5 best careers for introverts that lead to both success and fulfilment

best careers for introverts
An introvert is often thought of as a quiet, reserved, and thoughtful individual that doesn't seek attention or social interaction. Source: AFP

Your morning routine isn’t just about caffeine; it’s a well-thought plan where you avoid eye contact with your colleagues, who are all bright and cheery. You make your way to the office kitchen like a ninja, carefully pouring your coffee and slipping back to your desk unnoticed.

Then dread begins to creep in as you realise there’s a meeting scheduled for noon, and you have to interact with others. You count down the minutes as you contemplate your escape routes. The thought of speaking in front of others makes your heart race, and you pray that you won’t have to contribute much.

You strategically position yourself at the back of the room, hoping nobody calls on you. Throughout the meeting, you take notes down, not just to refer to later but also to avoid eye contact and keep busy.

If you ever find yourself doing this, you are most likely an introvert. But do not worry. You are not alone. 

According to the Myers-Briggs Company, in 2021, over 57% of the general population of the US identified as introverts

While interaction is important, especially in the working world, there is a long list of the best careers for introverts, making full use of your unique strengths.

best careers for introverts

Some of the best careers for introverts include using leading an entire country to independence, as Mahatma Gandhi did. Source: AFP

What is an introvert?

As an introvert, you will typically get your energy from solitude rather than socialising, which doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy social interactions.

It’s just that you may require more alone time compared to extroverts. While some introverts may prefer solitude or small gatherings, many are able to overcome shyness and build meaningful social connections.

The concepts of introversion and extroversion were first introduced and popularised by Swiss psychiatrist Carl Jung in the early 20th century. In his work, “Psychological Types,” Jung introduced the idea that individuals have different personality types, with introversion and extroversion being two of the most fundamental dimensions. 

He defined introverts as individuals who focus their energy and attention inwardly, often finding solace and rejuvenation in solitude. While extroverts were described as individuals who direct their energy outward, seeking social interaction and external stimulation to recharge.

Here are examples of famous people leading some of the best careers for introverts in history:

  • Bill Gates, co-founder of Microsoft and billionaire philanthropist
  • Sir Isaac Newton, English scientist who discovered gravity
  • Marissa Mayer, CEO of Yahoo! from 2012 to 2017
  • Mahatma Gandhi, India’s father of independence
  • Elon Musk, founder of PayPal, Space X, and Tesla

However, introversion and extroversion have since evolved. Modern psychology suggests that no one is entirely an introvert or extrovert, and people exist on a spectrum. 

Introverts vs extroverts at the workplace: Who’s more in demand?

The common stereotype surrounding introverts is that they are usually withdrawn, shy, and antisocial.

In comparison, extroverts are assumed to be people who are charismatic, outgoing, boisterous, and assertive — the kind who fit the requirement for “dynamic, outgoing candidates with exceptional communication skills” in job posts.

And they’re the ones 25% likelier to land a higher-earning job like consulting and investment banking.

But the reality is that personalities are far more complex than that. Just because you are an introvert doesn’t mean you are shy, soft-spoken or socially awkward.

Though you may prefer more alone time, you may have excellent social skills and are great at forming relationships.

Similar to extroverts, introverts can adapt to different environments and various workplaces. They can even thrive in “extroverted careers” including the #1 job today: being CEO.

Introverted personalities exceeded the expectations of their investors more often than extroverted ones, according to one study of over 900 CEOs.

Another study found that introverts often make better leaders.

According to Susan Cain, author of “Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can’t Stop Talking,” leadership does not require someone to be “highly sociable.”

Instead, she believes good leaders “are motivated by the desire to advance ideas and new ways of looking at the world or to improve the situations of a group of people.”

What all of this shows is that the best careers for introverts make the most of your unique strengths.

Based on a study, it was found that, unlike extroverts, introverts are great at making more accurate observations about human behaviour.

