25 High Income Skills to Supercharge Your Earning Potential

by John-Paul Cody

Updated

Learning high income skills is the cornerstone of a low financial stress life. Meaning more financial stability for your family, more access to opportunities, and ultimately more freedom.

Today we’ll unpack the 25 most high paying skills to learn, how to master them, and careers they work well with (including estimated salaries).

High Income Art Skills

1. Pitch Deck Design

Pitch decks are like the movie trailers of the investment world.

A weak movie trailer won’t drive ticket purchases, just as a vanilla pitch deck won’t convince investors to write a check. A pitch deck is equal parts educational, persuasive, and inspiring.

It’s a tall order, but when done correctly it helps entrepreneurs and business professionals secure massive financial deals.

A winning pitch deck tells a story, explaining industry pain points, how the idea solves these problems, and projections.

Many presenters make the mistake of thinking the more information jammed into a presentation the more convincing it becomes.

Instead, listeners are sent into a frenzy, unsure what to focus on, what to remember, and what to do next.

Less is more is the age old design principle that rings true across iconic pitch decks. If this isn’t your style, we’ll cover plenty more skills that make money. This is one of the many ways to make money with art skills.

High Paying Careers that Utilize Pitch Deck Design Skills

  • Creative Consultant: $100,230 (Glassdoor average)
  • Brand Strategy Consultant: $98,168 (Glassdoor average)
  • User Experience Researcher: $77,614 (Glassdoor average)

How To Learn Pitch Deck Design Skills:

  • Sharpen your design skills – Font, images, and colors should be cohesive and consistent. For beginners, start with foundational design principles; these are the building blocks on any successful project. Next it comes down to practice and building those design muscles.
  • Master the art of storytelling – Make sure you understand the anatomy of a good story. All good stories have a problem, a rising action, turning point, and resolution. Without a conflict, a story is a series of events floating around in space. Each core element plays a key role, and translates into critical components for a successful pitch deck.
  • Practice copywriting – Copywriting is the art of persuasion with words. Good copywriting appeals to the audience’s pain points and style. Spend some time studying the craft and you’ll have a better chance winning over investors.

2. Photography

Recent studies show that global consumers will take over 1 trillion photos this year. Photography is a powerful medium through which people, brands, and stories are communicated.

Social networks, particularly Instagram, fanned the fire and energized interest around photos.

Take a moment and think about your favorite clothing brand or music artist, and ask yourself, how would their perception change if photos weren’t part of their social image?

Effective photos supercharge the selling process, allowing brands to directly reach and impact consumers. Dominick built a $2,500 per month business using this skill, and now is able to make a living from wildlife photography.

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Great photography skills command top dollar because it’s a multifaceted discipline involving technical understanding, artistic ability, and equipment investment.

High Paying Careers that Utilize Photography Skills

  • Creative Director: $110,023 (Glassdoor average)
  • Camera Operator for Film & Motion Picture: $83,427 (Salary.com average)
  • Senior Photographer: $60,827 (Payscale average)

How To Learn Photography Skills:

  • Understand fundamentals – Start with the basics, there’s no reason to reinvent the wheel. For example, natural light is hailed as the premiere light source in photography due to it’s soft and warm effect. However, we can’t always take photos at sunset, so learning creative light manipulation techniques is massively helpful.
  • Practice, practice, practice – When first learning to drive, would you feel ready to get on the highway if you’d only read books and watched videos on the topic? Of course not! Driving courage comes from practicing. The same concept applies to photography. Don’t expect to see real improvement until you start snapping photos.

3. Animation

It’s easy to forget how much animation influences our world. Animation appears in movies, video games, simulations, modeling, education, and advertising.

In fact, many projects wouldn’t be possible without animation. Avatar for example became the highest grossing film ever, and was heavily driven by CGI. As a whole, the animation industry generated an estimated $255 billion last year alone.

Animators have the ability to create highly engaging media with very few boundaries. However, any animator will tell you the learning curve is steep, which is why animation fees are often steep as well.

Committing to the craft opens the door to exciting opportunities both artistically and financially.

Adobe Animate, Blender, and Cinema 4D are the leading platforms for best in class animation.

High Paying Careers that Utilize Animation Skills

  • Animation Art Director: $93,782 (Glassdoor average)
  • Mathematical Modeler: $91,643 (Payscale average)
  • Senior Animator: $83,556 (Glassdoor average)

How To Learn Animation Skills:

  • Learn the 12 basic principles of animation – These are the fundamental building blocks for any new animator. Master these and you’ll be on a fast track to success.
  • Start small – No need to create a galactic battle scene your first go round. Start with simple scenes, such as leaves falling or a ball bouncing. These exercises build confidence, and will get you properly acquainted with the art form.
  • Immerse yourself in the community – New designers are bound to run into roadblocks. Diving into forums (r/animation) and following top youtube channels offers an outlet to ask questions and learn the latest industry trends.

