Recently Rocky had one of his many pearls of wisdom, that of the software development world becoming a specialization due to the complexity of the industry. Let me tell you that a) I agree with Rocky 100% (and more if anyone could agree more than 100%) and b) this is true especially so for SharePoint developers and 2007 (the version, not the year).
Actually, let me quantify that. What is a SharePoint developer? Is it a ASP.NET developer who knows a lot about the SharePoint API or is it a SharePoint developer who knows a lot about the ASP.NET API? The answer is yes.
Take me for example, I really didn't do a lot of ASP.NET development (about a year or so since B1) so other than little apps, the odd web service, etc. I really didn't have an in-depth experience being an ASP.NET developer. When I got the SharePoint itch I scratched it with what little COM+, ASP and structured development techniques I knew (we're talking back in STS and SPS 2001 days, before the .NET version). With v2 and 2003 came .NET and more knowledge of how IIS worked, ASP.NET server controls and all that goodness. Now here's 2007 and we're dealing with ASP.NET 2.0, security and membership providers, master pages, user controls, workflow, and a million other little tips, tricks and gadgets that would drive anyone batty.
It's just too much for any one brain to handle (except maybe Hanselman, but we all know he's not human anyways). And there's more to come! Upgrading from ASP.NET 1.1 to 2.0 was a huge shift for SharePoint (in fact a complete flip of the architecture, literally) but moving to 3.0/3.5 isn't going to be that much of a big deal. It's just a different version of the API, a set of new dlls, some Atlas thrown in. Basically a service pack, not a full blown release. With that will come all kinds of things. How about LINQ for SharePoint? We already have people writing PowerShell servlets that will treat SharePoint sites as folders you can navigate, so querying a SharePoint list shouldn't be any more difficult than using LINQ to query a list of objects.
The future is here and moving fast. Being a SharePoint expert isn't just about knowing all the technologies, layers, and tiers that encompasses SharePoint because frankly that's not realistic. SharePoint is just another layer in the stack, another tool in the toolbox, for us "developers" to work with. Whether we choose to weigh more heavily on the SharePoint API or the ASP.NET one, it's just a matter of what we're trying to accomplish. Being a SharePoint expert is about knowing what's available and making use of it, and getting the guys who really know this stuff inside and out to build it for you (or if you're that guy, build that part yourself).
I think gone are the days where being a SharePoint expert meant you knew every nut and bolt of every piece of the machine. Today, you're lucky if you can get your head wrapped around one part of it.