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IT careers for introverts

By computerguy124 ·
This might be a weird question, but does anyone know of any IT careers that are generally geared towards introverts? I work at a help desk, which has turned out to be quite an extraverted job. I'm willing to get more certifications if necessary, but I really need to move to an IT job that doesn't require a customer service personality. I'm finding the social aspect of my job to be more than I can handle. Any ideas out there?

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My heart goes out to you

by amcol In reply to Good answer for some...

As you correctly point out, Bernice, my advice was aimed at that segment of the population for whom it might work. That's the nature of one can make a definitive statement about anything that fits every human being on the planet. You just do the best you can.

You are the unfortunate victim of either a psychological or physiological condition. Your post doesn't give enough information to determine which, and it's no one's business but your own anyway. In any event, due to your circumstances you are not totally in control of the sitation and as such, I'm sorry, my advice doesn't apply to you.

You should be very proud of yourself that you've taken steps to address your condition, which I discern from your reference to taking medication. I know others in your situation who do not do so, people who live their lives behind closed doors (both physical and mental) with no hope of ever kicking those doors even the tiniest bit ajar. You, on the other hand, are at least trying. Good for you.

I sincerely wish I could offer you some advice but I can't. Nor would I...I wouldn't insult you by presuming to know more about you than you do. The only thing I can offer is encouragement. Whatever it is you're doing, it's at least working to a certain extent. You're able to engage in gainful employment, and even though this particular forum is arm's length participation you can still do so (many cannot bring themselves to even this form of semi-social interaction).

Do not despair that your gig with Sun is ending. You have at least eight years of quality experience you can parlay into something else. You may find the whole job hunting and interview experience painful and daunting...well, guess what, so do the rest of us. There's nothing pleasant about it. But eight years ago you did whatever you had to in order to secure a job, and now you can do the same thing except you're in a better place by virtue of your experience.

I wish you the best of luck, and I'm willing to bet real American cash money you'll be involved in a new professional gig sooner rather than later. Don't ever give up.

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even the most heads down programmer needs to talk

by givemejava In reply to Here's a weird answer

My intial reaction to your post was "programming", just pick a language. But even the most heads down person needs to talk to people. Indeed, the better the programmer, the more you need to talk to your users so you can satisfy thier needs.

I am an introvert myself, but I have found it satisfying to get praise back from users.

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Excellent Response!

by PlacidAir In reply to Here's a weird answer

I was going to suggest the same thing. The urge to hide in the back room is going to be detrimental to a career, no matter what field you're in. The best bet in the lone run is to find a way to learn to deal with people without wanting to cringe or hide. Take some acting classes, or some speech and movement classes -- If you can break through that wall of discomfort with others, your ability to move up the ranks in any field goes way up.

Good luck!

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Excellent advise

by BlueKnight In reply to Here's a weird answer

Amcol has an excellent point. As he said, you're not alone. Back in high school and earlier I was also very much an introvert except with a select few friends, and even with them I was reserved.

I can't point to anything specifically that helped me open up, it just happened along the way without my realizing it. Probably having to work with various project teams I've worked on over the years as well as having to deal with customers and the public in a number of situations. Our customers really like me, my coworkers and I get along great, I have no problem speaking in front of large groups and I serve as a volunteer police officer on the weekends... if I could transform, you can overcome it too. But like Amcol said, don't set any deadlines for yourself, it doesn't work that way.

The Help Desk is a heck of a place to be for an real introvert, but hang in there and don't think about how you feel. Concentrate rather on providing the best customer service you can. When situations permit, a little friendly banter with callers will help you, and will generally show customers you're interested in them (even if you really aren't). All it takes is a couple friendly questions... they'll do most of the talking.

You can do it, you'll see.


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Not always an issue of shyness...

by kaol In reply to Here's a weird answer

I'm a technical trainer and have no problem speaking in front of a group of people or working with individuals to resolve problems or do just-in-time training. However, I am an introvert and PREFER to work on my own and in solitude. So, I balance my workload by writing documentation to satisfy that part of my personality.

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Introvert is just one aspect of your aptitudes

by mrTibbs In reply to IT careers for introverts

Consider your other aptitudes and ambitions to get a balanced profile of the person you are and the person you want to be .. then examine possible career choices.
Some ideas:
Researcher, network maintenance, technical author, database administrator, programmer, programme tester, book reviewer, proof reader.
The range is quite wide but can be focused more by answering questions like 'do I have exceptional attention to detail', 'do spelling and grammer affect your enjoyment of an article i.e. do you both notice and get distracted by errors?'
'Can I visualise solutions to most problems?'.
Also consider careers outside IT. If you are moving to a new role why restrict yourself to one industry?

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Overnight shift...

by angry_white_male In reply to IT careers for introverts

Overnight shift at a data processing center running reports all by your lonesome.

Some people will say that a programmer is a good job for an introvert - but given the project-based nature of many programming tasks where the programmer actually has to interface with project managers, level 3 support, network admins, etc... I tend to find that many introverts - as talented as they can be - tend to be difficult people to deal with.

My boss (Dir of IT) is an introvert... definitely the wrong personality for the job (doesn't even say hello or goodbye).

We have an extroverted programmer here - but it's too extroverted... stereotype text-book computer geek right out of "Revenge of the Nerds" to the point where he's just too annoying to be around for more than 3 minutes.

You can't change and introvert into an extrovert... we are who we are... but there are some jobs and environments that are ill-suited for introverted people. When you're in a team or workgroup environment - the introverts won't last long.

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Lots of opportunity!

by GoingMobile In reply to IT careers for introverts

In 19 years of IT and related work, I've done coding, design, project management, people management, tech sales support, strategy, hundreds of management presentations, and even some speaking at conferences. Being an introvert, some aspects of these roles were painful! However, as long as I had time to create by myself, I have generally enjoyed the roles and most importantly, I have had the chance to learn how to interact positively with others even if it is not my first inclination.

The help desk may not bring you satisfaction so learn what you can about working with people (see how others treat you on the phone, listen to how the good communicators communicate, learn how your attitude affects those on the other end of the line, etc.) and develop an area of expertise so you can move on to something that does satisfy you.

The one role I never want to return to again is project management. By its nature, it is political (not a favorite of introverts), subject to constant interruption (ditto), and requires going out to bug people (ditto). All the other roles I've had do have their occasional uncomfortable situation but this is much overshadowed by the rest of the role.

Look around and try a few things. IT requires more interaction than it used to, but there are many great places for introverts. IT is still more about thinking and solving problems than schmoozing.

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by steve v In reply to IT careers for introverts

Try going the network engineer route. This position generally does not deal with the actual customer/coworkers group. You will tend do deal mostly with upper management as well as IT management. Although a call to an occasional vendor will be needed. There is very little 1 to 1 "customer interaction" if you will.

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Help Desk for all?

by numarx1 In reply to IT careers for introverts

I also currently work in the Help Desk section of IT support and in my field it's all about the end user. That's who I support. You have to have personality, patience, and preseverance for all calls made and received.

An introvert would have to adapt to the roles of interacting with a positive personality and showing sarcasm or arrogance, (which technical gurrus are known for) would not be good for the Help Desk section of IT.

I personally enjoy my job and encourange the end users to get better at the task.

My question would be what would be the next step for me that matches my extraverted personality??


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