If you tend to get along with computers and data better than people, these seven careers could be right for you.
Does socializing with others at work make you want to run for the hills? Do you consider yourself more wallflower than social butterfly?
If you dread water cooler talk like the plague, you could be in the wrong career. The good news is there are many career options suitable for people who just aren't, well, people-persons. But finding the right one for you may require some reflection.
"One way to look at the full range of careers you can choose is to see them as dealing with a mix of data, people, and things," advises Laurence Shatkin, career expert and author of "50 Best Jobs For Your Personality." "If you want to avoid involvement with people, you want a career that focuses mainly on data or inanimate objects."
Interested in learning more? Keep reading to see which of these seven solitary careers could help you excel.
Career #1: Accountant
Find numbers and financial data more stimulating than small talk and conference calls? You might be a good fit in the often-isolated career of accountant.
Why It's Great For Solitary Types: According to the U.S. Department of Labor, some primary responsibilities of an accountant may include computing taxes, preparing financial documents, and maintaining records - all tasks that won't require a lot of face-to-face interaction.
"Although you can't avoid people entirely in this career, the job is mostly concerned with manipulating data," says Shatkin, "so the work tasks will keep you in front of your computer and away from people for most of the workday."
What You'll Need to Prep: To get ready to pursue most accountant careers, a bachelor's degree in accounting or a related field is required, says the Department of Labor.
Career #2: Graphic Designer
We get it. You're a creative type. You prefer bending over your sketch pad beneath a single desk lamp to going out with your friends. Fortunately for you, graphic design is one career where you can be your aloof little self.
Why It's Great For Solitary Types: Since most of these could be done from the comfort of your computer, according to Shatkin, you'll be happy to hear that interaction with others could be minimal.
"You may need to communicate with people to receive their suggestions or corrections, particularly if you are part of a collaborative effort such as designing the graphic content of a video game. However, most of the time you will be working alone, especially if you freelance," says Shatkin.
Some duties of a graphic designer may include using the computer to design images for logos or websites, creating designs that convey a message, or developing layouts for magazines, notes the U.S. Department of Labor.
What You'll Need to Prep: According to the Department of Labor, graphic designers are usually required to have a bachelor's degree in graphic design or a related field, as well as a professional portfolio that showcases their talent. If you have a bachelor's degree in another field, you could "pursue technical training in graphic design to meet qualifications," says the Department.
Career #3: Software Developer
Are you more interested in working with computers than people? You might consider a career as a software developer.
Why It's Great For Solitary Types: "Software developers spend almost the entire day in front of the computer. Those who work in highly collaborative settings, such as those developing a new smartphone app, will have to bounce their ideas off of co-workers, but even in these situations it is often possible to avoid meetings and limit most communication to e-mails," Shatkin says.
As a software developer, you may be responsible for making sure computer programs work correctly, making it nearly impossible for you to have idle time to chit chat. In fact, according to the U.S. Department of Labor, this job could offer you the opportunity to telecommute.
What You'll Need to Prep: How does one pursue a career as a software developer? Well, according to the Department of Labor, software developers usually have a bachelor's degree in computer science, software engineering, or a related field, as well as strong computer programming skills. A degree in mathematics is also considered acceptable to pursue this career.
If organizing medical data without interacting with people sounds like a blast to you, consider a career as a medical records and health information technician.
Why It's Great For Solitary Types: It's simple: your patients won't be people, but data. "This is a data-centered career that focuses on medical data rather than on patients," says Shatkin. "If you want to get involved in the booming health-care industry but don't want to deal with patients, this is a good choice."
The U.S. Department of Labor echoes Shatkin, noting that "this is one of the few health-related occupations in which there is no direct hands-on patient care."
What might you put your hands on? Typical duties include recording patient data electronically, organizing data for clinical databases, and data security, notes the Department of Labor.
What You'll Need to Prep: According to the Department of Labor, medical records and health information technician applicants usually need a postsecondary certificate to qualify, while some even have an associate's. Most employers prefer to hire those who have professional certification.
Career #5: Cost Estimators
Do you like balancing budgets and making sure timelines are met for projects? A career as a cost estimator might be your calling.
Why It's Great For Solitary Types: People lovers need not apply, as cost estimators spend tons of time using computers to manipulate data.
"These workers, like accountants, deal primarily with figures. They work in construction and manufacturing industries and help determine the likely costs of planned projects. They meet with managers to explain their findings, but most of their work is focused on obtaining cost figures stored in databases," says Shatkin.
Other typical responsibilities of a cost estimator could include using sophisticated computer software to estimate costs, preparing estimates for clients, and analyzing inputs to determine the profitability of a project, notes the U.S. Department of Labor.
What You'll Need to Prep: If you're interested in pursuing a career as a construction cost estimator, the Department of Labor notes that a bachelor's degree in an industry-related field, such as building science or construction management is generally needed. For those interested in manufacturing cost estimating, the Department advises that a bachelor's degree in physical sciences, mathematics, engineering, or statistics is typically needed.
Career #6: Commercial Pilot
Always wanted to fly the friendly skies without the friendly part? You might be perfect in a career as a commercial pilot.
Why It's Great For Solitary Types: You won't be hamming it up on the plane's intercom as a commercial pilot. In fact, you won't even have a flight crew. According to the U.S. Department of Labor, commercial pilots fly aircrafts for reasons such as firefighting, charter flights, crop dusting, or aerial photography. Sounds pretty solitary to us.
"Unlike airline pilots, who have to share the cockpit with a copilot, many commercial pilots fly solo," says Shatkin. "When they're not flying, they may have to schedule flights, arrange for maintenance of the plane, or even load luggage for a charter flight, but their tasks generally do not involve a great amount of human interaction."
What You'll Need to Prep: A growing number of pilots today pursue an associate's or bachelor's degree from a civilian flying school, and employers prefer to hire those with a college degree, notes the Department of Labor. Commercial pilots are also required to have a license.
Career #7: Computer Programmer
Would you rather make a companion of a computer than a co-worker? A career as a computer programmer could be right up your quiet, empty alley.
Why It's Great For Solitary Types: A love of computers, not people, is a must in this occupation. "Like software developers, programmers are glued to the computer for the whole workday and do not need much contact with co-workers," says Shatkin.
According to the U.S. Department of Labor, computer programmers could be responsible for debugging programs, writing programs in different languages like Java or C++, and updating existing programs.
What You'll Need to Prep: A bachelor's degree in computer science or a related field is common among computer programmers, and some employers will even hire applicants with just an associate's degree, notes the Department of Labor.
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