Browse Definitions:
Definition

T-shaped employee

Contributor(s): Ivy Wigmore

A T-shaped employee, in the context of human resources, is an individual who has deep knowledge and skills in a particular area of specialization, along with and the desire and ability to make connections across disciplines. The horizontal bar of the T symbolizes a breadth of general knowledge and soft skills, while the vertical stem of the T symbolizes the depth of technical hard skills. Essentially, a T-shaped individual is both a niche-topic specialist and a generalist with people skills.

Today in information technology, T-shaped employees are in great demand because of an increasing convergence of technologies and changes in software development and delivery models. For some software development jobs, such as those that involve DevOps for example, the ability to work in a multidisciplinary team is essential. This contrasts with the I-shaped skills model that information technology departments valued in the past -- one in which an employee's depth of knowledge in one niche area of IT was valued above all else.

One approach to ensuring that a company has employees with the required knowledge and skills for success is to encourage projects that break down silo walls and create a company culture that nurtures soft skill development. In such a working environment, employees will naturally gain general knowledge and develop people skills as they continue to build the in-depth knowledge required to support the company's business goals.

The term T-shaped employee was popularized by Tim Brown, the CEO of the IDEO, a California design firm known for its collaborative and innovative workplace practices. 

This was last updated in July 2017

Continue Reading About T-shaped employee

Join the conversation

1 comment

Send me notifications when other members comment.

By submitting you agree to receive email from TechTarget and its partners. If you reside outside of the United States, you consent to having your personal data transferred to and processed in the United States. Privacy

Please create a username to comment.

What is your HR department's biggest challenge?
Cancel

-ADS BY GOOGLE

File Extensions and File Formats

Powered by:

SearchCompliance

  • pure risk (absolute risk)

    Pure risk, also called absolute risk, is a category of threat that is beyond human control and has only one possible outcome if ...

  • risk assessment

    Risk assessment is the identification of hazards that could negatively impact an organization's ability to conduct business.

  • audit program (audit plan)

    An audit program, also called an audit plan, is an action plan that documents what procedures an auditor will follow to validate ...

SearchSecurity

SearchHealthIT

SearchDisasterRecovery

  • business continuity and disaster recovery (BCDR)

    Business continuity and disaster recovery (BCDR) are closely related practices that describe an organization's preparation for ...

  • business continuity plan (BCP)

    A business continuity plan (BCP) is a document that consists of the critical information an organization needs to continue ...

  • call tree

    A call tree -- sometimes referred to as a phone tree -- is a telecommunications chain for notifying specific individuals of an ...

SearchStorage

  • nearline storage

    Nearline storage is the on-site storage of data on removable media.

  • application-aware storage

    Application-aware storage is a storage system with built-in intelligence about relevant applications and their utilization ...

  • Remote Direct Memory Access (RDMA)

    Remote Direct Memory Access (RDMA) is a technology that allows computers in a network to exchange data in main memory without ...

SearchSolidStateStorage

  • 3D XPoint

    3D XPoint is memory storage technology jointly developed by Intel and Micron Technology Inc.

  • RRAM or ReRAM (resistive RAM)

    RRAM or ReRAM (resistive random access memory) is a form of nonvolatile storage that operates by changing the resistance of a ...

  • JEDEC

    JEDEC is a global industry group that develops open standards for microelectronics.

SearchCloudStorage

  • Google Cloud Storage

    Google Cloud Storage is an enterprise public cloud storage platform that can house large unstructured data sets.

  • RESTful API

    A RESTful application program interface breaks down a transaction to create a series of small modules, each of which addresses an...

  • cloud storage infrastructure

    Cloud storage infrastructure is the hardware and software framework that supports the computing requirements of a private or ...

Close