In my 20′s I got exposed to a large variety of work situations and was able to succeed in a variety of technical fields (admin, developer, hardware tech, etc). I had the time back then to not have to choose which direction I went with things, I went broad but deep into each field I was interested in. Every couple of years I’d go head long into another field and read dozen books, setup labs experiment like crazy, use whatever connections I’d made to get my foot in the door somewhere and then make sure I delivered in big ways, and most importantly keep reviewing what I’d done in the past to make sure it actually did work and did work well.
This obsessive learning habit had a great side effect, as long as I stuck to slightly related fields I learned exponentially more. Learning about networking made helping customers with a variety of issues far easier when I was just a lowly computer tech. When I was trying to automate customer installations in a repeatable way, learning software development even at a trivial level made things possible that were not otherwise. I got to see how everythign interconnected.
Nowadays though I have a busy life, I no longer can work 80+ hours a week year round, while studying, practicing or experimenting with the rest of my time. I now have to choose which way to do I go. I think I’m mostly going “Focused and Narrow” on a few subfields that are closely related to one another. I will focus for the near future on systems development and virtualization, I’ll still probably be a language addict and wanting to do it a number of different ways, but I think for awhile I need to consildate my limited time and energy. I hope I don’t lose my larger view and perspective on things, but I doubt I can any longer keep up with new versions of Postfix, Exchange, or Qmail, motherboard slot types, RAM, or whatever things that I used to know in much greater detail than I do now.