See also post on top 5 expertise I could teach.
In the US job market, people often ask “What do you specialize in?”. I think most non-managers in this industry, esp. the successful ones, do specialize in something. Whether you like it or not, you are often perceived that way.
Clearly, many professionals are jack of many trades (or a jack of few trades), and don’t have any real expertise, depth or insight. Depending on your view, this may not be a problem for them.
Like property evaluation, I have a list of criteria:
- theoretical complexity — so most peers can’t master it. I get lower stress. For example, Threading, statistics, pricing models, algorithms, data science? …
- market depth (entry barrier) — eg: quant is too hard to get into and very few jobs in the mid-range or low-end
- opportunities in research/teaching, for my later years. Relatively few choices.
- aptitude — (aka personal advantage) easier to add value and receive appreciation and recognition.
- Something I believe in or care about, such as personal investment, or health. Self-knowledge: If it has commercial value I will care about it.
- ———– Rest are secondary —————-
- pathway to self-employment
- (obvious) accumulation and low churn — Look at grandpa
- premium on job market — low priority in my later career
- Something related to early childhood education
Some specific domains (See the spreadsheet for more details):
- concurrency in java/c++
- raw market data processing in c++
- risk mgmt + derivative valuation