INTP Careers

INTPs are solitary, eccentric, and independent – none of which is listed as desirable for corporate positions, which are usually designed for very different personality types. INTPs duly struggle in finding careers that meet their needs, but what they do bring, qualities in much higher demand, are creativity, a passion for theoretical methods and ideas, and an entrepreneurial, innovative spirit. If they are able to put this better foot forward to secure a position in a suitable line of work, people with the INTP personality type will find that, whatever the job listing says, these "less desirable" qualities will prove an asset after all.

INTP personality

A Poem of Numbers

Chief among INTPs’ interests is exploring and building models for underlying principles and ideas, even going so far as to find these concepts, in their own way, beautiful – this makes them natural mathematicians, systems analysts, and career scientists, especially in more abstract fields such as physics. There are many other careers that allow INTPs to explore these interests, but many of them are far too rooted in uninteresting practical applications. As useful as it is to develop a better vacuum cleaner, it is no Large Hadron Collider.

INTP personalities are self-driven and have very high personal standards – "good enough" is never good enough – but have few environmental needs. Despite this relative simplicity, they are often hard for more people-centric types to understand. INTPs live primarily in their own heads, and have little interest in social distractions like chitchat and motivational speeches.

All INTPs really want is to immerse themselves in an interesting project, and anything that interrupts that, be it overactive managers, the need to manage others, or office parties or meetings, are simply unwelcome burdens.

For this reason, the flatter the workplace hierarchy, the better, making small, technical workplaces and fields such as law, forensics, and laboratory research very desirable for INTPs. Insightful and open-minded managers who can accommodate these needs will find their INTP subordinates to be a tireless generator of brilliant and unique ideas. However, many people with the INTP personality type may do away with the immediate hierarchy altogether, opting instead to provide their services on a freelance basis as consultants.

Emotional Values: A Mere Illusion

Where INTPs do not thrive is in workplaces that require them to provide a high degree of emotional satisfaction – cruise ship masseuses they are not. INTP personalities struggle to understand emotional exchanges, and service-oriented positions will prove baffling and exhausting for them. Though INTPs are talented analysts who are perfectly capable of understanding the theoretical importance of customer service, the day-to-day application of such a scheme is simply better left to more people-oriented personality types.

Business is growing more complex every day, and this complexity is managed with technical systems, economic theories, and data. The need for novel approaches is stronger than ever for people and organizations to distinguish themselves. Though general people skills are often phrased as a must, it is the technical work that creates something to talk about, and it is in this pursuit that INTPs thrive.

Work as business analysts and corporate strategists is well suited to INTPs, but they can also move things forward as data analysts, mechanical, electrical and software engineers, and even as technical writers and journalists, provided the field is interesting enough. If they can smile and shake hands just long enough to establish themselves as the brilliant innovators that they are, people with the INTP personality type will find that whatever the expectations for social conduct, it is the qualities unique to them that are truly in demand.

6 years ago
I am an INTP; I enjoy analyzing creative literature, art theory and criticism, and I very much enjoy philosophy and critical theory. Yet, I am the most content when I practice my own creativity through these various outlets. . Perhaps I would be interested in the sciences if I could define the boundaries (semantically). Otherwise, it is just another system to try to comprehend the whole. To INTP students, I recommend taking a course in the history of science (primary 17th-18th century) I'm 24 and really need a job. But by reading this jargon, I'm feeling discouraged.
6 years ago
We all reside on a spectrum for all these traits and none of us are pure anything. I most closely associate with being an INTP. I work in Marketing (go figure!) I don't really care what industry I work in, its the process of discovery that matters to me. I will say, true to form, I struggle with implementation and it requires discipline. As for existing in the workplace, its taken many years but I feel like I know how to be highly functioning in a corporate environment. I know how to manage my energy levels so that I can handle the parts of my job that aren't natural to me. I also don't expect others to work or think like me, unless I run into that rare INTP! I work closely with an ISTJ who is a rigid, black/white thinker and often runs roughshod over other people but I compliment him by being a little more open ended and conceptual. Although it is true that as an INTP I don't feel like the corporate world really appreciates us and is often perplexed by us (the extrovert personalities seem to rule the roost), an astute manager can really have a special team if he/she will harness these different traits. Hope that helps someone.
6 years ago
i've been walking around for years thinking i was a bad intj, and so i'm glad to have found intp, it feels like a much better fit. i'm in school for creative writing (mostly poetry, it's so much more condensed and intense than a long story) which i hope will propel me into a teaching position. basically i want to be a kooky professor that students enjoy, with the freedom to pontificate all day and inspire others to explore their own creativity while being able to keep to my own writing as well.
6 years ago
I agree as well. I know an INTP who works in a customer-facing position and is apparently doing very well. He's a marketing/sales consultant for a B2B software company. I'm a little fuzzy on the details, but basically he meets with potential clients and comes up with personalized ways they can use the software with their company. It suits both the Ti interest in systems and the Ne love of new ideas. Also, I've noticed that both the INTP and the INFP, while quiet in normal social situations, can talk at length about things they are interested in when they have the spotlight.
6 years ago
As an INTP, I absolutely LOVE biology, especially molecular biology and genetics. What's ironic about my life is even though I'm obnoxiously left-brained and inherently suited to the sciences, I'm horrendous (and I mean really, really bad) at math. Not all INTP's that get into theoretical sciences revolve around physics and chemistry.
5 years ago
Most chemistry majors are no good at math either. There's a palpable groan throughout the classroom whenever integrals are brought up (lol). Math is often better suited for people interested in the non-physical subjects like physics, computers, or music, rather than physical studies, like bio, chem, or visual arts (at least that's what I noticed as a chem tutor).
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