They are excellent at “reading” people and understanding them better. This results from them spending a lot of their time observing people rather than interacting with them. 

With this skillset, you can progress to the highest levels of a company as bosses are always in need of someone who can read their employees well.

While this will then require you to interact more, being part of the C-suite can earn you a six-figure salary.

Not so ambitious or want a more relaxed career? The following list of best careers for introverts has a good balance of jobs for a diverse range of needs.

5 best careers for introverts to earn well and live well

best careers for introverts

According to the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator results, it was found that 63% of librarians are introverts. Source: AFP

1. Librarian 

Librarians are the guardians of information, the keepers of wisdom, and the guides to the vast realms of human knowledge. 

If you’re an introvert who finds solace in the world of books and information, a career in library science might be your calling. 

Libraries are tranquil spaces that attract those who appreciate quiet and intellectual pursuits. 

As a librarian or information specialist, you can immerse yourself in the vast world of literature, research, and knowledge.

It is one of the best careers for introverts because librarians spend a significant amount of time working independently, organising materials, conducting research, and assisting patrons with their information needs. 

This profession allows you to cultivate a love for learning and contribute to your communities without the need for constant social interaction.

That’s not to say there is no interaction, but when dealing with library patrons, conversations are easy, at a low volume, and on something you can be passionate about: books. 

Working in a library provides introverts with an environment that aligns with their natural inclinations. 

It allows you to delve into your passion for books and knowledge, fostering a sense of fulfilment and authenticity in your career.

There is a selection of degree options to become a librarian, but pursuing a Master’s in Library and Information Science (MLIS) is the most direct path to becoming a librarian. 

MLIS programmes offer a comprehensive education in library management, cataloguing, reference services, and information ethics. 

Courses often cover topics such as digital libraries, information retrieval, and collection development.

Where should you study?

In the QS World University Rankings by Subject 2023: Library & Information Management list, these are the top five university choices

  1. The University of Sheffield
  2. University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
  3. University of Washington
  4. University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
  5. University of Texas at Austin
best careers for introverts

People who are introverted may find working as an archivist a great opportunity to work mostly on their own. Source: AFP

2. Archivist

Among the many careers introverts can pursue, being an archivist stands out as a profession deeply rooted in history and preservation. 

Archivists play a pivotal role in safeguarding our collective memory by organising, managing, and preserving historical records, documents, photographs, and artefacts. 

If you have a penchant for history, meticulous attention to detail, and a love for the past, consider the rewarding path of an archivist.

Being an archivist is one of the best careers for introverts because they often work behind the scenes in quiet, controlled environments, meticulously cataloguing and curating historical materials. 

Their responsibilities include maintaining the integrity of documents and artefacts, digitising records for future generations, and conducting research to uncover hidden historical gems. 

This solitary and focused work aligns perfectly with the introvert’s preference for introspection and deep thinking.

Archivists also have the opportunity to engage with history on a profound level, immersing themselves in the stories of bygone eras. 

They are the guardians of history, and their work contributes significantly to our understanding of the past, making it a profession that aligns with the authentic selves of introverts.

Their work also helps bridge the gap between past and present, preserving the cultural heritage of communities and institutions.

Where should you study?

Here are the top three best archival science programmes according to US News & World Report: 

  1. Simmons University
  2. University of California–Los Angeles
  3. University of North Carolina–Chapel Hill

In the UK, here are a few universities with ARA-accredited postgraduate courses:

  • Aberystwyth University
  • University of Dundee
  • University of Glasgow
best careers for introverts

Working as a graphic designer is one of the best careers for introverts because it allows them to use their personality traits and creative skills to tell a story. Source: AFP

3. Graphic Design

Graphic design is a visually captivating field that caters to introverts with a creative flair. 

It involves creating visual content for various media, including websites, advertisements, and branding materials. 

A key role in most companies, you can progress up to the C-suite as a graphic designer to become a Chief Creative Officer, which pays up to US$181,325 a year in the US according to Glassdoor.

