What jobs use analytical skills?

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Dear Guidance Counselor,

I have been told by my high school teachers that I have a logical mind. I like solving problems, and I don't mind working alone. What careers might be good for me? What degree would I need? Thanks for your help, Bryan

Dear Bryan,

You are correct that certain careers target clusters of skills and traits. In your case, you sound like a young man who thinks things through analytically. Jobs tend to focus on one or two of three main areas: serving people, working with data or ideas, and working with things. Given what you have told me, you might be well matched with a career that pays attention to data and ideas.

1) Engineer: If you love numbers, think logically, and have an aptitude for visual-spatial problems, you might like the work of an engineer. Engineers solve all kinds of problems depending on their specialty. Some primary areas of engineering are chemical, mechanical, electrical, civil, and bio-medical.The training is typically a four-year undergraduate engineering program, although many engineers have master's degrees.

2) Computers (information technology): The field of computers is expected to grow steadily in the future. There are many different kinds of jobs you can do within the computer field from setting up websites to troubleshooting hardware problems to creating software. This field will certainly use your analytical skills.

3) Project manager: Project managers oversee or carry out all the pieces of a project. This task requires good organizational skills as well as a logical mind. Depending on your background, you could get a certificate in project management, an associate degree or a bachelor's degree in a related field such as business.

4) Accounting and finance: Do you like working with numbers? The fields of accounting and finance will give you the chance to focus your skills on numerical data. You could work with taxes, audits, billing, or in a number of other finance-related functions. While you can do this work with an associate degree, you will likely advance farther and make more money if you obtain a bachelor's degree.

5) Scientist: There are many kinds of sciences-- biology, chemistry, physics, and geology-- to name a few, and each of these sciences requires a logical and problem-solving mind-set. Many scientists have advanced degrees in their area. They work in all kinds of settings from educational programs to high tech research labs.

6) Lawyer: Lawyers also use logical, analytical skills. Instead of numbers, they focus on words-- words which create contracts, wills, trusts and other documents. Court-room lawyers must use analytical abilities to argue cases. To become a lawyer, you need to go to law school after obtaining a bachelor's degree, and you must pass the bar exam.

Do any of these possibilities sound interesting to you? Look into your local community college and review available bachelor's programs. Online schools are also becoming a popular way to obtain a degree. I suggest you spend some time researching options and talking with helpful people such as your high school teachers and guidance counselors.

Good luck in your career and educational planning!

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