Career Matches for INTP Personalities

Updated 27 May 2020

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The Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI) test presents a series of questions that evaluates the psychological type of the participant. It is based on the theory that our behaviour patterns and the decisions we make are not random, but are guided by our personality types.

The MBTI identifies sixteen personality types and the category you fit into can reveal your outlook on the world, decision-making processes and the way you add meaning to your daily experience.

If you’ve taken the test and know that you are an INTP personality type, read on to find out which 10 careers you are most suited to, and which to avoid.

What Qualities Does an INTP Personality Have?

The INTP persona is rare, with very few people fitting the criteria for this specific group. The INTP acronym stands for:

  • (I) Introversion
  • (N) Intuition
  • (T) Thinking
  • (P) Perceiving

INTPs are creative and enthusiastic, priding themselves on being able to see the bigger picture and invent new, better ways to do things.

They value intellect and see themselves as intelligent and unique. This is not a self-aggrandising claim but, to them, an honest evaluation – and an INTP values straight talking and honesty. This may at times make them appear condescending and aloof.

Often liberal thinkers, they are rarely judgemental and follow a ‘live and let live’ outlook on life. They expect this accepting attitude from others and often choose to live very private lives, not opening up easily to others.

Core Strengths and Weaknesses

Like any other personality type, INTPs have their strengths and weaknesses. An understanding of both can help them use these traits to their advantage.

INTP Strengths

  • Imaginative and innovative, INTPs are always thinking up new ideas and new ways of doing things. They can easily spot the future potential in things and use their imagination to explore ideas.

  • INTPs are analytical thinkers, taking their time to understand and weigh up a situation before envisaging solutions. They love a challenge, especially if they can draw upon their imagination and creativity to solve it.

  • Open-mindedness is a great strength of an INTP. They welcome other people’s suggestions and will explore alternative ways of doing things if it helps them reach a satisfying conclusion.

INTP Weaknesses

  • Their high intellect and ability to see the bigger picture can sometimes make INTPs intolerant of people who can’t keep up. They are at risk of coming across as condescending and may become exasperated.

  • A tendency to retreat into their imagination can result in a degree of absent-mindedness for INTPs. Keeping up with the tedious demands of everyday life is not a priority for the INTP, who would rather spend their time focused on projects they are passionate about.

  • Their high-level thinking and straight forward-talking can make INTPs a little insensitive to the emotional needs of those around them. Diplomacy and tact are not their strong points.

What is an INTP like at Work?

The creativity and forward-thinking of an INTP can make them a valuable asset in the workplace. Although not suited to the monotonous or menial tasks that exist in most jobs, if an INTP is allowed to tackle a specific project or problem, they will relish the challenge of finding the best approach to the task at hand.

There is no problem too complex for an INTP. As long as they are not tasked with the boring job of actually implementing their ideas, they can draw upon their creativity and innovative thinking to find solutions.

INTPs in a Team

Often preferring to work alone, so they don’t have to slow down to explain their thinking to a colleague, an INTP will feel stifled and frustrated working as part of a large group – especially with people less clever than them.

A small team or partnership may be better suited, especially if that person can take on board various ideas and suggestions and action them – an area the INTP may struggle with.

INTPs as Managers

Their ability to see the bigger picture and work as a visionary means that an INTP is good at overseeing and driving forward a team. As they love to come up with the ideas but hate to execute them, delegating the practical aspects of a job to their lower-ranking staff is ideal for an INTP.

This personality type won’t let their feelings get in the way of work – good for getting a complex project to completion, but perhaps a drawback for the team members who need support from their manager.

Building the right team around an INTP is crucial to draw the best from them. They work best with staff who have attention to detail and can appreciate that small tasks all come together to achieve a big result.

Those people who can get on with their work with little input will complement the skills of an INTP manager, who is probably lacking in these areas.

INTPs expect other people to be as focused and enthusiastic as they are, so when a team member lives up to these expectations, an effective working relationship is likely. Staff who don’t live up to their INTP manager’s high expectations, however, may have a very different experience of working beneath this personality type.

10 Best Career Matches for INTP Personalities

The personality traits of the INTP person lend themselves very well to particular industries. Their creativity and focus are very desirable to employers, and if they are allowed the freedom to work in a way that suits them, they can become a highly valued member of a team.

There are careers in various fields that would be suited to an INTP personality:

1. Engineer

INTPs love seeing a problem from a different angle, using their creativity to think up new solutions. Engineers often work on one project at a time, giving it their full focus until they have reached a satisfying conclusion that they can prove works.

They are unlikely to be tasked with implementing the finer details of this solution, which suits INTPs perfectly.

INTPs can work alone to break down complex problems, drilling down into the separate parts and thinking through solutions for each, as well as providing a detailed plan of action.

An aspect of engineering that is likely to appeal to an INTP is the option to choose a specific area depending on their interests. Common areas of engineering include chemical, mechanical or aerospace engineering.

2. Computer Programmer

The attention to detail and willingness to get to the very heart of a problem means that INTPs make great computer programmers. They can methodically and carefully test a programme, checking for bugs, finding fixes and streamlining processes.

The solitary manner of working as a computer programmer suits the INTP since they can fully focus on the task at hand, without having to consider colleagues.

Coding and developing are considered relatively complex and difficult areas to work in, which will please an INTP who values their intellect and intelligence.

