Specialization schmation

So I was at this meeting with a team mate, and one of topics that got mentioned was specialization. So while we were on the topic, I kinda heard Roy’s voice in my head saying “Specialization is for insects!” There was also this quote I remembered:

If all you have is a hammer, everything looks like a nail.

On one hand, I reckon there’s just too much to learn in software engineering that there really is a need to focus. But on the other hand, specialization has its own traps. I read somewhere that specialist is just a fancy way of describing someone who doesn’t know a lot on other matters (crap, I can’t remember where I saw that). Using specialization as an excuse to not learn anything else is just too egotistical. And to relate to the quote I mentioned, just imagine a specialist on a particular solution who pushes that solution for every and any problem he encounters even if it doesn’t really fit.

Here’s a similar (and probably more thought of than this brain dump) take to it: Why Office Gurus are Bad (And the Buses Who Hit Them).

Semi-off topic. TIL that quote is called Maslow’s hammer or Baruch’s Observation.

TIL Excel Sparklines

TIL that Excel has this thing called “Sparklines” where you can have a mini-chart or visualization of your data in as small a space as a single cell.  I made samples of the 3 types of Sparklines (Line, Column, and Win/Loss) captured in the image below.  In each of the table, the last column displays the sparkline created for the data in the same row.

Screenshot-20130731-000073

The Sparklines thingy is available from the Insert menu of the Excel Ribbon.