The INTP at Work
At work, the INTP is motivated to solve complex problems in an original, innovative way. Architects want to analyze systems and ideas thoroughly to create deep understanding, and enjoy designing creative solutions to highly abstract problems.
INTPs rarely have much interest in organizational traditions, preferring to forge their own path to innovation. They hate being limited by bureaucracy and rules, and are often more in tune with the theoretical soundness of their ideas than they are with the practical applications. They typically prefer to focus on creating the idea, and to leave the tedious details of implementation to someone else.
INTPs work best independently or with a small team of colleagues that they perceive as smart, competent, and logical. They quickly tire of colleagues who are aggressive or overbearing, and can be dismissive of people who aren't as clever as themselves.
An ideal organization for an INTP is flexible and non-traditional, and values ingenuity over conformity. An ideal job for an INTP allows them to address complex theoretical or technical problems with creative, novel solutions.
The INTP on a Team
INTPs are thoughtful, analytical team members who contribute a deep understanding of complex problems. They are often most interested in the theoretical questions behind the team’s goal, and can help the group to identify key principles and generate innovative ideas. They tend to engage with the vision of the team, analyzing it rationally and objectively and offering options and possibilities.
INTPs do best on a team when they are given freedom to analyze logical problems in an original way. They are skilled at coming up with creative solutions, but don’t put much stock in the established way of doing things. Team members who are highly loyal to tradition may encounter friction with the INTP. Architects are typically independent thinkers who’d rather debate ideas than make small talk. They may become impatient if too much time is spent on pleasantries, and may put off team members who seek a more personal touch.
The INTPs as a Leader
In leadership positions, INTPs inspire others with their intelligence and innovative ideas. INTP leaders are often unassuming on the surface but catch everyone's attention once they begin talking about their ideas. They generally allow their reports a lot of latitude, preferring to set the overall goal and trust their team to solve problems autonomously.
INTPs enjoy exploring new possibilities and engaging in creative problem solving, but may sometimes get so caught up in the world of ideas that they neglect to lead their teams into action. They may have trouble hashing out details, and often leave it to someone else to create exact specifications. They do best leading competent, intellectually driven teams who understand their complex ideas and can fill in the details to create realistic plans of action.
Top Careers for the INTP
INTPs are first and foremost thinkers, and this quality can be seen in their choice of careers. Although INTPs can be found in a wide variety of fields, a happy and satisfied INTP is invariably found in a career that allows them to use their intellect, analyze concepts, and think deeply.
INTPs have an innovative nature and are often drawn to cutting-edge fields such as technology, engineering, and the sciences. Although INTPs overall are a rare breed, visit an area like California's Silicon Valley or a tech company like Google or Apple and you'll find that nearly every other person seems to be an INTP. This type naturally thrives in the challenging, unpredictable world of tech.
Many INTPs are creative and seek an artistic bent to their career. INTPs are particularly drawn to artistic fields with a touch of science or technology, for instance architecture or graphic design.
Although INTPs typically prefer careers that have them working with ideas more than people, a contingent of INTPs consider human problems the ultimate frontier of intellectual inquiry. Thus, you find some INTPs in careers that allow them to study the human experience, including psychology and other social sciences.
Top careers for the INTP include:
Technology is a highly attractive field for INTPs, and many INTPs are drawn to computers from a very young age. Even INTPs who do not work in tech fields typically nurse an interest in computers on the side. Working with technology allows INTPs to exercise their reasoning skills in perfect concert with their creativity and desire to experiment and innovate. Some INTPs even say they understand computers better than they understand other people!
Most any career in computers or technology can be considered a possibility for the INTP, but some sample tech careers for INTPs include:
- Computer and IS Manager
- Computer Network Architect
- Computer or Information Research Scientist
- Computer Programmer
- Computer Systems Analyst
- Database Administrator
- Information Security Analyst
- Network or Computer Systems Administrator
- Software Developer
- Web Developer
Engineering careers are a good fit for the logical, analytical thinking style of the INTP. They particularly enjoy engineering fields that allow them to exercise a measure of creativity in their work. Some sample engineering careers for INTPs include:
- Aerospace Engineer
- Biomedical Engineer
- Chemical Engineer
- Civil Engineer
- Computer Hardware Engineer
- Electrical or Electronics Engineer
- Environmental Engineer
- Health and Safety Engineer
- Industrial Engineer
- Landscape Architect
- Materials Engineer
- Mechanical Engineer
- Mechanical Engineering Technician
- Mining or Geological Engineer
- Nuclear Engineer
- Petroleum Engineer
Scientific careers are a natural choice for INTPs. They enjoy all aspects of the sciences: the opportunity to build specialized knowledge in their field of choice; the ability to focus at length on complex, abstract ideas; and most of all, the exploratory process of scientific experimentation. Some sample science careers for INTPs include:
- Agricultural or Food Scientist
- Anthropologist or Archaeologist
- Atmospheric Scientist, Including Meteorologist
- Biochemist or Biophysicist
- Chemist or Materials Scientist
- Environmental Scientist or Specialist
- Medical Scientist
- Physicist or Astronomer
- Political Scientist
- Survey Researcher
- Urban or Regional Planner
- Zoologist or Wildlife Biologist
- Exercise Physiologist
- Physician or Surgeon
Business and Law
Both business and law careers can make good use of the INTP's analytical instincts. Good business careers for INTPs often stimulate their interest in complex theories, including advanced mathematics. Some sample business and law careers for INTPs include:
- Accountant or Auditor
- Financial Analyst
- Labor Relations Specialist
- Management Consultant or Analyst
- Market Research Analyst
- Advertising and Promotions Manager
- Architectural or Engineering Manager
- Top Executive
- Operations Research Analyst
- Sales Engineer
Arts and Language
Some INTPs focus on their creative instincts with a career in the arts. Typically, though, even an INTP working in an artistic field finds a way to use their analytical side in their work. Some sample artistic careers for INTPs include:
- Music Director or Composer
- Musician or Singer
- Producer or Director
- Art Director
- Craft or Fine Artist
- Graphic Designer
- Industrial Designer
- Multimedia Artist or Animator
- Interpreter or Translator
- Public Relations Specialist
- Reporter, Correspondent, or Broadcast News Analyst
- Technical Writer
- Writer or Author
- Professor or College Instructor
Finding the Right Career as an INTP
INTPs, like all personality types, are most satisfied and successful when they choose a career that takes advantage of their natural strengths, talents, and interests. If you're searching for the right career, take our career test based on Myers & Briggs' 16 types to get a complete assessment of your personality type, interests, and aptitude.
INTP Careers to Avoid
It is important to note that any personality type can be successful in any occupation. However, some occupations are well suited to the natural talents and preferred work style of the INTP, while other occupations demand modes of thinking and behavior that do not come as naturally to this type. Occupations that require the INTP to operate outside their natural preferences may prove stressful or draining, and often sound unappealing to Architects who are choosing a career.
The following occupations have been found to be unpopular among INTPs, based on data gathered from surveys of the general population.