Smart Career Options for Shy People

Careers for the Bashful

Check out these six career choices that could be a good fit for your shy personality.

By Monique Jones

Do you dread personal exchanges with co-workers, daily meetings, and office happy hours? Sure, you may prefer solitude, but you're not alone in wanting to work alone.

In fact, professional career expert Allison Cheston says your shy nature could make you an asset in the work force.

Want to find the right career to match your shy personality? Read on to learn what opportunities might be waiting for you.

Shy Career #1: Computer Programmer

If you are really great with computers and computer code but more clumsy with people and social code, perhaps a career as a computer programmer might be good for you.

According to the U.S. Department of Labor, computer programmers write code to create software programs. In other words, they write instructions that computers can follow to run a program. Programmers often work in offices in the computer systems design or information industries, or something related.

Outgoing Personality Not Required: Working as a computer programmer is great for people who are skilled with computers but less so when interacting with co-workers.

According to the Department of Labor, programmers generally work alone on projects or telecommute. Just keep in mind that while a lot of their work is done independently, programmers do collaborate at times with other computer specialists on larger projects.

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Education Options: The Department says that most computer programmers have a bachelor's degree, but some employers hire people who have an associate's degree. Most computer programmers have a degree in computer science or a related field.


Shy Career #2: Accountant

If you're a shy person and enjoy crunching numbers, you might want to consider a career in accounting.

What exactly do accountants do? The U.S. Department of Labor states that accountants study and prepare financial records and make sure financial documents are accurate. Accountants might also help prepare taxes.

Outgoing Personality Not Required: Looking through account books and crunching numbers seems like quite a solitary endeavor, which is why accounting might be a very nice career for shy people. While the Department of Labor says that accountants might have to conduct face-to-face meetings with clients, Cheston assures that "generally speaking, people skills are secondary for accountants, who mostly toil away independently."

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Education Options: Most accountants have bachelor's degrees in accounting or other related fields, according to the Department; however, some employers hire community college grads with the right education and experience to be junior accountants. After demonstrating on-the-job competence, junior accountants could advance to accountant positions.


Shy Career #3: Paralegal

Just because you're shy doesn't mean you can't be a professional. If you have an interest in law, a career as a paralegal might be a good solution for you.

According to the U.S. Department of Labor, paralegals are the ones who provide various types of assistance to lawyers, including managing files related to cases, drafting reports for lawyers, and conducting legal research.

Outgoing Personality Not Required: A large part of a paralegal's job, in some cases, deals with research and organization. According to the College Board, a nonprofit membership organization that strives for educational equity and excellence, a paralegal needs to be "someone who enjoys doing research and writing up the results."

Paralegals work with the lawyers who they assist, but a lot of their work takes place in libraries and offices, which may be ideal for someone who enjoys working in a quiet environment.

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Education Options: According to the Department of Labor, most paralegals have a degree of some kind: either an associate's degree in paralegal studies, or a certificate in paralegal studies with a bachelor's degree in another field.


Shy Career #4: Graphic Designer

Are you artistically minded? If you're nodding your head to this question but shuddering at the thought of working in a collaborative art studio, a career as a graphic designer might be something to investigate.

According to the U.S. Department of Labor, graphic designers communicate ideas to consumers by creating visual concepts by hand or with computers. Using art and technology, graphic designers lay out web screens and printed pages and often design ads, brochures, magazines, and corporate reports.

Outgoing Personality Not Required: According to Cheston, a graphic designer could "find work requiring limited human interaction," as a lot of time is spent "thinking, looking for inspiration, and trying different ideas out." The Department of Labor also says that some graphic designers even telecommute.

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Education Options: A bachelor's degree in graphic design is usually required for jobs in the field, according to the Department. If your degree is in another field, you may need to pursue technical training to meet most job requirements.


Shy Career #5: Health Information Technician

Are you good at organizing files and records? Do you want to be a part of the health care industry but aren't too keen on developing a bedside manner? Perhaps you should consider pursuing a career as a health information technician.

According to the College Board, health information technicians keep very detailed and careful records of patient diagnoses, treatments, histories, and procedures for doctors and insurance companies. They also analyze data to help control costs and improve care while consulting with doctors to investigate diagnoses.

Outgoing Personality Not Required: While health information technicians do consult with doctors and insurance companies, according to the U.S. Department of Labor, they do not have a hands-on role with patient care - instead they spend many hours at a computer.

This work environment could be great for a shy person who doesn't mind a little co-worker contact but dislikes the one-on-one interaction of health care professional and patient.

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Education Options: According to the Department of Labor, candidates for a career as a health information technician need a certificate, which can be acquired by passing an exam or completing an accredited program. Some candidates also have an associate's degree in health information technology.


Shy Career #6: Survey Researcher

Have you always been interested in what makes people tick? If you want a career that provides only partial contact with others, a career as a survey researcher might be a good one for you.

"Survey researchers design or conduct surveys and analyze survey data," according to the U.S. Department of Labor. They ask questions in order to collect data for various companies or organizations who want to understand people's attitudes, opinions, or desires.

Outgoing Personality Not Required: A large part of the work done by survey researchers is independent and may be ideal for people with shy personalities. Although some researchers conduct interviews or surveys with focus groups, they usually work alone when they're designing surveys and analyzing data, according to the Department of Labor.

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Education Options: There's no single path to pursuing a survey researcher career. The education needed to prepare for this career depends on the industry you hope to enter. Survey researchers can have a bachelor's degree in many areas, including business, psychology, or political science, according to the Department.

Taking courses in research methods, survey methodology, and statistics could also be beneficial. Most technical or advanced research positions require a master's degree or Ph.D., adds the Department.


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