ISTP Careers

The ISTP personality type is probably the hardest to pin down in many aspects of life, but especially in their careers. ISTPs thrive on diversity and unpredictability, on wondering “what’s next?” every morning. This makes ISTPs one of the most mysterious personality types, but also one of the most versatile in the professional world.

ISTPs are born problem-solvers with an unwavering focus on practical solutions (though perhaps not always solutions to practical problems). No other type is quite as fascinated by how things work, how tools can be used, and how facts can be put together to create immediate and satisfying results. This combination of curiosity and hands-on vigor make people with the ISTP personality type excellent mechanics, engineers, graphic designers, and forensic scientists.

Abstract theory and purely academic work that will never see the light of real use hold little interest for ISTPs.

"Practical" is the word of the day. But it’s not the practicality of routine administration that ISTPs crave – they need variety and action, perhaps even a little adrenaline in their work. Highly structured environments leave ISTP personalities bored and tired. Jobs that focus on crisis response, such as firefighters, paramedics, detectives, pilots and police officers seem made for ISTPs.

Perhaps most important to ISTPs though, is the feeling that they aren’t stuck. The freedom to wander, the freedom to declare their own schedules, their own responsibilities, their own environments – nearly every other consideration pales by comparison to the need to avoid inflexible commitments and stodgy colleagues. While this can be a significant hurdle to overcome in traditional employment, it is the chiefest allure of entrepreneurship.

Do Whatever Makes Your Heart Sing

Nearly any creative or constructive skill or interest can be offered on a freelance basis or on a business-owner’s own terms, be it blogger, systems analyst, athlete or driver. ISTPs need to face down their weak long-term planning abilities and preference for instant results in order to make this path work, but livelihoods can be made selling bits and crafts in their free time. It’s also possible to find more traditional work to satisfy these needs, and forest ranger is a sought-after line of work for many ISTPs.

ISTPs have a natural skill with troubleshooting, a relaxed, self-confident nature and a results-oriented focus. People with this personality type understand that risk equals reward, and as long as they can use that understanding with maturity, rather than just kicking the ant’s nest whenever they get bored, they are highly desirable in any dynamic field or environment.


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Sep 18, 2015 00:48:46
Just found out I'm an ISTP. My favorite job was a costume mistress for 3 years. Making tutus, costumes and managing dancers backstage was amazing! I'd love to get back to it.
Mar 09, 2015 04:00:54
It looks like I'm an ISTP. I am going to study to be a translator and I think it really goes with the kind of personality as it's a really flexible career and it is related to systems (language) as well
Mar 01, 2015 06:07:22
Neurosurgeon high altitude mountaineer poet computational neuroscientist inventor skier sailor build and fix things all the time former army reserve ret lt col drive fast - ISTP
Jan 08, 2015 04:14:36
Yay, I always thought I was an INTP but ISTP fits me to a T. Former I.T., didn't like it, Joined the army as a 14S (liked it alot, but I have arthritis and didn't really care to become a NCO), now majoring in EVRN studies at KU but will transfer to either do fisheries biology or become an electrician...Im thining I might just become an electrician, I don't know if I can handle school for another 3 or so years...hmm but it would be a sweet gig. What do you all think?
Jan 04, 2015 21:59:52
My dad is an ISTP and he is an incredible anesthesiologist...the hours are inconsistent, he spends part of his time at work sitting around waiting and the rest responding to crises-- he's great at it and it's a perfect fit for him
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