4. Graphic Design

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Graphic design is the art of creating visual content to express a message. This type of media appears in magazines, flyers, apps, websites, brochures, logos, icons, infographics, ads, and signs.

Digital design requires technical expertise and a keen eye for design. When executed properly, designs can impact how we view the world.

Examples like “Rosie the Riveter” and “Uncle Sams Recruitment” changed morale across the country during war time.

High Paying Careers that Utilize Graphic Design Skills

  • Creative Director: $110,023 (Glassdoor average)
  • Senior UI Designer: $106,706 (Glassdoor average)
  • UX Designer: $85,277 (Glassdoor average)

How To Learn Graphic Design:

  • Get familiar with design principles – Developing design skills are difficult already, why not tap into tried and true techniques used by iconic artists. Design fundamentals are like video game cheat codes for artists, don’t overlook them.
  • Create at least 1 design each day – Consistent creation is the best way to rapidly hone your design skills. This is a commitment to yourself, even on days you don’t feel like to grow even a tiny bit more.
  • Look at great designs every day – Exploring work from other designers keeps beginners constantly inspired and motivated. It’s also a great way to learn about new techniques for artists still figuring out their own style.

5. Videography

Videography is the art and process of creating videos. Recent studies found that videos yield 1200% more shares than text and photo forms of media. In our internet driven world the demand for video creation has skyrocketed.

We’ve all been moved by a powerful film. It creates change in the world, and can drive consumers to action through advertisements. With the advent of social media platforms, many of us have become fond of the fun and creative content on Youtube, Tik Tok, Instagram, and Vimeo.

Video has immense influencing potential, which is why it’s the new marketing currency for many companies and brands.

To craft engaging stories, videographers utilize engaging footage, audio, and often video effects. Effective videos also require technical expertise both with film software and cinematography principles.

For these reasons, videographers earn their keep and make great money with this art form.

High Paying Careers that Utilize Videography Skills

  • Art Director: $70,156 (Glassdoor average)
  • Senior Video Editor: $67,144 (Glassdoor average)
  • Cinematographer: $58,652 (Payscale average)

How To Learn Videography Skills:

  • Get familiar with storytelling – Engagement is one of the truest indicators of good video. If people are sticking around to finish a film, something’s working. But what? It can be a lot of things. However, a guaranteed engagement driver is the “the story”. Humans are hardwired to respond to this format and want to hear the resolution.
  • Create, create, create – Consistent practice is one of the surest ways to develop any skill. Books and Youtube have their place in the learning process, but can’t take you all the way. It takes getting our hands dirty and actually creating to develop a deep understanding of the craft.
  • Seek feedback – The greatest videographers either learned from others or had mentors. There’s no reason to tackle the learning process alone. Sometimes hearing honest feedback can be hard, but it’s through these critiques we grow the most.

6. UX Design

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User experience (UX) designers create digital experiences that resonate with users. Many of their projects include mobile app experiences, website design, marketing landing pages, and digital publications.

It’s a field that pulls in many directions, because UX designers must consider the end user’s wants, business objectives, ease of use, and accessibility needs.

It’s a hard balance to strike, but when done effectively projects experience better user interest, more visibility, and generate more revenue.

UX designers use wireframes to showcase their vision, which is a rough outline of a page using shapes to show the general look and feel. Once approved, they’ll work with developers to bring the concept to life on the internet.

High Paying Careers that Utilize UX Skills

  • Senior UI Designer: $106,706 (Glassdoor average)
  • UX Designer: $85,277 (Glassdoor average)
  • Senior Designer: $73,199 (Glassdoor average)

How To Learn UX Design:

  • Create an “inspiration” folder – Artists are constantly thinking of new projects and ideas throughout the day. If you stumble across a neat icon or shape, take a screenshot and store it in an inspiration folder. When it comes time to design, you’ll have an ever growing well of cool and unique images for inspiration.
  • Don’t be too hard on yourself – While learning UX design, you might find yourself getting overwhelmed at times. During those moments, keep your head up and know it’s all part of the process. “Direction is more important than speed.”
  • Start small – Before getting started, first get a sense of all the moving pieces within UX. Pick one and spend a few days on it, working through experiments and exercises yourself (such as accessibility or responsive design). Then move onto another and follow a similar process. Eventually you’ll be comfortable enough with the sub elements of UX to tackle a real UX project confidently.

