High income skills

The best way to advance your career (and income) is to teach yourself a skill that is in high demand and then find employers or customers who are willing to pay you for it. You could even turn this into the beginning of a new business venture in the future. However, it all begins with selecting the appropriate ability to develop.

 Software engineering

So it’s possible to learn this skill without a formal university degree… usually through online or in-person “coding bootcamps” which typically take around 12 weeks to complete.

Overall, software development is one of the best high income skills to learn because of the high demand for this type of work. More of the world’s businesses and systems are being run on software. More transactions/purchases are happening online each year. And more people are using apps, online tools, and electronic devices in virtually every aspect of their lives.

(They even make doorbells now with integrated cameras that send video to your smartphone when someone’s at your door. This requires software engineers to build!)

And it’s not uncommon for software engineers with a few years of experience to earn $100,000+, and the very best engineers in top companies can earn $200,000 or more.

If you decide to go the freelance software development route, you could charge upwards of $100-150 per hour with certain programming languages and skill sets (some pay more than others).

Digital Marketing

Self-taught in the field of digital marketing, I put my knowledge to use to generate income as a freelancer for a period of one year while simultaneously expanding the reach of this blog, Career Sidekick.

Marketing is a great skill that can earn you a high income, and there are many different sub-areas of marketing that you can specialise in to earn even more money.

(There’s a saying that goes “niches make riches,” and it’s absolutely accurate. At least when it comes to freelancers and consultants, businesses are looking to acquire the services of experts. If they require assistance with email marketing, they are looking for an expert in the field rather than a marketing generalist. Therefore, it is best to specialise as time goes on. Don’t worry about it too much at first; just learn as much as you can, and make a decision when you’re ready.
The following are some specific areas that fall under the umbrella of digital marketing:

  • Online advertising
  • Marketing through social media
  • Content marketing
  • Email marketing


Outside of the world of marketing and advertising, copywriting isn’t a well-known type of work; however, everyone who works in the industry is aware of how important it is to possess this skill. (And the very best copywriters can make millions of dollars, typically through a commission or percentage of sales that is negotiated and agreed upon in advance.)

To be more specific, what do copywriters actually do? The most highly compensated copywriters are known as “direct response copywriters.” They write words with the intention of persuading the reader to carry out a particular activity.

What kind of a move is this? It varies… Spend money on a product. Follow the link provided in the email. Simply select one of the advertisements. Register for the upcoming webinar.

All of these are examples of actions that many online businesses may want you to take, and because of this, those businesses pay a copywriter to write words that will convince more people to take the desired action.

Some copywriters also focus on developing video scripts for businesses that make use of videos in their sales processes. These are painstakingly crafted and take several days or weeks to put together. At the very least, the highest level of this skill requires that every word and line be selected with great care.

Because of this, copywriters can command very high salaries. The best freelance copywriters will typically earn a flat rate in addition to a percentage of sales generated by their work. This type of compensation structure is called a revenue share.

For instance, if a large online business decided to hire a copywriter to create the sales page for their newest product, they might reach an agreement with the copywriter to pay them $10,000 in addition to 2% of any net sales made by the product. That 2% might not seem like a lot, but if the company sells $5,000,000 worth of products, then that project will bring in $100,000 in commission!

Web design

Any company that does business online requires the services of designers to determine the aesthetic of their website pages. Therefore, if you are considering a career in technology or the web business but don’t want to learn how to write code, you might want to look into web design as an alternative.

It is not quite as lucrative as software engineering on average, but the best web designers still earn over $100,000 per year, so I consider it to be a good high-paying skill if you are interested in working in the technology industry.

And it gives people with a background in some kind of art or visual design who want to earn a lot of money with that skill an excellent alternative they can take advantage of.

Project management

When it comes to earning a high income, project managers rely more on their communication and organisational skills than their technical expertise.

They manage the various aspects of the process by which a company creates its products and services and often oversee multiple teams, which results in a high level of responsibility and a commensurately high level of pay.

If a company is developing a new software product, for instance, a project manager may be responsible for supervising the work of software developers, graphic designers, and others.

In contrast to many of the other options on our list of high income skills, some employers will require that you have a bachelor’s degree in order to be considered for this position.

However, there are some employers who won’t.

You can get started in project management by pursuing project management certifications, or you can work your way up within a company by beginning as an individual contributor and learning one aspect of their operations before taking on more responsibility.

Searching for a specific job title (such as “Project Manager”) on LinkedIn is a good way to research how people got into a certain career. After doing so, you can look back at previous jobs they’ve held, as well as their educational background, certifications, and other relevant information.

You are even able to see which “soft skills” they list in their “skills” section on their website.

Therefore, this is an excellent method for backward-engineering a career and finding out what steps are required to get started in it.

Video editing

Video content is being utilised by an increasing number of brands and companies across a variety of platforms, including social media, advertising, and others. Additionally, the number of brands opening and expanding their own channels on YouTube is growing.

As a result, there is a significant demand for qualified video editors, and the educational requirements for some of these positions may not even include a bachelor’s degree.

You can use this skill to earn a high income as a freelance video editor or you can find a full-time video editing role for a single company, both of which can get you to a six-figure salary over the course of your career if you work hard enough at them.

Therefore, if you have any kind of experience or interest in video editing, graphic design, or other fields that are related, then this is a good, high-demand skill to look into learning or further developing. Additionally, because it’s a relatively new field where the demand has risen so quickly, you’re unlikely to be limited by the lack of a bachelor’s degree if you don’t already have one.

If you specialise in a particular field and become excellent at your job, you can make a significant amount of money as a video editor; however, the average salary for this position is highly variable depending on the industry.

You also have the option of working in audio production, which is a great option to consider if you are more interested in audio than video and/or already have specialised skills in this field.

As the consumption of podcasts and other types of audio content increases, businesses will have an increased need for assistance in this area.

Data analysis

According to the Future of Jobs Report [1] published by the World Economic Forum, the most valuable skill will be the ability to think analytically and creatively. Because businesses in all sectors are increasingly dependent on data to make well-informed decisions, there is a growing demand for employees who are able to collect, interpret, and share data that can be used to solve operational issues faced by the companies.

Excel, Google Sheets, SQL, Tableau, R, and Python are just some of the data analysis programmes that are available to those who are skilled in the field.

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