training.  At first the question caught me off guard, and I did not know how to respond.  Even though my title at work is "Specialist Electronics Technician" it does not mean that I know everything about anything - or at least that is my take on things.

You see, I believe that a person (or any living thing for that matter) should always be growing/learning, especially in the field of engineering.  There are some very clever people on this earth, but even a rocket scientist cannot know everything.  For example one rocket scientist may be a specialist in rocket propulsion, but a colleague of his might be a specialist in aerodynamics.

To take it one step further, a rocket scientist, no matter how experienced he/she is cannot know as much about skin products as a beautician knows, and a beautician cannot know as much about the skin as a dermatologist does.  Simply put, being a specialist, simply means that you know more about a certain field of study, or a certain type of machine, or a certain subject, than most other people do.

My answer, in short, was that it is a combination of my work experience and my training that makes me a specialist.  What it means is that I am able to resolve problems in a certain field that other people (with other experiences) are not able to.

The flip side is that being a specialist in one specific field can be dangerous, since you do not use the other skills and knowledge that you have as often.

What is your take on being a specialist?
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