High Income Technology Skills

7. SQL and MySQL

We are generating and collecting data at levels unlike ever before. For the collection process to be successful, data must be properly stored in a database.

You might think, “okay, sounds easy enough.” Wrong! A database for businesses, hospitals, and governments often extends millions of rows and stores very sensitive data.

Careless database management can lead to data breaches and lost information.

Everyday these institutions need information pulled from their database, which is where SQL and MySQL come into the picture.

They are database querying languages, allowing people to accurately and efficiently extract data from massive data repositories. This is just one of the many ways to make money with a computer science degree.

High Paying Careers that Utilize SQL and MySQL Skills

  • Data Scientist: $113,309 (Glassdoor average)
  • Data Engineer: $102,864 (Glassdoor average)
  • Database Administrator: $78,779 (Glassdoor average)

How To Learn SQL and MySQL Skills:

  • Commit to an online course – The best way to cut your teeth with SQL and MySQL is a mini crash course. It doesn’t need to be a 30 hour training. Instead, start with a Youtube video or Udemy course that introduces main topics. The Free Code Camp and “Programming with Mosh” courses on Youtube are not only excellent but also free.
  • Understand core database concepts – When learning a new language, if you also study the environment and culture where it’s spoken beginners build a deeper understanding of the language itself. The same is true with technical database languages. If you learn the basics of a database environment and core concepts, you’ll accelerate the learning process.
  • Daily practice – As with any skill, practice creates proficiency. However, SQL isn’t only a skill, it’s considered a language. Would you expect to learn a language by only practicing once a week? Of course not. By exercising your SQL skills daily with tools like Hacker Rank or SQLZoo you’ll pick it up much faster.

8. App Development

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We all know what apps are, but did you know it’s a high income skill?

Today, apps with lifespans of 3-4 years can sell for millions. Yes, these are unicorns, but what about app development for existing businesses like eBay or Home Depot.

A recent Forester study found that one third of US retail sales were done on mobile phones.

It’s a new frontier for companies, and those with exceptional mobile applications are dominating.

You probably remember the silly game Flappy Bird, a small side project by an app developer. But did you know it was raking in $50,000/day from ads?

The point is, app creation unlocks enormous potential for anyone with the skillset, and has become an incredibly popular side job for software engineers.

High Paying Careers that Utilize App Development Skills

  • Applications Architect: $113,757 (Glassdoor average)
  • iOS/Android Developer: $96,106 (Glassdoor average)
  • Software Engineer: $92,046 (Glassdoor average)

How To Learn App Development Skills:

  • Start with a popular language – React Native is currently the new kid on the block. It can be used to develop both iOS and Android apps, unlike Swift for example. The language really shines due to its crossfuntionality between app and web development.
  • Start small – Beginners should start with weather and to do list apps, since they apply fundamentals without being overly complex. Youtube tutorials are great teachers for these projects, but don’t forget to practice without hand holding tutorials as well.
  • Don’t take shortcuts – A huge part of programming culture is looking up questions… *Stack Overflow has entered the chat*. Inevitably you’ll come across things that don’t make sense. Instead of breezing past them, look them up and fill in those gaps. You’ll be amazed how much faster your skills develop.

9. Artificial Intelligence

AI is a subset of computer science focused on developing human-like problem solving capabilities for computers. It’s all the rage in tech, and continues to disrupt new industries.

During its breakout, other AI disciplines came onto the scene as well:

  • Deep Learning – using artificial neural networks to solve problems, mirroring neural network functionality in animals
  • Machine Learning – the study of programming machines to solve problems without human input

AI allows humans to solve problems and predict outcomes unlike ever before. For example, a protein folding AI program recently solved a problem plaguing scientists for 50 years, vastly improving treatment options for protein driven diseases.

It’s an exciting field, changing industry norms around the world with self driving cars to AI driven admission decisions.

High Paying Careers that Utilize Artificial Intelligence Skills

  • AI Engineer: $114,121 (Glassdoor average)
  • Data Scientist: $113,309 (Glassdoor average)
  • Backend Developer: $101,619 (Glassdoor average)

How To Learn Artificial Intelligence:

  • Understand the lay of the land – AI is full of technical processes and cutting edge topics. Get familiar with the core themes before heading into a course, otherwise it’ll feel like drinking from a fire hose. These are some great terms to initially sink your teeth into: k-means clustering, auto encoders, naive bayes, logistic regression, and unsupervised learning.
  • Start with a free course online – Don’t lock into a thousand dollar program without exploring free courses on Youtube first. Anyone who’s done both will tell you the content in a free course and an expensive course are largely the same.
  • Brush up on math and stats – Artificial intelligence primarily utilizes linear algebra and statistics. Since most data doesn’t live in 1 dimensions but often 2 and 3 dimensions, linear algebra is critical. AI projects lean heavily on statistical reasoning to determine significance and confidence behind test results.

