So you took a Briggs-Myers personality test and discovered that you have an INTP type personality. Congrats! You are, like me, a fairly rare breed. Around only 3 percent of the people in the US have an INTP personality. Now, how does that translate to your career? Is there actually such a thing as “INTP careers”? As a matter of fact, there is.
Intuitively, you know that there are careers that just wouldn’t be right for you. Imagine how difficult it would be for someone who hates talking to other people to do retail.
In this article, we’ll walk you through the traits and preferences that define INTP personalities. What are your strengths and weaknesses? Piggybacking on that, where do you have the best chance of thriving? Read on and find out which careers would perfectly match your personality.
What Does INTP Mean?
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INTP is one of 16 different four-letter personality types that the Myers–Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI) scale uses. The MBTI was created by the mother-daughter duo of Katharine Cook Briggs and Isabel Briggs Myers partly as a product of WWII. It was published around 1944 and has heavy ties to the work of Carl G Jung.
INTP stands for Introversion, iNtuition, Thinking, and Perceiving. Collectively, they make up the “Logician” persona. These descriptors aren’t always as on the nose as they sound, so let’s break them down.
Being introverted doesn’t mean you don’t like being around people (though it can be the case). It’s more about how you recharge your mental batteries, or what gives you energy in life. According to the Myers-Briggs guide, if you’re introverted, this applies to you:
“I like getting my energy from dealing with the ideas, pictures, memories, and reactions that are inside my head, in my inner world.”
While these individuals may not mind or enjoy being a member of a team, they are comfortable being alone. In fact, they may find that being with other people can be exhausting while having time to themselves is refreshing. In addition, introverts tend to have a small and tight-knit group of close friends, rather than a broad social group.
Intuition is a little harder to define. This becomes clearer when it’s compared to its opposite: Sensing. People that are Sensing tend to focus on the immediate reality of things; the look, feel, and even scent of the world around them. They tend to be experiential, visual, and hands-on learners.
Intuition, on the other hand, describes those that read between the lines. They are more concerned with the resulting pattern, meaning, or abstraction of the sensory information around them. People described as intuitive can learn by reading something in a textbook and tend to work better with metaphors. They, to put it simply, look at the big picture.
Falling in the Thinking category means you tend to value or use logic over emotion. This is why INTP personalities are also referred to as ‘logicians.’ When making a decision, a Thinking person weighs pros and cons and then picks the most logical solution.
This decision isn’t necessarily Spock-like and devoid of feeling. However, straight facts are the primary factors used by INTPs. Their emotions and the emotions of others are just a consideration.
Perceiving is a little difficult to pin down. Essentially, this category has to do with how others see you and how you interact with the world. Perceiving people tend to be flexible and go with the flow. They’re often less organized, maybe even a little messy. Their creativity comes in bursts, and they sometimes (maybe all the time) find themselves rushing to meet deadlines.
As a complete type, people with INTP personalities tend to be creative and logical, if a little lost in their world at times. INTPs are often compared to absent-minded professors. To that point, the image of Albert Einstein comes to mind. The German theoretical physicist had an INTP type personality.
If you’re an INTP, then you probably tend to think big picture but miss the small details. You focus on theories and abstract ideas and love to analyze complex problems (especially if you have an interest in them). Overthinking is a common habit. You may have trouble focusing if you’re doing something you don’t like or there’s something else you’d rather be working on.
INTPs have a lot of useful traits:
- Logical and sees the big picture. You have the ability to look at many working pieces and see a whole machine. You can also apply straight logic to situations.
- Analytical and honest. You’re able to examine concepts, products, and even beliefs. You can produce a straightforward and unbiased analysis, whether the result is positive or negative.
- Creative and open-minded. You light up at new ideas almost as much as coming up with such.
- Passionate and awed. You’re interested in discovering new things or finding results and you’re willing to pursue an interest deeply.
An INTP personality has just as many weaknesses, at least in a traditional environment:
- Difficulty focusing and sticking to one idea. You often find yourself jumping from idea to idea. That’s perhaps because you follow inspiration rather than holding down a single idea. As a result, you end up having more ideas than you can hold on to.
- Critical, insensitive, and condescending. You sometimes run the risk of focusing on only the facts and missing the emotion. You often deliver criticism because it makes sense before considering the emotional impact. This criticism is also often complex or high-minded and comes across as condescending, whether intentional or not.
- Self-doubting and unconventional. You tend to break the rules in favor of creativity but also doubt final products and often revise work.
- Inconsistency and messiness. You work better in bursts and whenever creativity strikes, often at the risk of chronic disorganization.
Many people find the results of their personality test (like the free one found here) surprisingly accurate. It’s good to remember that personality tests, in general, describe us, but do not define us.
These tests—like this guide—are simply suggestions and should be taken as such. Just because we are both INTP doesn’t mean we will be successful in the same career field. It just means we tend to think similarly.
With that out of the way, let’s take a look at careers well suited for INTP personality types.
INTP-A vs INTP-T
Within the INTP personality, we find two distinctive subtypes: Assertive Logicians (INTP-A) and Turbulent Logicians (INTP-B). They differ in a variety of areas, including their outlook on life and how they deal with and perceive consistency and change.
For example, according to 16Personalities, NTP-As are more consistent than their Turbulent counterpart. NTP-As have more confidence in their decisions and are less affected by others’ opinions. On the other hand, INTP-Bs tend to change their goals more often. This can make them more flexible problem-solvers (although they run the risk of being too flexible).
