How to find career paths based on cognitive strengths?

Hi everyone! Generally put, I’m trying to figure out how to put my cognitive skills to use and looking for advice on how to figure out what work to be doing.

I’m a few years out of school and in my studying ended up identifying certain things I’m good at doing and enjoy (developing strategy on a team, analysis, design of simple systems, mathematical modelling, and more), but I haven’t found any jobs or careers/paths that I feel effectively draw on my strengths that sound compelling to me. I would take a test to get advice on what careers might be interesting to me, but I’m looking for resources that can suggest a broad array of creative options and emphasize cognitive strengths rather than general interests.

Let me know if you have any suggestions!


Hi Michael, Welcome to the Unschooling Forum!

That’s a great question and it’s super important for personal growth and development to find your cognitive strengths.

One of the reasons people often have so much trouble after leaving school and jumping into the real world is they have a narrow worldview and very limited experience actually working on things their passionate about which can truly make life difficult. This is why so many people that graduate with a certain major never actually end up using their degree because they choose to pursue their passion.

It’s important to rekindle the individuality and creativity that makes you uniquely you. Oftentimes school does not equal success so you may have to distance yourself from your schooling bringing you any type of success in life and instead focus on finding your purpose in life:

Based on the skills you mentioned, it seems like you could be a software engineer and/or developer, but again, I don’t want to box you in because your potential is truly limited only by your mind which is why I would highly recommend the book Think & Grow Rich.

I am not fond of tests, but the following personality test I have found very useful in my life so this may help you and I would love to hear what you discover about yourself:

I would also recommend pursuing an apprenticeship that will help you gain more experience. In which case, I think Praxis would be a great opportunity. Founded by Isaac Morehouse, who was unschooled, and has a lot of great info on his site and videos. He also founded Crash which is another great opportunity.

Realize that everyday you are living the life you choose, our lives are not journeys to nowhere, do what you love and pursue your passions.

“It’s not our life that determines how we live, it’s how we LIVE that determines our life.” ~ Sallie Felton

Thank you so much for taking the time to write that response–it really was very helpful. You’re right–I may have to just cut my losses with my degree and forget it ever happened. Of course I learned things from it, skills and lessons that I can use going forward, but a lot of it may not be transferable to my next thing. I’d already taken the test on 16 Personalities, but I revisited it since you mentioned it and some new things jumped out to me about my results that were useful. Praxis looks very interesting but I haven’t looked at it in detail. And Crash’s job placement quiz was very illuminating, because the two top careers it suggested are the two I have just been starting to think about and never thought about before! Good to get more evidence that they may in fact be good fits.