10. Web Development

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Web developers create and maintain websites across the internet. Some sites receive millions of visits every day, making reliable site functionality vital.

Take Nike.com, which generates ~$1 billion dollars from its website each year, or roughly $3 million/day.

How would revenue be impacted if the online check out system broke, or pages were hard to use on mobile making customers abandon their cart? Each example would cost the company millions.

Companies can’t deny the value of online business, and so web devs or front end engineers earn handsomely. Core skills for web development are HTML, CSS, javascript, and typically one framework such as React or Angular.

High Paying Careers that Utilize Web Development Skills

  • Solution Architect: $110,663 (Glassdoor average)
  • Senior Front End Engineer: $103,344 (Glassdoor average)
  • Software Engineer: $92,046 (Glassdoor average)

How To Learn Web Development Skills:

  • Start with core competencies – Web development fundamentals will always be HTML, CSS, and Vanilla Javascript. Everyday a shiny new library or framework releases. However, under the hood is always HTML, CSS, and JS. After getting comfortable with these 3, you’ll be able to pick up new web dev tools in a snap.
  • Turn to Google – Googling questions is central to programming as much as the computer itself. It’s impossible to remember everything, so you’ll want to get comfortable independently answering your own questions online. Looking up what you don’t fully understand accelerates the learning process.
  • Practice daily – Web dev skills are like a language, and to have any chance at learning a language it takes daily practice. Excellent resources to keep you motivated with daily practice are Edabit and Javascript 30 by Wes Bos (he also has an awesome podcast called Syntax).

11. Data Science

Data Science is a multidisciplinary field, blending aspects of statistics, programming, and businesses. In recent years, its generated enormous interest and demand due to the data driven world we now live in and high earning potential.

Spotify recently revealed a data science project called “This is” playlists. A data scientist analyzed and organized millions of rows of data so we can understand fun insights like which artist generated the most “dance-able” hits of the year.

Alternatively, it would’ve taken years to manually sift through all the music and analyze how it’s being interacted with.

Data science is also closely aligned with AI and machine learning as these fields require enormous amounts of data processing. Python and R are most often used to accomplish data science projects.

High Paying Careers that Utilize Data Science Skills

  • Data Scientist: $113,309 (Glassdoor average)
  • Data Engineer: $102,864 (Glassdoor average)
  • Analytics Manager: $96,119 (Glassdoor average)

How To Learn Data Science Skills:

  • Niche down – Data science originally broke onto the scene without a concrete definition. Instead numerous fields rolled into the bucket of DS such as data visualization, AI, data engineering, and business intelligence. Rather than tackling the full scope of data science, start with a more manageable sub category. Bouncing around across the entire “data science” field leads to information overload.
  • Learn a querying language – Data is the nuts and bolts of data science. On a daily basis you’ll be retrieving and manipulating data from databases using a querying language like SQL and MySQL. It’s best to get familiar with this language type early in your journey.
  • Explore Kaggle – Kaggle is the most popular online space for data science. It offers free data files, competitions (with prize money), and active forums for data science discussions. The most helpful element however are project walkthroughs, revealing exact workflows actual data scientists use to solve problems.

High Income Soft Skills

12. Creativity

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Creativity fuels original ideas and outside the box thinking. Meaning it applies to all sorts of fields beyond artistic careers. Consider engineering projects where a structure is built near challenging surroundings, like a river.

Some would deem it too challenging or costly to build on, but a creative finds a solution.

Creative approaches are used everyday in medicine for surgical procedures, during loan structuring in finance, and by salespeople for business deals.

Outside the box thinkers aren’t fazed by obstacles. They quickly become top performers in their line of work, resulting in promotions and larger bonuses.