As an INTP, you’re probably a bit of an innovator, independent, and a little rule-averse. There’s a good chance you’re not a fan of small talk and a social career doesn’t sound fun. You likely have strong critical and analytical skills, along with a creative streak. Also, if you’re like me, you enjoy coming up with ideas more than actually implementing them.
Best INTP Tech Careers
Each position is unique, as every company has a different structure and business methodology. However, tech jobs can be some of the best for INTP type personalities. Many tech occupations allow remote work from home. This means employees don’t have to chat with people every day and there’s no one constantly looking over their shoulder.
In tech careers, planning and solid infrastructure are key. You may find that programming is one of the most incredible mixtures of both creativity and logical structure.
Here are some positions that you might find interesting:
Different positions with this title can have different responsibilities. However, getting to plan, design, code, and debug software can be really appealing. As a bonus, software engineers make around $90k per year.
Data Analyst/Data Scientist
If you are pretty good with science, analytics, and numbers in general, then a career in data science analytics might be for you. These professionals require more education, but they get to create their own algorithms instead of using existing ones. Data scientists make an average salary well over six figures.
This is a difficult-to-obtain yet highly sought-after position, but it also happens to be perfect for many INTP personalities. You’d get to design with broad strokes, coming up with systems and gameplay mechanics. Other professionals (although sometimes yourself) are responsible for implementing your design. On average, however, they make a little under $60k.
While this isn’t a complete list, it contains several major technology careers for INTPs. While technological career paths require higher education, many don’t. The skills required can be obtained from a faster and less expensive coding bootcamp or self-study.
There are outstanding data science bootcamps, data analytics bootcamps, and even product management bootcamps. Many hiring managers in the tech field care more about your skills than your qualifications.
Engineering/Science Careers for INTP Types
You may have a more technical leaning without being a fan of computers. If this is the case, you may be more interested in a science or engineering career.
INTPs love exploring and understanding the world and how it works. Designing things while keeping natural laws in mind is also satisfying. However, the attention to detail and near perfection required for these jobs may make them less suitable choices.
Some science and engineering careers in the science and engineering fields:
Designing things that fly, sometimes into orbit, is a pretty exciting field. This is a field that requires strong design and a deep understanding of physics and its practical applications. This will appeal to those with a penchant for innovative and technical design. Aerospace engineers earn around $80k yearly.
If you happen to have the stomach for seeing some less than pleasant things, then forensic science might be for you. You’ll help solve crimes from the safety of a lab or a crime scene. It’s like solving a puzzle but the puzzle pieces are made out of blood. Forensic scientists make around $60k a year on average.
If you’ve never thought about being an architect then you’re probably at the end of a bell curve. Being able to both create something artistically beautiful and structurally functional is right up the INTP alley. You get to make amazing designs without ever having to build them yourself. Architects bring home around $70k yearly.
Other Careers for INTP Types
So, none of the above work for you? Maybe science seems like too much work, or you’re not a fan of computers. That’s okay. There are plenty of jobs that appeal to INTP personalities. Here are just a few more ideas:
If you enjoy talking to people (yes, some of us do have people skills), then consider journalism. Many people with an INTP personality find writing enjoyable. They like getting to the bottom of a story or finding an interesting lead. Journalists make around $40k per year. You can also focus on being a researcher or a technical writer.
Many INTP types have trouble communicating, so some would assume a job in advertising would be bad. However, having trouble communicating something in person doesn’t mean you can’t or don’t understand how people think, which is at the core of advertising.
Creative directors are the art-brain behind adverts and brand campaigns, which involves creativity as much as it does tactical thinking. Also, they bring home around $125k a year, which might also be important to you.
Not everyone can go to school for 12 years or attend college. That doesn’t mean you can’t find a satisfying ‘normal’ job. Electricians need to be good at troubleshooting and design. They have to solve minor engineering mysteries daily.
Mechanics work with some of the most complicated machines in common use, finding and fixing broken components. Electricians earn a little under $50k a year, and mechanics a little under $40k. However, these figures change quite a bit depending on where you live and your local union.
A Summary of the Top Career Matches for INTPs
Here’s a list of the nine best INTP careers that will make the best use of your unique skills:
- Software Engineer
- Data Analyst/Data Scientist
- Game Designer
- Aerospace Engineer
- Forensic Scientist
- Creative Director
This list, like personality types, is just a suggestion. If your dream is to be a pilot, a sword fighter, or a doula, don’t let this article stop you. Hopefully, whatever you find will stimulate your brain and let you loose on the world to make or discover some amazing things.
INTP personalities are called ‘logicians’ for a reason. Because they’re often inside their head, it’s important for INTP personalities to have room to experiment and be creative. This makes jobs that are monotonous and repetitive, such as being an accountant or a data entry clerk, a struggle for INTPs. Sales jobs may also be difficult for the less sociable INTPs.
Your MBTI personality type can serve as a guide for you to know yourself better. An assessment of your MBTI personality type can help pinpoint your weaknesses and your strengths. This, in turn, will give you a significant deal of insight into the careers that suit you best.
Being logicians, an INTP is motivated by solving challenges and problems that require a lot of thinking. To say that an INTP has a thirst for intellectual stimulation is an understatement. This is why an INTP thrives in roles that require a lot of brainpower and sleuthing. If you’re an INTP, consider being a computer programmer, a business analyst, or even an information security analyst.
INTPs like to work at companies that afford some room for independence, mainly because INTPs enjoy solitude. Logicians spend a lot of their time being in their head, crafting new ideas or ways to tackle a problem. This is also why INTPs need to have someone who’ll keep them in check and make sure they do execute their ideas.
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