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Learning all about your personality type will help you understand yourself better and find the right career. This comprehensive ISTP personality guide will give you information about the ISTP characteristics and the careers that suit this personality type.
You can take this free AI-powered personality test to gain deeper insights into your personality.
Why You Need to Know Your Personality Type
Firstly, it’s important to understand that personality typing is not designed to pigeonhole a person or to say that one personality is better than another. Each personality has its unique characteristics. Personality typing is an empowering personal development tool that will help you to:
- Identify your strengths and weaknesses and make sense of your thoughts, feelings, and motivations
- Make informed education and career choices
- Be confident in a job interview
- Thrive in the workplace
- Network with others successfully
- Improve your relationships
Introduction to Personality Typology
Understanding one’s strengths and weaknesses, needs and wants, helps one:
- Identify relevant opportunities
- Access career information
- Plan and take career-related decisions
- Present oneself effectively to gain access to courses or jobs
- Network and build relationships
The road to modern personality typology was first paved by Carl Jung, a Swiss psychiatrist, and psychoanalyst. Based on his work, psychologists Isabel Briggs Myers and Katharine Briggs created the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI). The MBTI identifies 16 different personalities, and it’s one of the most popular methods of personality typing today.
To explain how people differ in the way they use their personality preferences/cognitive functions, Myers and Briggs use the following four preferences for their self-evaluation personality assessment.
- Introversion (I) or Extraversion (E). Where do you draw your energy from, from your inner world or the outer world?
- Sensing (S) or Intuition (N). How you receive information. Do you prefer to focus on information from your surroundings, or prefer to interpret and add your meaning?
- Thinking (T) or Feeling (F). How you make decisions. Do you take a logical approach, or do you prefer looking at people and circumstances?
- Judging (J) or Perceiving (P). How you interact with the outside world. Do you like to have things decided and organized or do you prefer to remain open to new information and options?
The letters that are assigned to each of the above four preferences make up a four-letter code for each of the 16 personality types. This simple coding system shows you how your four preferences interact, and which one you prefer to use first.
How you use these preferences can change over time and some of these preferences may be used more often than others.
For example, the ISTP personality type uses the following preferences in this order: introversion, sensing, thinking, and perceiving.
Personality Profile of the ISTP
ISTPs are introverts
As an introvert, ISTPs like to focus on their internal world and prefer a solitary life.
ISTPs may be described by others as being quiet and reserved, but these types of people do enjoy meaningful social interactions. The only difference is that they prefer to spend quality time with one or two people and will need some time alone to recharge their energy levels.
Although ISTPs make up 5.4% of the population as opposed to the ISTJ which makes up 15.9% of the population, ISTPs have a particular skill set that makes them well suited for specialized careers that require hands-on experience and people that can remain calm in a stressful environment.
ISTPs display extraordinary mastery over a range of tools, whether it be simple tools like a hammer and drill or high-tech equipment. They have a natural talent for problem-solving and offer practical solutions.
Myers and Briggs also call ISTPs Crafters because they are creative and like to build and fix things and enjoy hobbies like crafts, metalwork, or woodworking.
ISTPs are happiest when they are working with their hands, and as they have a curious nature, they will often take objects apart and analyze complex systems to better understand their function.
Fiercely independent, ISTPs value their freedom so much it can be difficult for them to respect boundaries that others may expect of them. While they are quieter than other personality types, ISTPs are self-confident and adventurous and will seek out new experiences.
When they are not working with their hands, ISTPs tend to engage in high-risk sporting activities like hang-gliding, skydiving, surfing, bungee jumping, motorbike, and car racing.
Like the ISTJ personality, ISTPs are task-orientated and results-driven, not people-orientated, so they may not be well attuned to the feelings of others and can come across as being insensitive or blunt.
However, if fire sirens are going off in the office or there is an emergency at the factory, ISTPs stay cool, calm, and relaxed.
As ISTPs use their senses to receive a wide range of information from their surroundings, they are highly observant, detail-orientated, good listeners, and often pick up on the little things that other people miss. Their ability to retain a lot of information prepares them for those times when they need to fix something.
ISTPs have a sharp, logical mind and they prefer to make decisions based on facts, details, and objective data rather than personal feelings, ideas, or abstract concepts.
They like to consider all the facts before deciding and look for rational explanations for events.
ISTPs have total confidence in their knowledge, and they believe that their way is the right way, which can make others think they are stubborn and dogmatic. However, a person with ISTP characteristics will prove to be a valuable teammate in a small team and a good leader.
The perceiving function helps ISTPs interact with the world and make decisions. Instead of becoming anxious like an ISTJ would when their life is not well-organized, an ISTP person is more flexible, adaptable, spontaneous, and happy to go with the flow.
Being relaxed and impulsive can pose a problem for others as ISTPs tend to change their plans quickly and can struggle to commit to responsibilities. Regardless of these characteristics, life seems to work out for an ISTP anyway.
In the workplace
ISTPs are self-directed people who prefer to work alone and have the freedom to work at their pace.
You probably won’t find them engaging in small talk with others as they prefer to save their mental energies for solving complex problems.
As ISTPs have introverted characteristics, they are straightforward, no-nonsense people, but they can appear detached or even shy. However, don’t be put off by their reserved demeanor, ISTPs work well with others once they get to know them. They are easy-going and have an optimistic outlook on life.
ISTPs like to be physically challenged and stay active, but if they are not kept busy, they can get bored and distracted easily.
Extremely resourceful, ISTPs can be relied upon to carefully analyze a problem, quickly find the underlying cause, and use their wide range of knowledge to fix the problem.
ISTPs primarily lean towards introversion more than extraversion, which means they can be hard to get to know and their stubborn desire to do things their way can cause problems with more dominant personality types.
Their logical, rational brain can make them feel uncomfortable with other people’s emotions, and they may have trouble expressing their own emotions.
Even though ISTPs are regarded as a ‘strong silent type’ who keep their thoughts to themselves, they harbor strong opinions about life and like to hear what other people think.
ISTPs need their personal space and they don’t like to feel they are being controlled. While they are loyal and will often give up their time to help others, their relaxed nature can make it hard for them to commit. However, ISTPs will put a lot of effort into relationships with people who enjoy similar hobbies or activities.
ISTP Strengths and Weakness
- Extremely observant
- Good at listening
- Practical problem-solver
- Excels at fixing things
- Handles conflict well
- Positive outlook on life
- Difficult to get to know
- Long-term planning can be difficult
- Grows bored easily
- Uncomfortable in emotional situations
- May engage in risky behavior
- Does not like being controlled
- Can struggle with commitment
Careers That Will Suit ISTPs
ISTPs tend to prefer jobs where they can work with their hands, engage in technical and analytical tasks, and use their problem-solving skills. Careers in mechanical, engineering, scientific, agricultural, medical, technological, and emergency service industries will suit ISTPs.
Popular jobs for ISTPs
- Civil engineer
- Mechanical engineer
- Electrical engineer
- Building inspector
- Construction worker
- Forensic scientist
- Computer programmer
- Software engineer
- Software developer
- Computer and phone technician
- Systems analyst
- Air traffic controller
- Sports trainer
ISTPs have a great skill set. Not only do they like to get their hands dirty, and use practical methods to solve problems, but their logical, rational, and easy-going approach to life will make them valuable employees.
If you think you are an ISTP or want to dig deeper and learn more about what type of personality you have, take our free personality test and smart artificial intelligence will give you detailed feedback.