The difference between a specialist and an expert can be difficult to understand. The two words are often used interchangeably, and some careers naturally lend themselves better to one term or another. At the same time, there are some small changes between experts and specialists that will make them better suited for certain tasks over the other.
Degree of Focus
Some careers are very focused while others are broader. Focused careers involve people who know everything there is to know about one certain subject, but that person does not know much outside of it. Broader careers often have a good grasp on many different subjects, but the person’s knowledge does not compare to someone with a focused career on their specific subject.
Experts are generally broader positions. For example, a pediatrician is generally an expert when it come children’s health. A specialist is generally a very focused career. A specialist in the medical field would be a pancreas specialist. This person knows everything about the pancreas, but often is not as good as the expert outside of that field.
This makes the expert better for more general problems, and the specialist is the best at solving problems that concern one focused topic.
Experts are generally hired due to their wisdom and experience. They know a lot about many subjects, and their level of knowledge far outweighs most other people. Experts are great for making recommendations, and they are often very good at analyzing a problem. They can generally find out what is wrong with a person or situation, and they can make a recommendation to correct it.
At the same time, experts are generally not as good at actually doing things. They are generally better at finding the right people or the exact problem, but they may not be qualified to fix it. This is especially true for very serious or rare problems.
A specialist is someone known for doing things. If you have a problem that fits within their knowledge, then they will be the best person to fix that problem. They will know the most about their subject, and they will be able to find problems that no one else can.
Specialists are best at doing things, but they typically aren’t very good at recommending people or analyzing problems outside of their specialty. You would not want to visit a specialist if you have a problem, but you don’t know what’s causing it.
This is one area where specialists and experts generally have a completely different meaning. There are many businesses and service providers that have different levels of employees to reflect their experience. For example, an SEO business has an SEO expert and an SEO specialist.
These terms usually refer more to experience when it comes to business or career titles. Specialists are generally considered to be people who have about five or so years of experience in their given career, and they are better than general employees.
Experts would be those who have 10 years of experience or more, and they are considered to be much better than specialists.
In the medical field, the terms match their original meaning much better. An expert is usually someone who can recommend specialists, and the specialist is someone that knows one part of the human body better than anyone.
Level of Knowledge
This is one area where the two terms are generally the same. Specialists and experts are both very knowledgeable about their given topic, but the focus of their knowledge tends to be different.
While some career paths try to imply that the specialist is less knowledgeable than the expert, as in business, the two are generally regarded to have the same level of knowledge.
Specialists and experts are often confused, and the terms are generally interchanged without people really understanding the differences. Specialists are the masters of one given topic, but experts know more about general knowledge.
If you are looking for a specialist or expert, then it is generally best to see what these exact terms mean for the business or practice that uses them. Some businesses make up their own meanings, or they may misuse the terms. You can find experts of all kinds through certain professional services, for instance, you can find an expert by investment asset class on Zintro, find an expert by profession on Zintro, and find an expert by discipline on Zintro.