Tuesday, 8 December 2009

"Specialization is for insects"

"A human being should be able to change a diaper, plan an invasion, butcher a hog, conn a ship, design a building, write a sonnet, balance accounts, build a wall, set a bone, comfort the dying, take orders, give orders, cooperate, act alone, solve equations, analyze a new problem, pitch manure, program a computer, cook a tasty meal, fight efficiently, die gallantly. Specialization is for insects." - Rober A . Heinlein

I first came across this quote three years back in the preface of The Cathedral and the Bazaar (great read by the way if you are into software). I didn't like the sound of it, since I had till then kept the belief that we engineers are supposed to be specialists, sub-sub specialists in our area of work (telecom, java, php, c++, .net, .whatever). I'm guessing now, the guy was probably right. The average human is indeed capable of doing much more than he often gives himself credit for. It's just that he is often too lazy or too afraid to try.