Holland Codes

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careers sign.jpgJohn Holland made it his life's work to investigate fit between people’s interests and work environments.  He sought to help people locate work environments in which their interests would flourish and grow.

Holland proposed six interest patterns that describe personal characteristics and potential work environments.  The six are: Realistic, Investigative, Artistic, Social, Enterprising, and Conventional. All six of these are described below. Read the descriptions over. Most people have two or three that best describe their primary interests. This website allows people to search for Careers and online Certificate and Degree Programs based on their Holland Codes. You can find related Careers and Online Programs that correspond to the Holland Interest Codes by clicking on any of the two associated links.

  • By clicking on Careers, you will be linked to career descriptions and information that share a specific interest pattern. Since most careers also share two or three interest patterns, look under Summary and Interest, in the O*NET Online description to read about related interests. Because careers have multiple interest patterns, they may appear in several interest pattern searches.



Realistic people are usually assertive and competitive, and are interested in activities requiring motor coordination, skill and strength. People with a realistic orientation usually prefer to work a problem through by doing something, rather than talking about it, or sitting and thinking about it. They like concrete approaches to problem solving, rather than abstract theory. They tend to be interested in scientific or mechanical rather than cultural and aesthetic areas. They like to work with THINGS.


Investigative people like to think and observe rather than act, to organize and understand information rather than to persuade. They tend to prefer individual rather than people oriented activities. They like to work with DATA.


Artistic people are usually creative, open, inventive, original, perceptive, sensitive, independent and emotional. They do not like structure and rules, like tasks involving people or physical skills, and are more likely to express their emotions than others. They like to think, organize and understand artistic and cultural areas. They like to work with IDEAS and THINGS.


Social people seem to satisfy their needs in teaching or helping situations. They are different than R and I Types because they are drawn more to seek close relationships with other people and are less apt to want to be really intellectual or physical. They like to work with PEOPLE.


Enterprising people are good talkers, and use this skill to lead or persuade others. They also value reputation, power, money and status, and will usually go after it. They like to work with PEOPLE and DATA.


Conventional people like rules and regulations and emphasize self-control. They like structure and order, and dislike unstructured or unclear work and interpersonal situations. They place value on reputation, power, or status. They like to work with DATA.