Graphic designers can often work remotely or in quiet studio settings, which allows introverts to focus their creative energies without the pressure of constant social interaction.

As an introvert, you would excel in this profession due to your keen attention to detail and ability to work independently.

The best part? The freedom to express yourself through your work.

Where should you study?

Here are universities with some of the best graphic design courses:

  • Loughborough University
  • The University of Edinburgh
  • Royal College of Art, London
  • Rhode Island School of Design
  • Politecnico di Milano
  • Pratt Institute
  • The Glasgow School of Art
best careers for introverts

Data architecture is one of the best careers for introverts as it revolves around spending many days sitting on their computer doing research. Source: AFP

4. Data architect

In an increasingly data-driven world, the role of a data architect has become indispensable — so much so that companies are willing to pay up to US$150,000 a year for them, according to Glassdoor.

Data architects are the architects of the digital realm, designing and constructing the data infrastructure that underpins modern organisations.

If you’re an introvert with a penchant for structured thinking and a love for the inner workings of data, a career in data architecture could be your calling.

Data architects are one of the best careers for introverts because they often work in the background, away from the spotlight, as they craft intricate frameworks for data storage, retrieval, and analysis. 

Their responsibilities involve designing data models, establishing data governance, and ensuring data quality — all tasks that require deep concentration and attention to detail.

Choosing a career in data architecture enables introverts to embrace their natural analytical skills and logical thinking. 

As a data architect, you’ll find fulfilment in the precision and order that data architecture brings to the chaotic world of information.

Where should you study?

To become a data architect, you need a degree in computer science, computer engineering, data science or a related field.

Here are some of the best schools to study in this field:

  • Purdue University 
  • Stanford University
  • Harvard University
  • Cornell University
  • Georgia Institute of Technology
  • University of Melbourne
  • University of Oxford
  • Imperial College London
best careers for introverts

Being a content writer is one of the best careers for introverts, as it capitalises on many introvert strengths, from working alone to problem-solving. Source: AFP

5. Content Writer

If you possess a talent for wordsmithing and a passion for storytelling, a career in content writing offers an ideal avenue for self-expression and creativity. 

Content writers are the wordsmiths of the digital age, shaping narratives and conveying messages through the written word.

It is one of the best careers for introverts because they often work independently, with the freedom to immerse themselves in the creative writing process. 

Whether crafting blog posts, articles, website content, or marketing materials, introverts can find solace in the quiet act of putting words on paper (or screen). 

This profession aligns well with the introverted nature, allowing for deep focus and introspection.

Choosing a career in content writing enables introverts to channel their creativity into written form. 

It provides a platform to express thoughts, ideas, and stories while working at your own pace. 

The beauty of this profession is that you have the opportunity to dive into various subjects and industries, enriching your knowledge while contributing valuable content to businesses and readers.

Whatever your interests are, you can choose to write about it. 

Where should you study?

Depending on your interests, there are numerous degree options you can explore. 

A degree in English or literature provides a strong foundation in writing, grammar, and literary analysis, which are essential for content writing.

Numerous prestigious schools are offering an English language or literature degree. These include: 

  • University of Oxford
  • University of Cambridge
  • Harvard University
  • University of California, Berkeley (UCB)
  • Yale University

Journalism programmes offer research, interviewing, and storytelling training, skills valuable for content writers, especially in news-related content.

You can also get a degree in communication studies, which covers various aspects of effective communication, including persuasive writing and audience analysis, which are relevant to content creation.

best countries to live in as an international student

While central Amsterdam may be crowded, there are many pockets of tranquillity located around the capital, where the University of Amsterdam is based. Source: Aurore Belot/AFP

Here are some excellent universities to pursue journalism, communication or media studies:

  • University of Amsterdam
  • University of Southern California
  • Northwestern University
  • University of Texas at Austin
  • New York University (NYU)