INTP careers

The INTP personality type possesses a unique combination of traits, and typical INTP career choices reflect this as well. We will now discuss the traits that make INTPs successful in their chosen careers – please feel free to suggest any additions or simply leave some feedback in the comment section below this article.

Let us begin with one of the most prominent personality traits shared by all INTPs—their love for theoretical methods and ideas. The best INTP careers turn this unique trait into a major strength as very few other personality types enjoy theories as much as INTPs do. For this particular reason, INTPs are excellent career scientists (especially in highly theoretical fields such as physics or chemistry), mathematicians, technical writers, or system analysts.

Next, INTPs enjoy finding and analysing underlying principles and ideas. Many typical career paths allow INTPs to utilise this trait, even though this often comes with practical applications that do not really interest INTPs. For instance, INTPs can be great corporate strategists, business analysts, video game designers, programmers, or engineers (this career is particularly suitable for INTPs due to their love for theory).

INTPs tend to be very independent (even somewhat eccentric), hold themselves to very high standards, and dislike managing other people or being managed, especially later in their career. These traits are rarely seen as attractive in the modern corporate world, and INTPs should avoid mentioning them in a job interview. However, if their manager proves to be insightful and open-minded enough, the INTP will be a never-tiring generator of brilliant and unique ideas. Some of the best INTP careers making good use of these traits may focus on legal, freelance consulting or forensic or laboratory research routes.

Finally, INTPs are typical “lone wolves” and typical INTP careers revolve around this trait. They live in their own minds, love solitude, and tend to despise small talk and other social necessities. INTPs do not really understand or enjoy emotional exchanges and are unlikely to spend a significant amount of time chitchatting with their colleagues or customers. For these reasons, customer-facing careers are highly unsuitable for INTPs; they would do much better in roles that focus on data and theories rather than people. For instance, INTPs may be excellent lawyers, data analysts, or even journalists, as long as they find the field interesting. These are some of the best career choices for people with this personality type.

If you would like to learn more about the INTP career paths and professional development, as well as read about the experiences of other INTPs, download the INTP In-Depth Profile – a 60+ page guide covering a number of diverse topics. Otherwise, please keep reading:

72 Responses to “INTP careers”

  1. Aira Reply

    Surprisingly, I am taking up a degree in Applied Physics. I do not say I love it, but I definitely find it interesting. :) If you make me pick between the humanities and sciences, though, I’d choose humanities. Huh.

    • Mary Montgomery Reply

      Finding out that I was INTP not an INTJ made for some real introspection on my part. I am a retired nurse who stayed in the profession out of necessity. Loved to analyze could actually “see” disease in action in the body, was one of the first to predict the path HIV would take and cleared a state prison of several as in more than three communicable diseases like TB etc. by changing how inmates were housed(one of the solutions). But not a “nursey” thing to do so was always in hot water. Was NOT successful in most patient relationships and certainly not with other nurses. But hey it’s never too late to realize that you were miscast at least it’s vindication in your old age. And did you notice that there are NO femakes in you example list? Is that also because we girls are not allowed to be Einsteins in polite society?

  2. Isabelle Reply

    I think the idea of receiving information through observable information needs to be considered more. I am a professor of Literature and use art forms as a way to understand the “human condition”. This is an incredibly abstract and philosophical pursuit. It also uses the same thought processes as would be needed for pure mathematical theory, the only difference being the medium (numbers – words).

    I feel that this humanity based (and arguably more abstract) side of the INTP personality trait is highly overlooked in this section and, looking in the comments, it may alienate those INTP people who are less mathematically inclined.

    • Amber Reply

      Isabelle, I completely agree with you. I’m a college freshman. I took a personality test a few years ago and found out I was INTP. Three years later, turns out I still am (I was pretty surprised, I think, because I’ve developed my Observant side a little). I wasn’t inclined to math then and I’m not now. In fact, I go to a liberal arts school that focuses on the arts, and I’m studying to become some sort of self-sufficient media and social theorist, with hands-on instruction involving the artistic plane of emerging technology in the digital age. That sounds really mathematical, and it kind of is, in the sense that it’s oriented around technology.

      But halfway through the semester I discovered that I don’t give a damn about emerging technology. I’m more inclined to delve into deep and integrated conversations about media, social and cultural theory (because yeah, that’s one giant, intersectional system) than work on a coding program for a mobile app. I’d rather apply those theories to the artistic plane and put on an art performance or make a film or something. Same as you: my abstract inclination is with words, rather than numbers.

      I’ve been bumping into this whole “INTP’s are scientists and mathematicians” thing since I discovered I was INTP. And it still kind of bugs me. But you know, I’m really glad to know I’m not the odd one out with, not a simple love for the arts and humanities when I need a break from all that /math/, but with choosing to pursue a lifelong passion (and hopefully a career) in it.

      And seriously, about the male-dominated list of famous INTP’s… Not cool. Please expand. A little more research won’t hurt you, guys. In fact, people have already listed some women for you. Just look at the comments.

    • Emily Reply

      As an INTP working toward a BA in Graphic Design, I couldn’t agree more! My field has a great deal of theoretical content in the way of conceptualizing things like logos, packaging, signage, book layouts, and much more.

  3. Owndapwn Reply

    Another career would be security analyst.
    Commonly known as a hacker, security experts have to have abstract thinking to work around security systems and counter the Black Hats before they get through.

