The Worst and Best Careers for an INTP Personality


Can an INTP be an entrepreneur

If you are an INTP personality, you are inventive, creative and super smart. It is one of the rarest personality types and represents just 3% of the population.

The INTP demands more out of a career than simply pushing papers or climbing a corporate ladder. But it doesn’t want a touchy-feely profession either. As such, this personality type is also referred to as the Logician.

INTPs at a Glance

Inner or outer worldIntrovert
How they receive informationIntuitive
Head or heartThinker
How they make decisionsPerceiver
Job fits mathematician, systems analyst,
physicist, entrepreneur, freelancer
Job flopscorporate environment,
management, service jobs,
emotionally fulfilling careers
How to spot oneThey live in their own heads,
hate chit-chat, good enough is
never good enough
What they lovejumping into a project,
small, technical workspaces,
being uninterrupted, theoretical information,
data analysis

What Does INTP Mean?

The four-letter personality code INTP is one of 16 personalities described in the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator test developed by Isabel Myers and her mother, Katharine Cook Briggs.

The women studied Carl Jung’s teachings in psychology to come up with 16 personality types that people could identify with. Each personality has a four-letter code based on key factors.

First letter E for Extrovert or I for Introvert

The first letter in the 4-letter personality code indicates if you are an introvert or extrovert.

Do you focus on the world externally? Do you prefer to talk through a situation with people instead of thinking about it? Or do you focus on an inner world where you can think through a situation without input from others?

Extroverts are people who like being around people. They get energized from interacting and have no issues with being in front of people.

Introverts like people, but feel drained from long bouts of interacting with them. They like to process and analyze a situation before taking action and are often seen as reserved.

Second Letter S For Sensing or N for Intuitive

The second letter in the 4-letter code indicates how you prefer to get your information. An S means you use your senses (eyes, ears, touch, taste, smell) to interpret information. Do you hone in on what is tangible and real?

Or are you an N, an intuitive and able to interpret information to add meaning?

Third Letter T for Thinking or F for Feeling

Do you make decisions based on logic and reason? T is for thinking through the facts of a situation to make a choice.

Or do you prefer to consider people and the circumstances around the situation? Do you factor in the emotional part of making a choice? That would be F for feeling.

J for Judging and P for Perceiving

Judgers, the J in INFJ make a decision, stick to a plan and like to work within the structure. They also like it when people around them do the same.

Perceivers or Ps are open to situations and are less concerned about structure and more concerned with having options. Going with the flow.

The letters are part of the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator test.

History of the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator Test

Myers and Briggs found Jung’s Psychological Types so powerful, they spent 20 years type watching people.

They also developed a questionnaire to determine someone’s type.

This evolved into the MBTI instrument that help people see what type best fits them. Isabel Myers wanted to give people access to and teach Jungian preferences through the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI) instrument.

She wanted it to be the most accurate test possible. Today the MBTI instrument is known nationally and internationally. It’s been translated into 30 languages.

16Personalities.com is a user-friendly, online version of the Myers-Briggs test.

Worst Careers for INTPs? The Emotional Kind

Logic rules the INTP
  • Workplaces that require emotional satisfaction, which their counterparts INFJs thrive on is a huge no-no for INTPs.
  • Service-oriented careers such as a counselor, or customer-focused jobs such as a florist would drain the INTP. They are not the people persons that these jobs need.
  • Working for micromanagers. INTPs want to work with little input and interruptions from others.
  • Managing other people. Careers for INTPs that require them to manage personalities rather than projects is not a good fit.

While INTPs may not fit in the typical office environment, these types have been credited with many scientific advancements.

They simply need to be left alone to work their brilliance and figure out how to solve the problem.

They don’t want to have social obligations or meetings about status updates or give status updates about meetings. They want to do the work.

So what are the best careers for INTP? Anything that has to do with solving problems and having the freedom to work their way. So, yes entrepreneurship appeals to the INTP.

They may not want the hassle of running their own business, but many INTPs opt to consult, do freelance work and set their own pace.

Best Careers For INTPs

Being an entrepreneur is a good fit for someone who doesn’t necessarily fit into the traditional career.

While their solitary and eccentric personalities fuel their entrepreneurial spirit, INTPs are also great at these careers.

Best Paying Job for INTP Computer Network Architects

computer network architects

With most states paying a median salary into the 6-figures, this role is a solid income earner without a lot of fuss. Just the way an INTP likes it. It takes a decade or more to get through the ranks and step into this leadership role.

What You Would Do

Computer network architects, or network engineers, design and deploy computer and information networks. They also may manage the networks and troubleshoot any issues as they arise.

Network architects also predict future network needs by analyzing current data traffic and estimating how growth will affect the network.

Job Outlook and Salary

While the number of jobs is expected to grow by about 5% or at an average rate by 2028, the demand for network engineers is still good.

The average salary for this job was around $115,000 as of 2019 and the median annual salary was about $112,000. The median means that 50% of workers were paid more than $112,000.

According to the latest BLS.gov data, Deleware, New Hampshire and New Jersey pay the highest salaries.

Why This Job is Good for INTP

INTPs are adept at figuring out innovative solutions to complex problems. The trickier the puzzle, the better. The Architect or Logician as 16Personalities refers to them are inventive and creative.

They are not the social type, and they would rather work on their own timetable. Being a network architect gives an INTP autonomy and freedom.

Not many people will want to get into the weeds with an INTP of how to build a better network, so they are left to their own devices.

Read more about being a Computer Network Architect.

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Brightest Job Outlook Career for INTP Mathematician

Being a mathematician is something INTPs can really immerse themselves in. It is also one of the fastest growing professions at 30% by 2028. As of 2019, there were 2,630 mathematicians nationally, so that increase is less than 1,000 jobs.

