Discussion Thread

  • 1.  Engineering Personalities

    Posted 07-22-2021 02:17 PM

    It has become a recurring phrase that engineers are introverts: that engineering, a combination of math, science and applied designing, is an inherently inward-looking profession. However, that does not mean there is a specific personality type for a career such as civil engineering.


    What is your Myers-Briggs test result, and how has it changed over the course of your life? How has it affected your engineering career?

    Alexander Granato A.M.ASCE
    Bexley OH

  • 2.  RE: Engineering Personalities

    Posted 07-27-2021 09:49 AM
    I am a ISTJ on the Myers-Briggs personality test, which seems to be common for engineering in general. 

    I have taken this personality test multiple times, starting in high school, then in college, and then a few times from different employers. Each time I have been classified as an ISTJ. When I was in high school, I was borderline on some of the classifications, where as now (or at least 2 years ago), I am much more clearly an ISTJ. So over time, my ISTJ tendencies look to be getting stronger, for better or for worse.

    As how it affects my engineering career, I can say it has impacted it in 3 ways:
    • Knowing how I like to information communicated to me, and trying to communicate with my coworkers in a way that they prefer. I was stuck in the mindset "Treat others as you like to be treated", which meant I communicated with co-workers they way I wanted, but not necessarily the way the co-worker wanted. After realizing there are different personality types and different ways to communicate with different personalities, I put a lot more effort into communicating differently with co-workers based on their personality. This has certainly improved my working relationship with some of my co-workers.
    • Knowing the type of work assignments I prefer, and making my supervisor aware of that. I typically like 2 types of assignments, well defined, verifiable work (think plug and chug) and big picture projects that have no defined parameters where I can have input on how things will work in the future. These types of assignments are very different from each other, and require different skill sets and ways of thinking. They also have very different timeframes, where the plug and chug work is typically time sensitive and the bigger picture future planning work is usually more open-ended. I know I need a variety of work to keep myself from burning out. So after I have spent multiple months crafting a new policy and template on digital design file records, I want to give that part of my brain a rest and do some plug and chug work before taking on another months long assignment. For me, doing the same type of task over and over becomes draining, so from a mental health standpoint, I talk with my supervisor about my assignments and the order in which I would like to complete them.
    • Knowing the level of effort based on who assigned them to me. I can get asked the same question (What do you think about this?) from 2 different people and they will mean 2 different things. For one of my co-workers, this question means tell me what you think about this topic right off the top of your head, with no filter. They want my opinion on the topic, not an analysis. That same question (What do you think about this?) from a different co-worker means go back and look into this topic, do some research, see what other organizations are doing, and give me your recommendation in a week. So based on the personality type of the individual who is asking me the question, I interpret what the intent of their question is, and then can respond to them accordingly. This is similar to my point on communicating with people based on different personality types. 

    Doug Cantrell P.E., M.ASCE
    Professional Engineer
    Durham NC

  • 3.  RE: Engineering Personalities

    Posted 08-02-2021 09:13 AM
    I think if you read up on the scientific literature, you'll see that this test is pseudoscience and has been disproven.

    Tsee Lee S.M.ASCE
    New York NY

  • 4.  RE: Engineering Personalities

    Posted 08-18-2021 02:16 PM

    To: Anyone Interested in a Better Understanding of self and others.

    From: An ENFP

    Re: Stepping outside of the technical engineering requirements and trying to get
    some level of insight into how better to understand, and be understood by others.

    Q1. What is your Myers-Briggs test result?; and,
    How has it changed over the course of your life?; and,
    Q3. How has it affected your engineering career?

    Q1. Now varies from ENFP to ENFJ . . . at times.
    Q2. Variation above noted; and,
    Q3.  More interpersonal, studied approach after more study about such matters including and outside of the MBTI work,
    to understand why certain other types really get frustrated with my style, if it goes unchecked.

    Shortfalls in soft skills in engineering curriculum have been well documented, working with MBTI, and other related materials helps.

    Stay Healthy!

    William M. Hayden Jr., Ph.D., P.E., CMQ/OE, F.ASCE
    Buffalo, N.Y.

    "It is never too late to be what you might have been." -- George Eliot 1819 - 1880