    • AMH Reply

      I have just discoverd that I am an INTP. I think the descriptions of traits fit very well. With regards to security type work I couldn’t agree more. I have worked in this industry for more than a decade and find that the application of thought to abstract problems (and they ultimately all boil down to people problems) has worked extremely well for me. I have also greatly enjoyed working with electronic security (Access control, CCTV, etc…) and designing entire infrastructures from the ground up. If you have the patience to learn the art of security you may find it an extremely rewarding career choice. It is rare to be paid for your creative insight and rational approach to handling things which require a lot of insight. Security is definitely one of those fields.

  4. Arianna Reply

    Everything on this is spot on except for one thing. I hate math and science. I would never want a career as a chemist or anything like it. Instead, I plan on becoming a novelist (Or a graphic designer). I think that with the description, however, it still makes sense.
    With my mind running rampant with ideas and imagination it often takes the form of hypothetical situations and conflicts and even people, put them all together and you’ve got stories. This is good for INTP’s as well because we may have problems communicating our ideas and thought processes verbally, but writing them gives us time to really think about every single thing we want to say and how we want to say it, as well as the editing process.
    It is also good in that we still are “lone wolves.” You can work for months and not have to see another soul. It works well with our need for freedom and flexibility because you make up your own schedule. You don’t need to collaborate too much while you’re writing, seeing as it is your work and your work alone. Later on we can take criticism from editors because anything they have to say will most likely be logical and backed up by facts and their experience on what sells well.
    I also do not believe that our lack of sensitivity makes us so oblivious to others feelings. With my logical and intuitive thinking, I can often predict and understand the emotions of others, and therefore work around it. I don’t spend my time or energy being irritated at others for having emotions, I simply bookmark it so that I know what lines exist for that person and can avoid crossing it in the future. That is the logical approach, not arguing whether or not their feelings are valid. We do have an understanding of human emotion, because we do, in fact, feel it ourselves. We simply don’t show it. So this of course would also not prevent the writing of good characters with realistic and diverse emotional patterns and responses.
    Finally, being perfectionists, we would come up with some really good stuff. We wouldn’t even consider publishing it until we were sure that it was perfect, and any criticism would again be accepted because we want it to be nothing less than perfect.
    This really has some great insight and explanations, but I think that perhaps you should take more into account the relationship between imagination and art and add a few more careers accordingly, such as mine.

  5. Kenzie Reply

    Psychologists or Sociologists should be added to this list. We enjoy figuring out problems and testing theories right? I think we would be perfect as psychologists or sociologists.

  6. Farah Reply

    Well, I don’t know how to feel about this, but I HATE stuffs like maths, physics, or chemistry but I do love science. I do love to find out how stuffs/something/the universe worked.

  7. Shelly Browne Reply

    It’s kind of a relief to see someone describe me — yet I’m not as comfortable with math – more of a writer and my honing of communication skills for profit – I try to read people and sell my company’s services on the phone and in person — for survival but also it’s one giant social science experiment for me — what will work? How do I win when I’d rather be reading a book? Spot on about kids and friends and all, my good friends are ok with my lack of emotional hugs etc. but appreciate when I do want to give one. Hmm, I see some weak point and feel vindicated in some of my strong ones. No more apologizing for too many ideas!!

  8. Jorge Reply

    Nailed it! I study the mechanisms through which poverty has its effects on children’s language development. To do so requires understanding the underlying mechanisms of influence, I can synthesize large volumes of works, and distill a theoretical model to explain, no wonder I have so few friends! I do spend too much time in my head, but I’m loyal a lab friend to those that stick it out. The lone wolf part is true of me; I have a low threshold for small talk, makes it difficult to make friends as its often necessary in the beginning. I also have a crazy vivid imagination, I should have written horror or science-fiction novels or screenplays. Perhaps all those years in early childhood poverty, sitting alone at the edge of a field of crops while mother worked as a migrant farmworker peppered my early imagination. Oh well, INTP explains so much

  9. Emma Reply

    I got INTP and I think it’s for the most part accurate.
    What this article fails to mention is that INTPs can be extremely gregarious given that they are confident in their conduct. Confidence, however, is not something that comes easy for this particular personality type.
    INTPs don’t always find difficulty enunciating their emotions and they definitely aren’t always locked up in solitude. INTPs can be good leaders under the right circumstances and I’ve met quite a few INTPs who enjoy their leadership positions. I think iNTPs treasure the most autonomy and freedom. Otherwise, they are quite flexible and easily comfortable.
    I am not particularly good at the maths or science, but I do pretty well when it comes to logical reasoning in other forms of abstract thinking. I’m thinking that a potential career in law or finance may be good for me.
    A lot of INTPs become mathematicians and engineers, but they don’t always! Thomas Jefferson was an INTP and he went on to become one of the founding fathers of America!

  10. Mist Reply

    Erm, is it normal for an INTP to go on the internet and search up random questions they have about the human brain/traits? Erm, I’m twelve and I do that. It’s what I do for my free time. I have memorized the AB and C clusters. I have done extensive studies and researches online for dermatillomania, Trichotillomania, (my) depression, and lots more of the human traits and problems. Silly, yes. But I ENJOY it! Please, someone tell me if this is unnormal. Thank you very much! I’m really worried.