Individuals with Realistic interests enjoy physical, hands-on work, often involving machines (e.g., repairing vehicles, tinkering with computers, construction). They may take up careers such as computer science, engineering, the physical sciences, architecture, or construction. They are often visual or kinesthetic learners, commonly excelling in what is known as spatial visualization. Those with strong spatial-visualization abilities often do well with schematic charts and diagrams, as well as envisioning and mentally rotating three-dimensional objects. As I’ve discussed elsewhere, INTJs’ dominant function, Ni, often has a strong visual component. This may make INTJs especially gifted when it comes to work involving visuospatial intelligence. Because of the holistic and visual nature of Ni, INTJs often exceil in higher-level mathematics that require more theory, visualization, and imagination.
Realistics enjoy working with “things” more than people. It is therefore unsurprising that this interest domain is correlated with a preference for Thinking over Feeling. Research suggests that S, T, and P types are somewhat more drawn to Realistic work than are N, F, and J types. While rarely interested in exclusively Realistic work, such as construction, INTJs commonly pursue careers that combine Realistic with Investigative interests. Science, computers, technology, and architecture, to name a few, may all have Realistic features and can be a good fit for INTJs. As long as the work is not too mundane or disconnected from theory, INTJs can find satisfaction in these sorts of fields.
The Investigative domain incorporates analytic, scientific, and academic interests. Investigative types enjoy working with ideas, theories, facts, or data. They generally perform well on the mathematics portion of aptitude tests. Those with interests in the physical sciences or mathematics will often pursue careers in science, technology, engineering, computer science, etc. Those interested in investigating “things” will generally have a Holland code of IR (Investigative-Realistic).
While IRs may gravitate to the “hard sciences” (e.g., physics), INTJs with Investigative-Artistic (IA) interests may be drawn to the social sciences (history, economics, psychology, sociology, geography, anthropology, archeology, political science, etc.). IAs are often intrigued by psychological or sociocultural issues and may study the social sciences, philosophy, critical theory, or investigative journalism. They might also take up non-fiction writing. INTJs seem equally well-equipped to excel in either IR or IA careers. What direction they go may depend on the strength of their verbal (IA) versus non-verbal/spatiovisual skills (IR).