Join Date: Apr 2002
So the Generalist vs Specialist issue is a complex one, mostly because the word Generalist means different things to different people. On top of that, every company is very different in terms of their pipeline and the type of people they want/need, and that also changes over time. So it's tough to answer a broad question like "Is there a place for generalists at large companies", because it depends on what a generalist is, and which company, and when you decide to apply.
For example, lets say you want to get into texturing. You can go to one company, and they'll say they are most interested in finding people who can paint traditionally, and then they can be taught the computer on the job. Then you go to another company, and they use almost all procedurals for their texturing, and their in-house software is all text based, so they're looking for more programmery type people who have a decent artistic eye. Then another company is also procedural based, but they use a GUI, so if you're used to texturing in something like maya's hypershade, then you're potentially qualified for the job. So that's the same job, but done in very different ways, and looking for very different types of people with very different sorts of skills.
So the best thing to do is be specific, ask people at any company you're interested in applying to specifics about the job, what sort of pipeline they have, what sort of people they look for, and then re-ask people every few years. And ask several people, because even multiple projects in the same company may use different approaches and so be looking for different sorts of people.
As far as specialist vs generalist, even someone who has skills in a lot of areas do tend to have their preferences. That old adage: "Jack Of All Trades, master of none", I disagree with that notion. Most generalists tend to be "Master of one, and decent at 2-3 others". Even people who chose to specialize may still have generalist skills, it's just their other skills may not be work related. So it's entirely possible to be a generalist and a specialist at the same time. Think of it like University, you get a major in something, and then also a minor.
As far as your situation goes, I'd recommend try lots of different things, find out what you like doing the most (even if that's 2 or 3 things), then concentrate on those while still keeping a close eye on a few things you also like but may be less passionate about. Then try and find a job that matches your skills and preferences. If you can't find a large company that matches your skills, then don't worry about it, not everyone needs to work for a large company, there are lots of smaller companies out there doing super cool work that you may prefer.
Anyways, not sure if that answers your questions, I may just be babbling. But hopefully something in there is helpful and applicable to your situation. First, do what you love, and then find a way to make a living at it, whether you're good at a single task, good at many, whether you're more artistic, more technical, or an even blend of both. There is a job out there for your skillset, all you have to do is find it.