Conceptual Thinker Careers

Individuals who have the ability to think abstractly and solve problems creatively may very well be conceptual thinkers. This way of thinking comes in handy for a number of different jobs, especially those in the research and design fields.

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Career Options for Conceptual Thinkers

Conceptual thinking is a type of thinking that is based on abstraction, rather than easily observed and recognized facts. These thinkers are often able to make connections between seemingly unrelated pieces of information. Individuals who are strong in the area of conceptual thinking are usually naturals when it comes to creative problem-solving. These thinkers may be particularly well-suited to a number of different careers, though they could likely apply their conceptual thinking abilities to most any job. We will discuss a few career possibilities for conceptual thinkers below.

Job Title Median Salary (2016)* Job Growth (2014-2024)*
Computer and Information Research Scientist $111,840 11%
Physicist $115,870 8%
Civil Engineer $83,540 8%
Architect $76,930 7%
Industrial Designer $67,790 2%

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

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Career Information for Jobs for Conceptual Thinkers

Computer and Information Research Scientist

As a computer and information research scientist, you would be responsible for creating new and innovative ways to use computing technology. This job requires high levels of analytical, logical, and critical-thinking skills. For individuals who are good conceptual thinkers and enjoy working with computers, they may find that they are able to come up with creative solutions to existing problems as well as conceptualize future computer and software designs. To become one of these professionals, you will need at least a bachelor's degree, though most research scientists typically have a Ph.D.


Physicists are interested in understanding concepts like matter, energy, time, and space. They may work in various subfields, like astrophysics, nuclear physics, or molecular physics. Regardless of the specific field, physicists generally work with scientific theories and conduct experiments, whether to increase our knowledge of the universe or design new types of scientific equipment. Conceptual thinkers could do well as physicists, as they would often be working with concepts and theories that cannot be physically seen but are more abstract. To become a physicist, you will usually need a Ph.D., though some positions may be open to individuals with only a bachelor's degree.

Civil Engineer

Civil engineers are responsible for the design of different types of structures, like airports, dams, and roads. They may also supervise the construction of these structures and work with other professionals to make sure they are safe and built correctly. While this job does involve a lot of hands-on work, the design process can be quite conceptual. Some projects, like building tunnels or bridges in challenging spots, may require a high level of creative problem-solving and the ability to come up with new ideas based on theory, rather than past experience. To become a civil engineer, you will need a bachelor's degree and licensure.


Architects are employed by clients, both individuals and companies, to create the designs for structures like homes and office buildings. Some clients may have a very clear vision in mind, which architects would have to try to visualize and bring to life. Other architects may be working on designs that are entirely unlike any other structure in the world, requiring a very high level of conceptualization. To become an architect, you must complete a professional architecture degree, gain experience through an internship, and pass an exam.

Industrial Designer

As an industrial designer, you would be responsible for designing and figuring out how to build new products, like vehicles, children's toys, and kitchen appliances. These professionals often work with clients who may have an idea for a new product but aren't sure how to make it a reality. Relying on their ability to think conceptually, industrial designers sketch out designs for these products and develop prototypes, a process that requires them to creatively problem solve in order to meet the needs of the client and produce a functioning product. To become an industrial designer, you will generally need a bachelor's degree.

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