Design Specialist vs Generalist: An exploration with IDF San Diego

Hosted by IxDF San Diego
May 14th, 2021
3:00pm - 4:00pm (UTC -07:00), San Diego
14 IxDF Members (and some non-members) are attending
This is a free Local Group meet-up
Attendance is free.
You don’t have to be a member to attend.
What are Local Groups?
Local Groups will expand your career network—whether you are interested in learning new skills, finding job opportunities or looking for a new employee.
A Local Group is a group of people who, like you, are passionate about design. Local Groups organize meetings to get inspired, have fun and learn from one another.

Meet-Up Details

About this Event

Is it viable to pursue a path as either a "generalist" or "specialist" Designer? Why choose either? What are the pro's and con's of each? Who are some examples in other industries we can draw from? Which companies, hire which type? How should you pitch yourself in either case? Which is more future-proof? These are just a few of the topics we will explore in this part presentation, part discussion brief exploration of the common but confusing topic of the "specialist" vs "generalist" approach to being a Designer in the industry today.

Link to join:


  • 15-20 minute presentation on topic by IxDF Local Leader, Jon Sabutis, UX Architect at Tavant Technologies

  • 15-20 minute group discussion, synthesis, and community announcements

About the speaker:

Jon Sabutis is a self-described "highly collaborative" digital Product Designer with a focus on UX, Design Thinking, and User Centered Design. He is currently working on FinTech (financial technology) products as well as consulting across various finance and lending projects. His career has spanned multiple industries including government, commercial, and non-profit international development. He has led design teams through highly complex problem solving projects for the US Navy, Wells Fargo, and the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, among many others.

About IxDF and our San Diego Chapter:

The Interaction Design Foundation is an educational organization which produces open access educational materials online with the stated goal of "democratizing education by making world-class educational materials free for anyone, anywhere."

The San Diego Chapter of IDF is committed to building grassroots community, capacity, and education across local design disciplines.

Meet-Up Discussion

Hi all! Please use this discussion thread to discuss Design Specialist vs Generalist: An exploration with IDF San Diego held on May 14, 2021. Feel free to ask questions about the place, date and time, agenda of the meeting, or anything else.

3 am? I just want to make sure that’s the right time.

I want to attend but 3am is a bit early!

there may be a time-correction problem with some software along the path from Denmark to San Diego (and Mads and Rikke now live in Dubais, UAE, which also complicates things). But my invitation says 3-4 PM.

We need both, specialists and generalists. Having trained both and employed both and can tell you the virtues and downsides of each. The correct answer depends upon you — your interests and what you wish to accomplish in life. Example: I started off as a specialist and was quite happy. But as I taught different topics, and started to write general textbooks, I became a generalist. As a VP at Apple I had to be a generalist. Many tech companies have 2 career tracks, one for specialists and one for generalists. Which is best for you? Only you can decide.

Is anyone else required to enter a meeting passcode?

Hm, yes - I also see a meeting passcode input field, but I don’t know the passcode.

Yes me too, I was really interested in this too.

Please log in or join us to post comments in the discussion.

Local Leaders of IxDF San Diego