Professional lives have a certain path. We discover something that interests us, something we're good at, find a career in which we could utilize our skills, then develop them in different schools to finally become employed in the chosen field. Becoming a specialist is going a step further, because on the outside it may seem like limiting ourselves, but any insider will attest that the better you get at a specific thing, the smaller the competition and the more you can do within your specialty. When you consider becoming a specialist in any field, you have to look at the future need for such specialist, as well as at the present number of ones working in their own field. There are some professions that will require trained specialists for years to come just as they have for many years in the past, like doctors and teachers, but there are fields that are becoming less important, like for example calligraphy, and ones that are developing fast, like microsurgery. That's why it's important to look closer into the prospective specialty to see what the future prognosis is for it. Once you decide to become a specialist, remember that it's going to be a never ending educational journey for you. You may want to narrow you field of expertise more and more, starting with say creating websites and moving on to sites for local businesses, then ones for family owned ones, even as specific as law firm websites or individual doctor practice sites. No matter what level of specialty you decide to stop at, there will always be a novelty, a different way of doing things, somebody will develop a new approach. To be able to call yourself a specialist, you'll have to be up to date with things within your field. Most experts don't stop at continuing their education and performing their job, but tend to teach, write and experiment. Being an expert means you have extraordinary knowledge in your field, so it's very important to share it with others. Teaching some specialty courses, writing a book or articles for a specialty magazine, trying to develop new techniques, better ways of doing things, more trustworthy solutions, and then publishing your process and findings, are all very important not only to your career and being recognized as a specialist, but also for the development of the field you work in. No matter if your choice is brain surgery, law firm marketing or accident reconstruction, once you become an expert, you will be more and more recognized in your field. It will have an effect on the amount of work you'll be getting as well as on the things you'll be asked to do, which in turn will influence you financially. However, becoming an expert also means you are held to a higher standard, people look up to you, and it's not only colleagues within your field but also neighbors, clients, patients, so it's important that you set a good example not only as a specialist, but most importantly as a good human being.
2010-06-30 12:58am PDT
Hi Torri, nice article. You are so right about the "never ending educational journey..." There are always classes and seminars to keep up with change and, in some professions, to keep-up with State requirements.
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2010-06-30 11:57am PDT
Thank you! Yes, it's extremely important to learn constantly.