3. Inventor

INTPs are inventive and creative by nature. As they are great problem-solvers with the ability to think outside the box, inventing as a career choice is a great fit.

Inventors often work alone, which suits an INTP personality well. Spending time thinking up new ideas and drawing upon their intellect and creativity, they are often given free rein.

An inventor can work for themselves in a self-employed capacity or can find employment in any industry that manufactures products. Although being an inventor doesn’t always mean highly paid consistent work, an INTP will find great satisfaction in the day-to-day processes of the role.

4. Lawyer

Although INTPs may have to work on the communication and people skills required for a career in law, the logical and analytical nature of the work itself fits perfectly with this personality type. An INTP prides themselves on a high level of intellect, so they will be happy to dedicate the time and commitment to training as a lawyer.

A qualified lawyer must abide by strict rules and processes – and since an INTP loves freedom and autonomy, this can feel suffocating. However, if they can overcome this, they are likely to be very successful in this field.

An ability to see things from different angles means that an INTP is perfectly suited to anticipating counterarguments; an obvious benefit for a career in law.

5. Business Analyst

The analytical capabilities of an INTP can be put to use in the role of a business analyst. As well as using their skills to analyse in-depth problems, they can also use their creativity to think up ways to deal with issues and streamline processes.

The investigative nature of the work allows the INTP to give full focus and delve deeply into the task at hand, which they will find satisfying.

Businesses that specialise in IT can prove to be excellent workplaces for an INTP as the industry is fast-paced and ever-changing, meaning that there is less opportunity to become bored or unstimulated.

6. Information Security Specialist

An information security analyst is responsible for checking and testing for weaknesses in software programmes and for developing ways to counteract these problems. They have to think ahead to predict threat and also react quickly to actual attacks. This appeals greatly to the analytical and systematic thinking that an INTP finds natural.

You are expected to be fully absorbed and committed to your work as an information security analyst, and this aligns with working alone – which is well suited to an INTP.

7. Author

The tendency to get completely absorbed in a project is well matched to a career as an author. The INTP will be able to come up with several original ideas, think them through, narrow them down and select one to pursue.

The intense research phase and ideation that follows is often done in isolation and with total focus – the perfect combination for the INTP persona.

Many famous authors with grand ideas were INTP personality types, including Richard Dawkins and Charles Darwin.

8. Scientist

INTPs love to analyse theories and investigate whether they can find an alternative to the traditional ways of thinking. Scientists follow a logical and proven method of structuring their research, while adapting it according to their ideas and theories.

Scientists' enthusiasm for thorough research is an obvious advantage for an INTP, as is attention to detail.

9. Academia

An INTP loves nothing more than to deal with a complex concept, taking it apart and rebuilding it to find out exactly how it works. If they also enjoy relaying these findings to others, a career in academia may be well suited.

Academic roles entail writing and developing a curriculum, creating study materials, delivering lectures, marking work and supervising research. There is the added bonus of being surrounded by people who value education and intellect as much as they do, and who will respect the INTP's level of intelligence.

10. Musician

For an INTP who happens to be talented musically, climbing to the top of the profession means that they could be composing music pieces, directing musical events and managing musical groups such as orchestras. The freedom and creativity needed to excel in this career path are natural tendencies for the INTP person.

The initial years in this industry may feel restrictive due to lack of freedom and control, but once into the levels of creating, composing and directing, the INTP can find great job satisfaction in this field.

Three Jobs to Avoid

Although suited to a wide range of jobs, the personality traits of the INTP mean that there are some career paths that they are incompatible with.

Their desire to work freely and without constraint means that they do not enjoy menial or tedious tasks. If their creativity is stifled or they are being micromanaged, an INTP persona will not feel they can perform their best or even remain in the role.

For this reason, highly corporate environments, especially those with strict hierarchical structures will not be suited to the INTP.

1. Nursery Worker

Although a key INTP trait is creativity, someone with this personality type likes to have the freedom to explore their ideas on their own terms. They value high-level thinking and intellect and, as such, may not have much time and patience for young children in the workplace.

A lack of sensitivity to the feelings of others, due to bluntness rather than maliciousness, may prove to be a barrier to building successful relationships with children and their parents.

2. Salesperson

The most successful salespeople tend to be very gregarious, confident and able to build an instant rapport with their customers. They are also highly driven, chasing (and hitting) targets and often motivating and managing a team of salespeople.

These qualities do not come easily to the INTP person, who may struggle to be invested in chasing sales for someone else’s benefit.

As straight-forward thinkers who will speak freely, an INTP is unlikely to find the enthusiasm to talk up their product, or even care whether their customer makes a purchase or not.

3. Data Entry

An INTP hates nothing more than menial and tedious tasks. Inputting data will feel pointless and unfulfilling and will never hold the attention of an INTP. The restrictive nature of the work, coupled with the likelihood that this role will be of a lower level, is a poor match.

Final Thoughts

INTPs are excellent at focusing in on the project at hand, sometimes at the expense of the world around them.

Their high intellect and drive to find answers prove to be very valuable traits, especially in the workplace.

Famous past INTPs include Albert Einstein and Marie Curie – high achievers who displayed the tenacity and dedication to uncover truths.

Further Reading

You might also be interested in these other WikiJob articles:

What Is The Myers-Briggs Test?

Career Personality Tests

What Is a Psychometric Test?

Aptitude Tests

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