A software generalist is a software developer or engineer rather than specializing in a specific area but with a broad range of skills and knowledge across various aspects of software development, with multiple programming languages, tools, frameworks, and platforms and adapt to new technologies as needed. Software generalists often have experience in various domains, such as front-end and back-end development, mobile app development, desktop applications, databases, and system administration. As a result, they are versatile and can contribute to different aspects of a project, making them valuable team members, especially in smaller teams with limited resources. Being a generalist means knowing only some things about software development; it means having a solid foundation in multiple areas and the ability to learn new skills and technologies quickly as required.
The Value of Software Generalists
- A familiar story: taking software engineering's best principles and injecting them into auxiliary technical stacks – the modern data stack (data observability, versioning, orchestrators rebased on Kubernetes), the machine learning stack (cloud-native distributed training and inference on Kubernetes), or even domain-specific "Ops" like FinOps and HRMs (human resource management).
- There's immense value in being a software engineering generalist and learning how to build and deploy a service—learning how to write a script to transform some data—learning how to do everyday tasks like authentication, querying a database, setting up a developer environment, SSH-ing into a machine, compiling software, debugging, and more.
- A potential answer to Dear AIs, I have a question.