The 15 Best Jobs For People Who Aren't Good At Communicating

Coal miners in front of mine shaft
Getty ImagesCoal miners: more awkward than you'd think?

By Andy Kiersz

Not everyone is a people person, so we wanted to find the best jobs for people who prefer to avoid frequent communication.

To rank these jobs, we used data from O*NET Online, a U.S. Department of Labor database with information on hundreds of jobs.

O*NET gives scores between zero and 100 to occupations for a range of characteristics, based on surveys of employees in those jobs and input from professional job analysts.

We took O*NET's measures of the importance of four communication skills: communicating with people inside the organization, communicating with people outside the organization, writing, and public speaking, and averaged together the scores for each job. Jobs were ranked better if that average score was lower.

We also factored in the 2013 median annual earnings for each job from the Bureau of Labor Statistics' National Occupational Employment and Wage Estimates. By combining the earnings rank and communication scores, we were able to identify high-paying jobs that don't require a lot of communication.

The 15 Best Jobs For People Who Aren't Good At Communicating
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The 15 Best Jobs For People Who Aren't Good At Communicating

2013 median salary: $53,310

What they do: Drive train locomotives

Why they're on the list: Locomotive engineers have very little need for communicating with people outside their organizations, and basically zero public speaking duties.

> Find a locomotive job

2013 median salary: $54,780

What they do: Install bolts in the roofs of mines for structural support

Why they're on the list: While communicating with coworkers is somewhat important for roof bolters, they have almost no contact with people outside the mine, and a below average amount of writing required in the job.

> Find a mining job

2013 median salary: $92,660

What they do: Develop software applications target to end-users and clients

Why they're on the list: As with many of these jobs, communication with the organization is somewhat important. Much software development is done in teams, and keeping members of the team coordinated is crucial to many projects. However, public speaking is unimportant for app developers, and writing and communicating with people outside the organization is not typically emphasized.

> Find an application developer job

2013 median salary: $65,950

What they do: Inspect and monitor transportation equipment to ensure safety and regulatory compliance

Why they're on the list: O*Net's data indicates that public speaking is less important in this job than in almost any other. The job also received low rankings in external communication and writing. Again, internal communication does have some importance in this job, although less than in other careers.

> Find a vehicle inspector job

2013 median salary: $50,640

What they do: Use machines to load rock, ore, or coal onto conveyors or mine cars

Why they're on the list: Very few of the communications skills we considered are needed in this position. Writing in particular is much less important in this job than in most other occupations.

> Find a mining job

2013 median salary: $118,210

What they do: Diagnose and treat diseases of the foot

Why they're on the list: While writing is a bit more important for podiatrists than for many of the other jobs in this list, communication with people within the organization is less important than in most careers.

> Find a podiatry job

2013 median salary: At least $187,200*

What they do: Diagnose and treat skin diseases

Why they're on the list: While communication skills in general are more important for dermatologists than for most of the other jobs on this list, they are much less important than in other jobs in this pay range.

*The BLS reports median salaries only up to $187,200

> Find a dermatology job

2013 median salary: $53,020

What they do: Drive shuttle cars in mines to move things from the mine face to mine cars or conveyors

Why they're on the list: As with the other mining occupations, there is very little emphasis in this job on writing, public speaking, and communicating with people outside the company.

> Find a mining job

2013 median salary: $78,640

What they do: Install, repair, and maintain elevators in buildings

Why they're on the list: The high median salary and minimal emphasis on public speaking combine to make this job appealing for people who are bad at this communication skill.

> Find an elevator job

2013 median salary: $53,830

What they do: Sort and prepare mail for delivery and transport

Why they're on the list: This job places a very low emphasis on all four of the communications skills we analyzed, including communication with others within the organization.

Find a mail sorter job

2013 median salary: $101,290

What they do: Diagnose and treat conditions and diseases of the eye

Why they're on the list: Like the other medical positions on this list, optometrists aren't required to excel in communications to the same degree as other positions with similarly high salaries.

> Find an optometry job

2013 median salary: $151,090

What they do: Administer anesthetics and monitor patients during and after surgery

Why they're on the list: While internal communication is important, talking to people outside the organization, public speaking, and writing are not as necessary in this job as in other high-paying careers.

> Find a nursing job

2013 median salary: $146,340

What they do: Examine, diagnose, and treat diseases of the gums and teeth

Why they're on the list: Dentists have very high pay with minimal public speaking and writing skills required.

> Find a dentistry job

2013 median salary: $78,520

What they do: Administer and manage computer databases

Why they're on the list: Database administrators, by the nature of their job, are largely focused in-house, making communication with outsiders and public speaking unimportant to their work.

> Find a database administrator job

2013 median salary: $101,410

What they do: Develop back-end software, like operating systems, compilers, and network software

Why they're on the list: Similar to database administrators, public speaking and communication with outsiders is not typically important for these developers.

> Find a software developer job

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