Should you choose a tech niche?

Whether you're new to technology or have some IT expertise, you've certainly questioned what specialization is. There is a lot of discussion about whether it is smart to be a jack of all trades or a master of one and which route will bring you quicker career progress and a better salary. Is it wise to apply to any sub-industry in software development or pick one super-specific field?

Stefanija Tenekedjieva

Stefanija Tenekedjieva

Every job route has advantages and disadvantages, but in this article, we’ll discuss why having a focused approach will help you climb the career ladder and have a more fruitful job.

What is a niche developer?

A niche developer, of whom there are many, focuses on a particular field of development. In addition to frontend and backend developers, there are specialists in various programming languages, the cloud, games, cryptography, and many other specialized fields. These types of developers frequently promote themselves to set themselves apart from other experts and generalist web developers.

On the other hand, generalist web developers provide a wider range of development services and haven't really concentrated on one particular field of development.

They could be fullstack engineers adept at frontend and backend work and may also offer support for other tasks like project management and application design.

Pros of finding your niche

The amount of material to study can seem intimidating, particularly when you're just starting in technology. Even after your career slowly develops, you might find less and less time to build on your existing expertise and work on a niche.

Keeping up with the new languages, technologies, and approaches that appear ever so often is pretty hard.

However, when you select a particular discipline, you drastically reduce the volume and versatility of work required. It also helps you feel less stressed and learn more quickly.

You distinguish yourself from the crowd by deciding to work in a particular area of the tech industry. As a result, your chances of getting hired increase because you are among a small group of people offering the same talents and services, rather than competing with every developer or designer (or both!) in the job market.

If you're a laser-focused IT professional, you'll quickly become familiar with your expertise and the demands of businesses and customers. Then, drawing attention to your unique abilities and experience on your resumé and portfolio will be simple. Additionally, any prospective employer or client will immediately see that you are the best candidate for their specific position or engagement.

You can genuinely enjoy your work by choosing the direction that draws you the most, making it seem less like work. You can also realize your ambition of eventually getting paid well for having a good time because of the enormous number of technological employment and the stable compensation levels in the sector.

My personal experience, for example, is similar, albeit not in software engineering. But years ago, I started dabbling in digital marketing, a vast ocean of different niches. I made a full cycle till I reached what I do best: keyword research and writing good content.

Cons of working in a niche

Although many exciting fields would be considered niche industries, from high-tech solutions for real-life problems to blockchain and cyber security, and it seems like it’s all roses to work in those fields, there are also some downsides.

For example, the competition in niche fields is much harder when you’ve moved further up in your career. The more specific and unique a job position is, the more competitive it feels to get that job.

Another downside is that the learning curve of most technologies and processes within niche technologies is usually steeper. However, once mastered, they are more likely to help you find a better job.

A considerable worry is that niche industries are more vulnerable to market changes. If an industry is massive for a while, it doesn’t mean that it will stay afloat and be the big thing forever. And if you’re an expert in that field, you suddenly see yourself having fewer prospects.

Finally, something you need to remember is that if you need to find another specialization in your career, it might be harder to adapt from one niche to another instead of being a generalist developer.

To wrap up…

Your current knowledge, the business landscape, ability to learn and adapt, curiosity to try out new things, and projected career plans are all factors that you need to weigh in when deciding on whether or not you want to specialize in a niche.

Everyone knows the saying “a jack of all trades, a master of none”, but we keep forgetting the end part: “but oftentimes better than a master of one.”

If you are a person that likes to keep learning and adapting, you might be better as a generalist. But if you want to be the master of a particular skill or work in a very niche industry, then you should be a master of one!