Overcoming the multi-faceted OSS expertise conundrum

How many times have you heard a colleague say they wish they could clone themselves (or one of their trusted colleagues)? Alternatively, to say they’d like to do a copy *.* of a colleague’s brain?

I’m feeling that way more now than at any time in the past, not of any one person in particular, but on whole fields of expertise. Data science, network virtualisation, cloud development models, digital marketing, the art of selling, getting hands-on with the many open-source OSS tools and integrating them together (as recently flagged by Christi). The list goes on. Gaining expertise in each field is a life’s work. Just gaining proficiency is a full-time job.

To be an expert in future OSS requires managing all these facets, not to mention all the challenges of the past / present. The question I find myself asking is how to find a balance of proficiencies up until the invention of a time-extension machine.

The best answer I’ve come up with so far is to be a super-connector. That requires four things:

  1. Knowing enough about the technologies, methodologies and perspectives of each pillar of expertise
  2. Having an amazing network of people who are making each pillar their life’s work respectively
  3. Enhancing my ability to spot / invent valuable opportunities that allow the two previous dot-points to be connected
  4. Having the ability to be the communication / translation layer between the first three points because each has its own language / jargon and doesn’t naturally plug straight into the others (eg data scientists and network operators)

I’d love to hear your thoughts on how you best manage the conundrum of multi-faceted expertise.

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