High Paying Careers that Utilize Creativity Skills

  • Creative Director: $110,023 (Glassdoor average)
  • Architect: $72,694 (Glassdoor average)
  • Art Director: $70,156 (Glassdoor average)

How To Develop Creativity Skills:

  • Open your mind – Some of the most creative ideas occur when we look at a situation from a new angle. To do this, loosen the limits you’ve created in your mind. Imagine you’re considering a situation for the very first time. In this mindset there’s no conventional way, because it’s never been solved before (for the purposes of this exercise). You’ll start to notice a new stream of ideas.
  • Consistently learn new things – Much of our thoughts and ideas stem from life experiences. If we avoid variety, focused on the same music, shows, and activities our ideas will be predictable and stale. Instead try new things once in a while. Listen to a new music genre during a workout, or read about something outside your comfort zone.
  • Don’t fear failure – Sadly some of the most creative ideas never see the light of day, because the fear of failure and judgement becomes overpowering. Imagine a world where everyone felt this way. There would be no music, because artists would fear their music wouldn’t sell. Medicine wouldn’t improve, because scientists would fear scrutiny if experiments failed. The scenarios are endless, and luckily they’re only fiction.

13. Problem Solving

Few realize the super power quality of this skill. Individuals with this quality are huge assets for companies, because they find solutions when problems arise and don’t depend on assistance from other workers.

Unplanned things are guaranteed to happen in life. A problem solver rises to the occasion and fixes the issue.

Imagine a situation where resources suddenly run short for engineers working on a building project. A problem solver analyzes the situation and removes an unnecessary project component so it still meets project requirements with the given resources.

While a non-problem solver would start spinning out over this issue and start sounding alarms to managers and stakeholders likely delaying the project.

High Paying Careers that Utilize Problem Solving Skills

  • Judge: $145,003 (Glassdoor average)
  • Software Engineer: $92,046 (Glassdoor average)
  • Statistician: $76,884 (Glassdoor average)

How To Develop Problem Solving Skills:

  • Don’t quit – Don’t be that person who folds like a cheap chair during tough times. A committed attitude will guide you through uncertain times and carry you over the finish line.
  • Sleep on it – A tired brain is like a car without gas, it won’t get you anywhere. Taking a 10 minute walk can sometimes be enough to generate a fresh perspective on a situation. For bigger problems, sleeping on it provides a full mental reset.
  • Consider different angles – Long ago, farmers lived at the mercy of weather. During years of minimal rain, the crops died and that was it. Until someone wondered if we could get rain from rivers and lakes rather than depending on rain from the sky, leading to the first irrigation systems. From then on, years without rain wouldn’t mean starvation.

14. Fast Learner

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A fast learner is always a few moves ahead and rarely blindsided. In life, the tides are always changing, and the successful change course with the new direction and learn its ways rather than waste time fighting the overpowering current.

For example, the marketing world is constantly evolving with new platforms and algorithm changes. Quick learners jump on new opportunities where attention is underpriced producing huge cost savings for companies.

From a team perspective, people set in their ways become dead weight and play catch up most of the time, slowing down team progress. Fast learners are typically viewed as team leaders, whether official or not, and become the go to person for ideas and solutions.

High Paying Careers that Utilize Quick Learning Skills

  • Professor: $100,021 (Glassdoor average)
  • Real Estate Broker: $77,255 (Glassdoor average)
  • Program Director: $76,817 (Glassdoor average)

How To Develop Quick Learning Skills:

  • Write it down – Writing things down commits them to memory significantly better than only listening. It also creates a near perfect record for future reference.
  • Make learning a habit – Make learning part of your everyday life, and try to learn something new at least a few times each week. It could be how coffee beans are harvested, the origin story of Halloween, or how vaccines work. This builds muscle memory, so learning becomes second nature.
  • Let the questions fly – Learning often starts with a question. When introduced to a new topic, most of us have questions, maybe about a use case, confirming we heard something correctly, or why it works that way. Asking questions fills these knowledge gaps and gets us closer to full mastery.

15. Leadership

Effective leadership course corrects problematic situations and reroutes momentum in a positive direction. It will always be an in demand skill, because strong leadership creates a multiplier effect.

Adding more machines and workers to an organization undoubtedly increases output. However, effective leadership increases output and increases morale, boosts efficiency, and focuses energy on the right things – thus the multiplier effect.

If leadership doesn’t come naturally, you might be trying the wrong type. Popular leadership styles include, democratic, coaching, collaborative, and authoritarian.

High Paying Careers that Utilize Leadership Skills

  • Software Engineering Manager: $130,998 (Glassdoor average)
  • Sales Manager: $99,299 (Glassdoor average)
  • Finance Manager: $95,162 (Glassdoor average)

How To Develop Leadership Skills:

  • Select the right style – A strong leader understands their own strengths and weaknesses, and leads with these in mind. Someone who struggles with conflict probably shouldn’t adopt an authoritative leadership style. Instead, leverage techniques in democratic or pacesetting leadership frameworks for a better fit.
  • Talk less, listen more – Leaders who don’t listen dish out generic one-size-fits-all advice. On the other hand, effective leaders craft customized solutions that take situational information into account.
  • Lead by example – Take a moment and think about someone you consider a role model. These people become unofficial leaders we look up to for guidance and wisdom. By simply leading a good life, you’ll start attracting role model status.

