Career Key

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

Monday, September 20, 2010

Which Engineering Career or College Major Matches Your Personality?

If you are considering an engineering career, college major, or training program, Holland's Theory of Career Choice can help you narrow down your choices and specialty. It can help you sort out what kind of engineer or engineering technician you'd like to be.

According to a recent, excellent Wall Street Journal article, "A Career in Engineering",
"Even though you'll have to decide on a specialization while in college, most recruiters say engineers fall into their specific niche by identifying what they're naturally good at, or what they most enjoy."
Holland's Theory gives you a scientific way to do just that - identify your interests. Through 6 personality types, you can measure your interests and see occupations and majors that match.  Research shows a good match between your personality type and your career choice lead to greater job satisfaction and success. If you're choosing a college major or training program, a good interest-major match will likely result in higher grades.

So it's important to choose a engineering career compatible with your Holland personality type.

Not all engineering careers fall under one personality type.  In fact, they fall under two: Realistic and Investigative. More "hands-on", practical and mechanical kinds of engineering careers are associated with the Realistic Personality type. And the more scientific and precise engineering disciplines are associated with the Investigative Personality type.

In engineering, matching occupations can be basically broken down into groups like this:

Realistic Personality Type
"Engineering" Group* (see examples below)
  • Mechanical Engineering
  • Materials Engineer
  • Engineering technologies (technicians, technologists...)
  • Surveyor
Investigative Personality Type
"Computer Science and Technology" Group
  • Computer Software Engineer
"Engineering" Group
  • Biomedical Engineer
  • Civil Engineer
  • Computer Hardware Engineer
  • Petroleum Engineer
You can see all the matching careers for the Realistic and Investigative personality types by visiting our article "Match Your Personality with Careers."

See more "Green Jobs", including engineering-related careers, at a similar article, "Match Your Personality with Green Jobs."

*The Career Key method of grouping matching careers by "Work Groups" within each personality type allows you to explore careers associated with similar worker traits, skills, abilities, temperament, and interests.

Being married to an engineer with a love of Dilbert, I can say that puzzle-solving skills, an interest in science and math, and a sense of humor are also ingredients for success.

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