Career Key

Author: Career Key's President and CEO, Juliet Wehr Jones, GCDF, J.D.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Software Engineer Jobs and Holland’s Investigative Personality Type

My guest post this week is from CEO Boris Epstein and AskBINC contributor Tawny Labrum at BINC, a Professional Search Firm specializing in software engineer jobs and the software engineering industry. They know the Investigative personality type and what software engineers want in their careers. (Disclaimer: I’m married to a software engineer, techies check out his C++/D blog and Linux debugger Zero Bugs; I can’t agree more with BINC’s observations)

I asked BINC to talk about their experience with Holland’s Theory and how it relates to job and career satisfaction for their software engineer clients and employers.


The saying, ‘birds of a feather flock together’ is used when people with similar characteristics or similar interests choose to spend time together in business and in social scenes. This also seems to be true in the employment industry.

Take for example the Software Marketplace, in which BINC specifically works. We have the opportunity to deal with some of the most intelligent people in the scientific community. They compete with one another to have the honor to work together as a team. And as Dr. John Holland has shown, people who are most successful and satisfied with their careers tend to work with other like minded people.

If you look at the six different personality types of Holland’s Theory described on Career Key’s website, the Investigative personality type screams to those who are employed as Software Engineers:
"- Likes to study and solve math or science problems; generally avoids leading, selling, or persuading people;
- Is good at understanding and solving science and math problems;
- Values science; and
- Sees self as precise, scientific, and intellectual.”
If you ask any of the recruiters at BINC to describe a true software engineer and their ideal opportunity this is the type of result you would get:
  • A position that will promote intellectual growth and high level thinking. Software Engineers are extremely analytical individuals who would rather deal with problems that require thought and have a proven answer. This ability to study and solve problems makes software engineers invaluable to their employer because the word of technology is changing rapidly and engineers need to continue to seek new answers or better methods.
  • A position where they are inspired and the work they are doing somehow is contributing to the greater good of society. Software engineers often have tasks that are mind-numbing to anyone who doesn’t love what they do. Staring at code, creating and solving mathematical problems, repeating processes without the passion to do so can be wearing, but great software engineers thrive in such an environment.
  • Engineers are passionate about what they do and they possess a true love for programming, they strive to be around like minded people. Very rarely is there a job where we place a software engineer in by him or herself. Very often they work in teams and the dynamic has to work or the employer is robbed of the creative energy and passion to get the job done. A successful software engineer seems to thrive in environments where they fit in culturally and their investigative personality type is put to use.
  • Engineers look for a supportive working environment with a vision, where ideas can be heard and their paycheck serves as a bonus, not a primary motivator. Part of our job at BINC is to find that right fit for engineers and employers to enable their strengths and provide an atmosphere they will love working in.
As you can see the Holland Theory matches closely what we’ve seen in our day-to- day experience. Software engineers, in general, love solving problems, they love math and science, and they’re passionate about their work. These are the type of people we’ve found thriving in their workplace and loving their careers.

Discovering your passion may seem like a daunting task, but the long-term benefits of investigating your personality, your abilities and your talents will go a long way to helping you find the perfect position. If you’re interested in more of our tips and tricks please visit our blog - or visit us at

NOTE: Career Key thanks BINC CEO Boris Epstein and AskBINC contributor Tawny Labrum at BINC for this great post. To see more careers of the Investigative Personality type and the other 5 personaltiy types, read our article "Match Your Personality with Careers."


Anonymous said...

Thanks for this great info :) Please keep it up :)
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Raul said...


I am a Chemical Engineer and I am interested in changing career to Software Engineering.

Any advice?

David said...

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