16. Discipline

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Discipline is getting the job done when you don’t feel like it. It’s maintaining focus on the objective at hand, regardless of distractions. This skill helps drive projects and goals to the finish line.

Disciplined people often get promoted and earn more responsibility, because they have a proven track record of delivering on promises and hitting deadlines.

The most highly respected people we know possess this skill, otherwise they would’ve failed to break through the countless walls in the way of success.

One of the great examples is Kobe Bryant who exemplified tremendous discipline in basketball. He was known to put up 400 shots in practice, and workout at 5am while in high school. The root cause of his legendary persona comes from discipline.

High Paying Careers that Utilize Discipline Skills

  • Pharmacist: $126,438 (Glassdoor average)
  • Corporate Controller: $113,368 (Glassdoor average)
  • Air Traffic Controller: $75,780 (Glassdoor average)

How To Develop Discipline:

  • Do things you don’t like – Discipline is built every time we do something we don’t like. It’s like a muscle that grows or shrinks depending how much you use it. Small things like getting up early or taking out the trash are perfect opportunities to push through the disinterest and build discipline.
  • Show up everyday – Commitment and discipline go hand in hand with each other. If we are going to build muscle memory around discipline, we have to show up every day.
  • Be mindful of your surroundings – We are the sum total of the 5 closest people in our lives. Our surroundings directly influence our mindset and behavior, so take stock of your environment and make adjustments as needed so you aren’t stacking the deck against yourself.

High Income People Skills

17. Networking

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Networking involves meeting new people and seeing how you can help. Many decisions in life and business come down to relationships. Porter Gale famously said “your network is your net worth.”

People often get it wrong and think networking is ill intentioned. However, when done right, the goal should be seeing how you can help others, not the other way around. Naturally, people will want to return the favor down the road.

Networking can happen through social media, Facebook Groups, virtual and local meetups, and school. When the next opportunity arises, strike up the conversation and don’t overthink it.

High Paying Careers that Utilize Networking Skills

  • Plant Manager: $104,817 (Glassdoor average)
  • Sales Manager: $99,299 (Glassdoor average)
  • Attorney: $97,711 (Glassdoor average)

How To Develop Networking Skills:

  • Leave your comfort zone – One of life’s biggest roadblocks is the warm, cozy place in our minds called Hotel Comfort Zone. Many people never leave, resulting in a life of unrealized potential. To avoid this, push yourself to do something a little scary like reaching out to someone on Linkedin for coffee.
  • Focus on others – A common misunderstanding about networking is that it’s about ourselves rather than other people. This pitfall can be avoided by getting in the habit of asking interesting questions to others and listening more.
  • See how you can help – Asking how you can help others is guaranteed to attract new people into your life. This doesn’t always mean you’ll need to roll up your sleeves on a Saturday, but maybe it means tapping into your network or sharing a recommendation.

18. Communication

Clearly and confidently explaining your viewpoint is the essence of effective communication. We are in situations all day that call on these skills from emails and casual conversations to speaking with clients and coworkers.

Clear communication makes it easier for others to understand your opinion and viewpoint. Without this skillset, delivering updates and explaining ideas become subject to interpretation.

A project manager for example depends on excellent communication skills, otherwise details get muddied, which could mean something is incorrectly developed or the wrong product is delivered.

Strong communication skills also have a charisma effect to them, in which people gravitate to you because you appear intelligent and professional. Poor communication skills is one of the top reasons why people can’t find a job.

High Paying Careers that Utilize Communications Skills

  • Senior Account Manager: $104,274 (Glassdoor average)
  • Product Marketing Manager: $104,101 (Glassdoor average)
  • HR Manager: $77,738 (Glassdoor average)

How to Learn Communication Skills:

  • Practice active listening – Successful communication is just as much about listening as it is speaking. A great way to make people feel heard is to summarize back what you heard them say and ask if you heard it correctly. This forces us to actually listen and comprehend what’s being said, which is half the battle in effective communication.
  • Study experts – When learning a new skill, it’s always helpful to study leaders in the field. Expert communicators demonstrate more than well crafted sentences, they also showcase effective body language and vocal pacing. Ted Talks and interviews are great places to start your research.
  • Get your reps in – Practice breathing techniques at home and spend time writing each day to work on organizing your thoughts. Giving presentations at home and doing mock interviews are great exercises as well.

