Are You A T-Shaped Person?

Huge chess pieces

No, it’s not a kind of body type or shape. Being T-shaped is something that describes a person’s breadth and depth of knowledge and skills. The horizontal stroke shows his range of disciplines, knowledge, and skills, while the vertical stroke shows the depth of knowledge.

A T-shaped person has broad skills and experience across several knowledge areas (generalist), while being an expert in a certain one (specialist). It makes you a go-to person in a certain knowledge area, but you are not limited by your expertise. It is quite easy for you to switch and contribute to multiple work areas, if need be. You can also find connections between your different fields and easily communicate and collaborate with people across different disciplines, as you will be speaking the same language.

While it is more comfortable to be a specialist and just do what you do best (I-shaped), it can hugely limit you with the kind of work that you do. There can  also be a tendency to have a siloed way of thinking, instead of looking at the big picture / project.

If you would like to become more of a T-shaped person (being one makes you more attractive to potential employers), try to learn things outside of your area of expertise. Who knows, you might find something else that could be of interest to you. Dabble on different projects and gain experience, all the while continuing to deepen your expertise in your specialty area. And by the way, soft skills count too! Easier said than done, but there’s no need to rush. It all boils down to continuous learning and development. Good luck! 👍

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