We take pride to call ourself modern. We no longer like to be known as hunters and gatherers. We achieved a lot of developments in transportation, construction and communication technologies, electronics, information technologies, etc.
US National Academy of Engineers rank the greatest engineering achievements of the 20th century as follows:
5. Air conditioning and refrigerator
8. Health technologies
9. Petroleum and Petrochemical technologies
10. Laser and Fiber Optics
11. Nuclear technologies
In agriculture sector, with industrial revolution, farming methods took a great leap ahead. Now we no longer need to thresh the grain with sticks, machine does it with a press of button. A single machine replaced thousands of people in this sector without compromising the production. Now the yield is more, time it takes is far less.
Communication has become so advanced that you can connect to people residing in spaceships outside earth. With a small electronic gadget in your hand you are connected to the entire world. Internet opened a new world of information at your finger tip. The world signed up in one single network.
Now all the products we use is the combination of different technologies. Take the case of a very basic mobile phone. It has battery, electronic chips, plastic, storage disks, microphone, speakers, etc. Even though battery, electronic chips, microphone and speakers can be put in one basket, what about the other two. Managing such diverse technologies in one company was tiresome. So we setup different companies each specializing in one technology and they focused on one part of the mobile. In each company, we setup machines to automate the development and produce products in bulk, reducing human intervention to minimum. Humans take the part of ensuring the proper working of the present system and researching better way of doing the same. The product of these companies are then taken to another company for assembling it to form the final product.
We advanced to such a level that no one in this world know to make a phone from end-to-end. How funny, isn’t it! Yes, the company which produces the plastic component doesn’t know to make chips. The one who makes storage chips doesn’t know anything about plastic molding. This is the case with almost every products and equipments we use today.
In such a world, suppose there comes a need to start over, from the very beginning. Suppose a few people of today are taken out and asked to start again from stone-age, will we be able to make any of the things we use today? Will they be able to produce things at the pace we are doing it now? We will find it hard to make even a small hut by ourself, because we never tried it in our life, to do things from end-to-end. For us, we bought bricks, iron, cement, wood, etc from different sources and hired different people to build it. The only part we did is funding and supervising. But I won’t say that is something wrong. It was because we hired people who are used to building houses that we could finish the construction in minimum time possible.
So that is the key behind our faster development. Our advancement has a lot to do with specializing. It’s because we quit doing everything and started concentrating on one thing, dedicating all the time for the advancement of it, trying different things with it, that we are advancing in a faster pace than ever before. We started sharing. We shared our knowledge and our inventions with our fellow beings and they shared theirs with us. In turn we altogether advanced in a faster pace than a single group doing both. With specialization, a person comes to know his technology in depth and its possibilities and thereby he will be able to come up with best solutions possible with that technology.
Today’s world need specialized brains. “Knowing everything but knowing nothing in depth” is a state shared by a lot of us. I would say, that is one reason of today’s unemployment. There is a lot of need for specialized people in the industry but what we have is a set of previously mentioned people. Having a basic knowledge about everything is required but realize the need for specialization in one technology or field that you think really fits your passion. That will give you a boost in your life. That will make you SPECIAL…