19. Storytelling

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Storytelling isn’t just for novelists and nursery rhymes. A great story maks otherwise uninteresting details engaging and memorable for listeners. It’s a core tactic in sales to paint a picture and personalize a message.

Effective storytelling became the ultimate power skill in the data science space, making all the fancy math and numbers palatable to the listener. Let’s see if it makes a difference:

  • The slope coefficient of our logistic regression exceeded 18, meaning current population levels aren’t sustainable. Random error was set to 0.05% for the model.
  • 18% population growth greatly exceeds mortality rate and won’t be sustained with current food reserves. This means new agricultural initiatives are critical. With a united front we can multiply our food supply using local rivers for irrigation and nearby farms for fertilizer.

In the first case, we almost fell asleep despite the alarming message about population levels. In the second case, we created more of a narrative with a clear takeaway, making it easier to absorb and care about.

Stories always resonate, because it’s a universal concept we all relate to. Master this skill and the sky’s the limit.

High Paying Careers that Utilize Storytelling Skills

  • Data Scientist: $113,309 (Glassdoor average)
  • Brand Manager: $89,823 (Glassdoor average)
  • Medical Device Sales Representative: $77,372 (Glassdoor average)

How to Learn Storytelling Skills:

  • Know your audience – A generic story might be entertaining, but for a story to hit home it must be relatable. We can learn about an audience by asking them questions, observing their surroundings, and asking the facilitator for information.
  • Cut out unnecessary details – Details should be relevant and directly contribute to the main point in your story. They are like sprinkles, a dash of them on a sunday hits the spot, but an overwhelming amount is a turn off.
  • Listen to good storytellers – If we study experts in the craft, naturally some of their techniques and habits will rub off. The internet has an endless supply of online videos showcasing talented storytellers. Some crowd favorites are The Moth, Disgraceland, Heavyweight and TedTalks.

20. Writing

Writing probably didn’t come to mind as a high income skill, but as we peel back the layers you’ll see it has a lot to offer. Not only is writing all around us, but it’s also a core form of human communication.

We commonly use it for emails, business proposals, blog posts, books, ad copy, medical journals, and manuscripts to name a few examples.

Writers who specialize in a niche such as content strategy earn higher wages. Imagine a scenario where a technical startup raised a few million dollars, and is trying to get traction in the market.

Rapid growth is their main goal, which depends on things like custom website content, PR publications, and marketing campaigns.

For writers with marketing savvy, the startup will pay top dollar for this service. Not to mention, writing is also a great job for people with anxiety.

High Paying Careers that Utilize Writing Skills

  • Senior Copywriter: $80,383 (Glassdoor average)
  • Psychologist: $72,661 (Glassdoor average)
  • Senior Technical Writer: $68,482 (Glassdoor average)

How to Learn Writing Skills:

  • Read often – Reading great literature exposes our minds to what effective writing looks like, making it more familiar and easier to produce ourselves. Reading and writing are a yin and yang relationship.
  • Show don’t tell – The concept is simple. Instead of saying what’s happening, let the reader visualize the scene with supporting details. Here’s a side by side comparison: Ex1. Jim was cold while waiting in line. Ex2. The wind whipped through Jim’s hair as his hands burrowed deeper in his pockets.
  • Write often – No one ever developed a skill without practice. If you’re serious about improving your writing, set a daily goal of 100-500 words and write about what makes you happy. JournalMonkey.com is a great site to generate ideas.

High Income Business Skills

21. Digital Marketing

Digital marketing transformed the industry, and created a new playbook for marketers. It overtook traditional marketing (like billboards and print ads), which is a slower and typically less effective form of marketing.

Today for example, a local car shop can dominate a relatively small market with a 2 platform strategy using Instagram and an SEO optimized website.

Leveraging SEO helps them rank towards the top of Google for popular searches like “car shop near me” and “car shop in [placeholder city]”. On the other hand, Instagram activity makes them appear more approachable and relevant to potential customers.

In the past, the shop would’ve paid for park bench advertising and newspaper ads, hoping the investment would pay off.

With digital advertising, business owners can see the numbers behind their investment and effectively target potential customers. Learn more about what it’s like working in marketing.

