A career aptitude test I took revealed that I prefer working by myself over teamwork. I was studying computer programming, but this test made me reconsider my choice. How can I find computer programming jobs that allows me to work independently, rather than focusing on teamwork?

  • I edited this a bit to make it a better fit for the site without changing your intent too much - if I changed it too much, feel free to edit and clarify.
    – enderland
    Sep 16, 2016 at 19:13
  • The original question was too broad and too localized. However, with the edits, I think this question is on-topic and allows for a canonical answer. It should be considered for re-opening by the community, IMHO, with or without additional edits.
    – CodeGnome
    Sep 22, 2016 at 16:21

6 Answers 6


Filter Jobs for Workstyle Fit

How can I find a computer programming job that is mostly individual work, rather than teamwork?

You do this the same way you look for any other kind of job:

  1. Filter out potential jobs that aren't a good fit for you. You might want to avoid openings that talk about pair programming or team-oriented environments.
  2. Mention your preference for an individual-contributor role during phone screens. Be sure to accentuate the positives whenever possible.
  3. Ask questions about the environment during the interview. You'll probably want to avoid jobs where programmers are colocated, follow an agile methodology, or sit in open work areas.

Some programmers work best on teams, while others work best alone in a quiet office. There's no right or wrong; there's only personal preference and company culture. If you have strong preferences, you just have to weed out the roles that don't suit you, rather than trying to fit yourself into every available job opening.


You say "career choice test revealed me I prefer individual work". Did you need a career choice test to figure this out? You should know for yourself what you prefer. So how do you feel about this yourself? I can tell you that I know 100 times better what I like or dislike than any career choice test.

There are no jobs where you can work solo. Stop, I'm wrong: You could try to get a job as a lighthouse keeper. Is that a job for you? Can't think of any other job where you work solo. My most "solo" software development job was one where I was the sole person working on one part of a product, in a team of five. And that's unusual. There is no job where you won't have to cope with lots of people around you.

Do you find software development interesting? That's the most important thing. If you like it, do it. If you don't like it, don't. And don't listen to some stupid "career choice test".


Career choice test revealed me I prefer individual work.

My career choice test revealed I would prefer to be a tailor for women's clothing. Not kidding. But I still got into software development.

Sometimes, a test is just an educated guess. And maybe just plain wrong.

Don't drop out just because a test told you something. Continue studying. See if you like it and don't listen to tests. There are team and individual spots in most companies. You just need to find the right one for you.

  • My career choice test revealed I would prefer to be a tailor for women's clothing. My hobby is dressmaking, making clothes for my daughters and I, we should talk! ;) Seriously though, I am a software developer professionally. Just because I enjoy one thing, doesn't mean that it should, and that I even want it to become my career choice. Follow your own instincts as to where your career should lead you.
    – Jane S
    Sep 16, 2016 at 21:00
  • My career choice would be to become a rich and famous concert piano player. I'd love to do that. There's the problem that I'm rubbish at playing the piano, There's the other problem that even if you are top class, it's hard to become rich and famous.
    – gnasher729
    Sep 17, 2016 at 7:04

Pick a specific set of related tools in high demand, and work as a consultant. Granted, you'll end up in teams but you can stay in the situation for as little or as long as you like. You can freelance and do all your own marketing, or you can work through consulting firms (also known as "body shops"). This arrangement will give you far more power to pick what you're doing and with whom.

There are caveats though. The grass isn't always greener on the other side!

  • I like this answer, another option is to make your own product from scratch, and then base your career around the product. Risky though.
    – Kilisi
    Sep 17, 2016 at 1:04

To quote from Jeff Sutherland's Scrum book:

Teams are what get things done in the world of work.

(Though, he does say that there are individuals (i.e artists, etc) that work and accomplish great things solo.)

What Jeff was getting at is that a lot of "the work" in the business world often involves solving complex problems, often too big for any one individual to tackle efficiently by him or her self. Thus a lot of jobs require teamwork.

Sure there are lot of places or positions where you are basically a "one-man-team," or you can set up a one-man-company freelancer gig, but it's very rare that you will be working in a complete vacuum from others. Since after all, what use/value is an awesome program/app that only you will use/see and doesn't interact with anything else? Or takes one sole person way longer to finish...? Even one-man-teams have to deal with QA, customers/users, etc...

However, you can try to find/filter jobs where perhaps you are the sole person responsible for some deliverable. Smaller companies, who often don't have the budget to hire enough developers to solve a particular problem, will often hire just one guy to "deal with it."

Just beware that in my personal experience...(so YMMV) these types of jobs are high-stress (you're responsible for everything, and have little support), lower-pay (there's a reason they can only afford one developer) and life-consuming (aka all-nighters, constant overtime, and horrible bosses).

My advice to you when looking for jobs like these is to scrutinize very carefully the position and company, and find a place that has an environment that suits you, where even though you're working "solo" you have some support, be it other developers or your manager(s).


There are some pros/cons to working with a team vs working as a individual. No matter what you work for a customer/employer and that customer/employer will ask you of things. In a team/corporate setting, you may get some added protection such that you can concentrate on work, and the others can bring those requirements down to you without you worrying about talking to the business to figure out their requirement.

Working as a lone work, or being the sole developer will expose you to everything. So you may end up trying to figure out what people expect from you and hoping you deliver said product.

No matter what, it will look bad on your part to ask not to be in a team.

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