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Which is more valued-domain expertise or technical expertise

Rambo Prasad
Ranch Hand

Joined: Feb 23, 2006
Posts: 628
Hi Ranchers,

What do you think is more valuable down the line as we progress in our career-domain expertise or technical expertise.?Consider the scenario where you need to select 1 of the 3 candidates for a tech lead or a team lead position.
Candidate-1 is technically very strong but doesn't have any domain knowledge.
Candidate-2 has good domain knowledge but not technically good.
Candidate-3 knows a little bit of domain and little bit of technology( jack of technology and domain)...

Who will you pick among the three...?

I am pondering about a job switch and was thinking about the choices I have...
Should I choose a company that deals in a specific domain like finance,retail,ERP or should I go for a core technology company like adobe,webmethods(The intent of specifying company names is not for discussing about the companies,but just to cite an example of core tech companies)..

If I were to choose a core tech company I might not build any hot domain expertise working in these companies...So if I decide to move from those companies later will the lack of domain expertise be a negative factor in my profile...

Please do let me know your thoughts...
[ June 15, 2008: Message edited by: Rambo Prasad ]

Helping hands are much better than the praying lips
Jayadev Pulaparty
Ranch Hand

Joined: Mar 25, 2002
Posts: 662
Originally posted by Rambo Prasad:


What do you think is more valuable down the line as we progress in our career-domain expertise or technical expertise.?Consider the scenario where you need to select 1 of the 3 candidates for a tech lead or a team lead position.
Candidate-1 is technically very strong but doesn't have any domain knowledge.
Candidate-2 has good domain knowledge but not technically good.
Candidate-3 knows a little bit of domain and little bit of technology( jack of technology and domain)...

Who will you pick among the three...?



I would pick the first candidate. The assumption here is that the tech lead has to be technically strong and there is a manager above him who can pass on the required domain knowledge. Domain knowledge can be relatively easily acquired compared to technical skills.


Originally posted by Rambo Prasad:

I am pondering about a job switch and was thinking about the choices I have...
Should I choose a company that deals in a specific domain like finance,retail,ERP or should I go for a core technology company like adobe,webmethods(The intent of specifying company names is not for discussing about the companies,but just to cite an example of core tech companies)..

If I were to choose a core tech company I might not build any hot domain expertise working in these companies...So if I decide to move from those companies later will the lack of domain expertise be a negative factor in my profile...



If i were you, the choice would be very clear. I would go for domain-related job. All these tools like adobe, webmethods are used to solve business problems. Hence if you are working in a certain domain, you will have a business problem at hand, and need to accomodate the right tool in your architecture to solve it. You need to be able to understand the capabilities of the tool in the process. Doing that in the context of a business problem should be very exciting, in my opinion.
Pradeep bhatt
Ranch Hand

Joined: Feb 27, 2002
Posts: 8919

Technical knowledge is required more when you are doing entry level jobs. Domain knowledge, communication and leadership skills becomes important later and one not need have much technical knowledge
[ June 16, 2008: Message edited by: Prad Dip ]

Groovy
Arjun Shastry
Ranch Hand

Joined: Mar 13, 2003
Posts: 1874
Originally posted by Rambo Prasad:

What do you think is more valuable down the line as we progress in our career-domain expertise or technical expertise.?
[ June 15, 2008: Message edited by: Rambo Prasad ]

IMO learning curve in both,technical and domain is steep.Current fad is to have people with "techno functional" experience.That is example-SAP with HR module experience or Siebel with CRM experience.If we are talking about Indian IT scenario, its Techno functional experience will be hot in future.SAP with 3 years experience earns more than somebody with 3 years with Swing/servlets.


MH
arulk pillai
Author
Ranch Hand

Joined: May 31, 2007
Posts: 3259
Very hard to generalize and need to assess case by case.

For example

--If you already have a team technically strong then it is worth going for the domain knowledge.

-- How strong in technical & domain knowledge? Is he/she a quick learner? How well the analytical and problem solving skills are developed?

-- How complex are the business logic?

etc. In general, in my view, good technical skills combined with good communication skills, interpersoanl skills, multi-disciplinary team approach, analytical and problem solving skills with reasonable domain knowledge should suffice.


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Arjun Shastry
Ranch Hand

Joined: Mar 13, 2003
Posts: 1874
Originally posted by arulk pillai:
In general, in my view, good technical skills combined with good communication skills, interpersoanl skills, multi-disciplinary team approach, analytical and problem solving skills with reasonable domain knowledge should suffice.

Like Bride Wanted in matrimonials:
"Tall,beautiful,fair,highly educated,age between 23-27 ,adjusting nature from good family."
sorry for being out of topic.
[ June 16, 2008: Message edited by: Arjun Shastry ]
Mark Herschberg
Sheriff

Joined: Dec 04, 2000
Posts: 6037
I would definitely want someone with domain knowledge in domains like elliptical curve cryptography or complex derivatives using advance statistical methods, since people who can learn it are few and far between. If I need someone to hack the linux kernal or port a mobile app to a new platform I'd probably go for someone with the technical experience of that technology.

Clearly, it's a question of which is harder to pick up, and how quickly the task needs to be done (i.e. if you can invest in the training versus the return). Learning the linux kernal is doable but to really understand it, takes more than a month or two.

--Mark
 
It is sorta covered in the JavaRanch Style Guide.
 
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