Profession Matrix
August 25, 2007 11:33 PM   Subscribe

I want to map out every possible profession / career. How would I start?

From major categories like medicine, arts or technology then drill down to their subsets of phlebology, foley artist and Systems Analyst, for example – and everything in between. How would one define the umbrella areas and begin the task of defining a hierarchy of professions under each?
posted by pmaxwell to Education (11 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
One would start with the tax code. In particular, Schedule C, the Principal Business or Professional Activity Codes Table.
posted by mr_roboto at 12:20 AM on August 26, 2007

You could start out with the Occupational Outlook Handbook from the US Dept of Labor, but it's mainly focused at the top, not the bottom of the pyramid.
posted by meowzilla at 12:30 AM on August 26, 2007

This sounds like a large and difficult task, and it's hard to say how you should start without knowing what you're doing it for. The US Tax Code might be helpful, but it won't include many black market or non-US jobs like rickshaw driver, mercenary, shaman, prostitute, heroin mule, etc. This may or may not be important, depending on your application. It's also not clear what sort of specificity you're after: Phlebotomist and Foley Artist seem more specific than Systems Analyst, and while the last one probably shows up in the tax code, I don't know about the first two.

One thing that comes to mind is distributing the work via Wikipedia. I'm not active there and am not entirely sure it would fly, but maybe you could spearhead a project there to classify pages for existing professions hierarchically, and create new pages for professions that aren't yet represented.
posted by contraption at 12:49 AM on August 26, 2007 [1 favorite]

I'd go with the Labor Department rather than the tax code.
posted by futility closet at 1:19 AM on August 26, 2007

Narrow it down to a country first.
posted by slimepuppy at 2:51 AM on August 26, 2007

Don't reinvent the wheel.
posted by b33j at 4:28 AM on August 26, 2007

I definately agree with contraption. Even if you are limiting yourself to current jobs/professions/careers and completely historic jobs/professions/careers that are no longer practiced I'd venture to guess its too much work for one person to do in anything resembling a reasonable timeframe. And you'd be almost certain to miss something.

Wikify it. Spread the effort among the multitudes on the net. Not only will it go faster and easier, though editing and organizing such a project might classify as a new job all by itself, but you'll be much more complete than you might otherwise be. And even so I'll guess you'll still be missing hundreds of jobs that exist, but are so obscure that most people don't even know they exist.
posted by sotonohito at 5:07 AM on August 26, 2007

I've found that so many students coming out of high school or even once in college are really directionless in terms of a profession or career. Help seems to be generally limited to more "testing", or questions that once analyzed say "you may be good in profession X or Y". Id like to attack it from the other direction. Allow kids to look into careers from the top down or from anywhere within – or by any criteria, i.e. money, respect, etc
My ultimate objective is to create graphical matrix of careers with related fields similar to Once clicked it would deliver details about that specific "job"
I agree with and had thought of creating (or trying to create)an allence with Wikipedia but was looking for help in creating the "template" from which everything can grow.
I am not in the education field or a computer programmer. This is strickly a side-project for me – and appreciate all thoughts and suggestions.
posted by pmaxwell at 10:59 AM on August 26, 2007

The occupational outlook handbook really looks like it has all the information you want, it just isn't searchable in as many ways as you want. (I couldn't find a way to search by income.) Maybe you could contact them and see if they are interested in more versatile searching or displays.
posted by Margalo Epps at 3:47 PM on August 26, 2007

Maybe also check out career books like "What Color is Your Parachute"?
posted by edjusted at 11:57 AM on August 27, 2007

The state of California has a big searchable career database, including their own occupational guides. You might find them more useful than the federal handbook.
posted by mbrubeck at 1:53 PM on August 29, 2007

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