Jim came for aptitude testing when he was 30 years old. He was ready to make a major career shift, but needed some clear direction. He had not earned enough college credits to complete a college degree, but that had been unimportant since he was working in the family business. Although the family business offered job security, he didn’t feel it was a good fit for him. Although he knew he was musically gifted, a career in a music field didn’t particularly appeal to him either.
It turns out that Jim is a strong Generalist with the basic legal profile (high scores in both problem solving aptitudes -- Concept Organization and Classification Ability). His visual talents are in the high range (Observation and Design Memory) and, as he knew, he has strong music aptitudes.
We recommended that he look at a job in forensics. This field offers a wide variety of opportunities for both Generalists and Specialists. Most jobs in the field utilize the classic “detective/investigative” pattern, which is the combination of Classification Ability and Observation. Some are more science-oriented while others are more information- or people- oriented.
We suggested that he first get his undergraduate degree the quickest and easiest way possible, and then plan to pursue a master’s in forensic science. He took our advice. He found Excelsior College, a college that prides itself on providing innovative ways for adults to finish college. Jim enrolled in a distance learning program. Excelsior College looked at the credits he had already earned and then customized a degree completion program for him.
After getting his B.S. in Liberal Arts with a concentration in music, he looked for master’s programs in forensic science. He ended up attending the University of New Haven in Sacramento. Initially, he thought he would do firearms investigation, but discovered computer forensics during his coursework. He had always been a computer hobbyist so he also got a professional certification in forensic computer investigation to accompany his Master’s in Forensic Science with a concentration in advanced investigation. He was more interested in the investigative aspects than doing lab analysis work.
He is now working for a law firm doing computer forensics for civil cases. On any given day, he might be called upon to do a wide variety of tasks, including e-discovery or web site preservation or data recovery off of malfunctioning hard drives.
His job offers him the variety that the Generalist needs and the problem solving challenges that the high Classification Ability needs. He is working in an environment of lawyers who respect his ability to locate information on computers. Although it took several years for Jim to get the education he needed, he is now working out of his strengths in a field he enjoys.