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'm definitely an INTP, but I have absolutely no interest in math, science, or technology systems which seems opposite from seemingly every other INTP. They strike me as too tangible, frivolous or stifling, taking away an element of mystery which I love. But that's just me. But I do wonder why most INTPs are so math/science oriented. I am a painter currently in school. I love the idea generation behind paintings, am a little less excited by its fruition, and am always unexcited by the detail-oriented process of making them. This often confuses my fellow painters who are often SFs or NFs (esp NFJs) who find meaning in the process.
6 years ago
I'm interested in science and theory and all that. when doing art in uni I found (like you said) the idea or reason behind a project was more important than the way it's achieved. on the side of uni's art classes I did a government funded class with artists from around the city and they seemed to like what they do because they liked doing it and they found my way of starting at "what is the reason or what do I want to accomplish" intriguing. like my ideas of creating sound through the process of painting on a piece of paper or creating light shows with movement or waves of change through sound and augmented reality with pressure plates in a walk way (step on a computerised footpath and have your footsteps blown up and protected onto a nearby building as graphic interactive art), they found these ideas vastly different and something they couldn't think of on their own since they were in the mind set of they can only set out to do what they know how to do, while I was on the I don't care if I don't know how to specifically make this but wouldn't it be kool if you could create ...etc. in the end I created the create sound by drawing idea. guess we are artists with a dash of crazy thrown in. I guess my thirst for seeing if my ideas are possible is what drives me toward science and technology, though this would explain why once I find that I can actually create my crazy ideas is when I no longer really care about creating them and my enthusiasm ddip drops lol
5 years ago
I'm an INTP that's actually interested in both art and science. My current plan is to get into a grad school where I can do research in evolutionary neuroscience and I've always been obsessed with evolutionary biology, but when I was young I really wanted to be a cartoonist. I still enjoy making comics and I'll probably continue to make them throughout my life. Like you, I'm often more interested in expressing an idea or story through my art and I loathe the actual execution since it's so time consuming.
6 years ago
I agree with you on that, and I find myself in your position, but they are simply talking about the "standard" INTP (even though such a thing does not exist), and while it annoys me that we are treated like robots, incapable of understanding feelings, I have to admit that a vague description, fitted for almost any introvert would have left much to be desired.
5 years ago
I think INTPs really do run away from emotions, I these days avoid watching certain television programs and movies because of the emotions that run through my head while am watching and am happier with a free mind to occupy with more interesting stuff rather than feeling sick of a heavy head
6 years ago
INTP here. I have a journalism degree but not a journalist. Thought about PR career but not quite a match. So started as a web designer but lost now. I need help.
6 years ago
Yet another INTP. I am/was the ultimate Lone Wolf. Spent most of my career as a journalist: page designer, photographer, news reporter, feature writer, copy editor. It was a great place for me as long as I was allowed to work on my own. But as newspapers became more corporate, the supervision became increasingly intrusive and enervating. I hate being micromanaged by mental midgets, period. I had to get away from it. Now retired, I am working on a novel. I don't care if I get published or not - it's more a case of something I feel compelled to do. My need for creativity is paramount to me - I like being able to control my own little world!
6 years ago
INTP here.. After reading this, good thing I took engineering and now in a Systems Eng'g. career :)
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