What Mathematicians Do

This profession comes up with new rules, theories, and concepts in mathematical practices such as algebra and geometry. But they don’t have to work in math-centered industries. Mathematicians work in business, engineering and even sports.

Anywhere data and numbers are a big deal, you can find a mathematician.

There are two distinct camps in this career: theoretical and applied. One appeals to the ever-curious and innovative INTP and the other appeals to the INTPs need for practicality.

Job Outlook and Salary

You’ll need a master’s level degree in math or statistics to find a job, but you’ll be paid well. The average salary for a mathematician was $107,000 as of 2019. The median annual wage, where half of the workers earned more was $105,030 for the same year.

If you want to hang out with other mathematicians and make good money, Virginia and California have the most number of employed mathematicians.

Why This Job is a Good Fit for INTP

INTPs are natural mathematicians. They love finding patterns, sequences and math offers endless possibilities to pursue new paths.

As you can imagine, an introverted thinker is lost in an inner world of thinking and re-thinking and then thinking about it some more.

Being a mathematician gives the INTP a career as rare as they are. This job doesn’t involve emotions or people, it’s all about the data and finding better solutions to the world’s problems.

Read more about being a mathematician

Best Career Change for INTPs: Actuary

What an Actuary Does

Actuaries assess risk and advise companies whether that risk is worth the financial reward. If you’re thinking of going to school or going back to school for a mid-life career change, this job is a great option. 

Actuaries, who are crucial to the insurance industry, analyze the financial costs of risk and uncertainty. 

For instance, if you live next to a volcano, the chances of your home being swallowed up in lava is greater so the costs to have an insurance policy your home would be greater.

But how much greater? It depends on the volcano. Is it active, will it be active in the next 10, or 100 years? The actuary would study all potential risks.

They use mathematics, statistics, and financial theory to assess the risk of potential events. They also help develop policies to minimize the cost of that risk. 

Job Outlook and Salary

This profession is expected to grow by 20% from 2018 to 2028.

The median annual wage for actuaries was $108,350 in May 2019. 

Half of the workers in this job earned more than that amount and half earned less. 

The lowest 10 percent earned less than $64,860, and the highest 10 percent earned more than $193,600.

Why This Job is a Good Fit for INTP

It may take 5-7 years to get you education and credentials for this job, but in a 40-50 year career span, the time is short.

If you are unhappy in your current job, being an actuary is a great way to use your number skills and problem-solving superpowers. Putting a tangible price on risk — something that is so subjective — is a tricky dance. Your knack for seeing patterns and making sense of all the details would certainly make this job look easy.

Read more about being an actuary

Other Job Matches for INTP

  • Business analyst or management consultants propose ways to improve a company’s efficiency. They advise managers on how to increase profits or save costs.
  • Mechanical, electrical and software engineers are the ultimate problem solvers and quality of life advancers. Mechanical engineers plan and designing tools, engines, machines, and other mechanically functioning equipment. Electrical engineers research, design, develop, test, or supervise the manufacturing and installation of electrical equipment, components, or systems.
  • Technical writers and journalists untangle informational puzzles to instruct and inform people in an easy-to-understand way. This may be a career path if you’re an INTP who is bad at math.

Managing an INTP

INTP managers and coworkers are an interesting bunch

If you have to manage an INTP, all is not lost. With the right manager, INTPs can be innovative and resourceful in solving complex problems with unusual but effective solutions.

In order to tap into this magic, you have to give INTPs freedom. They are not concerned with keeping their job or making friends at work, they want space to do what they do.

Many managers dislike not being able to control these employees, but if you can take a hands-off approach you will be rewarded with a hard-working employee. Some things to keep in mind about INTP employees:

  • INTPs hate grunt work but love big ideas
  • They want to work alone, but they also work well with a partner who will handle the details.
  • Don’t give them pep talks or expect them to be part of a team. Appeal to their logic.

Working with an INTP

INTPs generally view their coworkers as potential roadblocks and interruptions with a useful nugget of information from time to time. But try not to take it personally. Here are a few strategies to make working with an INTP fun.

  • Avoid mindless chit-chat. The INTP co-worker does not want to socialize or become emotionally involved with people they work with. Keep interactions meaningful and project-related.
  • Prove yourself and you’re in. INTPs love to talk about theories, but you have to earn their respect first. Appeal to their sense of logic and keep your personal or emotional issues out of it.
  • When it comes to emotions INTPs are clueless. Don’t expect the INTP to listen to conflict with another coworker or to be a sympathetic ear.

Working for an INTP Manager Pros and Cons

ProsCons
Flexible management styleHigh standards/perfectionism
FreedomExpect smart people
Openess to logical ideasCritical with little
regard for feelings

Are INTPs and INFJs Compatible? How INTP Relate to Other Personality Types

Are INTPs and INFJs compatible? Yes with some differences that are attractive to the INTP. Here are the compatibility levels of each personality type to INTP.

Compatibility Personality Types
YesINFP, INTJ, ENTP
Yes with some differencesISTP, INFJ, ENTJ, ENFP
Not the first choice,
but tolerable
ISTJ, ISFP, ESTP, ENFJ
NoISFJ, ESTJ, ESFP, ESFJ

As you can see an INTP personality is demanding but innovative. They may not be people people, but they are the game-changers and truth-seekers. No theory is too abstract and no problem is too complex.

What Personality Type are You? Take the free 16Personalities Test

Tracey Lamphere

Tracey Lamphere, M.S. IMC is the editor of Job Affirmations, a publication that provides information and ideas to use mindfulness, positive affirmations, and visualizations to transform your career.

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