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I am applying for programming jobs listed on websites. In a few of the job descriptions one of the requirements is : to be able to work in a multi-disciplinary team.
The job ads also say that the prospective candidate should be able to mentor juniors and learn from seniors. What exactly does it mean to work in a multi-disciplinary team ?

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It means to work on a team composed of specialists in different areas, all of whom are key to the success of the project. An example would be a team tasked with designing a 3D food printer that will go on the International Space Station. The different disciplines needed to make this work might include: an engineer, a chemist, a 3D printer expert, a nutritionist, a couple of software developers, a tester, a safety expert, a materials scientist, a physicist and a purchasing agent. Not all team members would be full-time on the team; some would meet daily and work together, but others would be in an advisory or Subject-Matter Expert role, and would be available when needed. It's up to the core team to reach out to their subject matter experts and keep them informed and involved.

Skills required to work on a multidisciplinary team would be: respect for diverse viewpoints, comfort with taking a leadership role for your own discipline, a bias towards action and getting things done, accountability, integrity, good judgment, high emotional intelligence, and comfort with group participation.

Multidisciplinary teams are the norm now because their diverse viewpoints flush out details and factors that more homogeneous teams would miss. This leads to higher quality work.

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    An additional skill I would add is the ability to communincate about your technical specialty in terms that those not in your specialty can understand.
    – HLGEM
    Jun 27, 2014 at 14:13
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    Another relevant skill: interest and ability to learn from people in other disciplines. The QA guy needs to understand enough chemistry to design good tests; the printer expert needs to understand the unique physics of deployment in space; the software developers need to understand the UX factors in designing for astronauts, etc. A multi-discplinary team is usually highly collaborative; this isn't your waterfall "requirements come in, we do our part and send it along, iterate" setup. Jun 27, 2014 at 15:41
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A multi-disciplinary team can mean one of two things:

  1. A team made up of a heterogeneous group of individuals each with their own specialist skills (e.g. Graphic Designer, Front-End Developer, Copywriter)
  2. A team made up of a homogeneous group of individual each having multiple specialist skills (e.g. UX designers)

Or it can mean a combination of the above.

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