High Paying Careers that Utilize Digital Marketing Skills

  • Marketing Analytics Manager: $111,777 (Glassdoor average)
  • Digital Marketing Manager: $73,209 (Glassdoor average)
  • Brands Marketing Manager: $65,834 (Glassdoor average)

How to Learn Digital Marketing Skills:

  • Start with 1 channel – Several marketing channels fall under the umbrella of digital marketing, including: paid marketing, social media marketing, SEO, email marketing, and content marketing. Each type has its own set of strategies, use cases, and best practices. Tackling everything would quickly become overwhelming, and result in only surface level knowledge of these channels.
  • Study practitioners – There’s a lot of digital marketing talkers out there who haven’t built anything successful themselves. This leads to misguided teachings and wasted time. Only study battle tested marketers with successful track records that back up their teachings.
  • Build something – The purest test of effective marketing is… well the market. Think you’ve got a handle on SEO or Facebook Ads? Build a project and activate it. You’ll learn something new whether it sinks or floats. It’s also an excellent accomplishment to include on resumés, because it demonstrates initiative.

22. Project Management

construction-project-indoors

Project management skills keep initiatives on track and organized.

It’s a unique skillset worth its weight in gold to businesses. Consider the impact on a complex project if suddenly no one managed it. Due dates would start slipping, requirements might be missed, and the budget would be off track in no time.

Projects can easily have millions of dollars at stake, and can’t afford a fingers crossed strategy hoping everyone works harmoniously together and stays in communication with each other.

Project managers also act as mediators during project conflicts. They are essentially the glue that holds the all pieces together.

High Paying Careers that Utilize Project Management Skills

  • IT Project Manager: $88,397 (Glassdoor average)
  • Consultant: $77,368 (Glassdoor average)
  • Project Manager: $66,137 (Glassdoor average)

How to Learn Project Management Skills:

  • Practice compartmentalizing – When a project goes sideways, it’s a project manager’s responsibility to hold all the pieces together. Occasionally a stakeholder will get frustrated, and it’s the PM’s job to stay level headed. Brushing up on techniques to stay cool and calm under pressure is critical.
  • Work on articulation – One of the most challenging elements of project management is simplifying difficult concepts and business requirements for non technical team members. Without a clear understanding of the project, a domino effect of miscommunication ensues. To improve this skill, listen to talented speakers and make reading a daily habit.
  • Learn basic PM terminology and principles – As with most skills, project management has its own mini language. Within this language are common terms that describe elements of a project and bigger picture milestone concepts. Spend some time Googling basic PM terms to get familiar with the terminology.

23. Data Analysis

Many high earning disciplines depend on data analysis. In fact, our world creates more data than ever before, but what’s it worth if we aren’t learning from it. In its simplest form, data analysis refers to studying and exploring a data set to uncover some kind of insight.

Insights from data have led to enormous change in our world. Airlines for example, depend on data to determine seat prices on a minute to minute basis. They adjust prices based on demand and departure time to maximize business earnings.

In medical research, data analysis allows researchers to make sense of millions of data points to further scientific understanding. In this way, we accelerate findings from medical studies and experiments.

High Paying Careers that Utilize Data Analysis Skills

  • Data Scientist: $113,309 (Glassdoor average)
  • Senior Business Intelligence: $96,233 (Glassdoor average)
  • Senior Business Analyst: $82,876 (Glassdoor average)

How to Develop Data Analysis Skills:

  • Focus on impact – The analyzer can sometimes get lost in exploratory stages, and forget that sharing insights is their primary goal. Takeaways and trends instill excitement in readers and ultimately drive change. Insights should then be linked to the original question which prompted the study.
  • Learn a data analysis tool – The most basic tool for data analysis is Microsoft Excel. However, as data gets larger, people turn to languages like python and R for analysis. Regardless of the tool or language, proficiency is needed with at least 1 of these to efficiently analyze data.
  • Start with the basics – As exciting as it sounds to dive into fancy charts and techniques, most analysis primarily calls on the basics. This refers to common chart types, data types, and data cleaning techniques. Building a strong foundation will provide the confidence to tackle larger, more complicated projects.

24. Money Management

hundred-dollar-bills

Money management is a classic high income skill. When applied to your personal life, it brings about money in retirement accounts, emergency funds, and most importantly a responsible outlook on debt.

Most people haven’t learned personal money management, much less corporate money management. The 4 buckets of personal finance are retirement investment, budgeting, emergency funds, and debt minimization. We can start reaping the rewards of this skillset long before stepping foot in an office.

If you invested $200/month from 25 years old to 65, you would end up with $1,159,748 (assuming a 10% annual return). This small money management tactic alone is worth a million dollars.

As you know, money management doesn’t stop at the personal level. Investment banking and accounting jobs earn exceedingly well by leveraging these skills. If you want to maximize earnings while developing these skills, many people pursue high paying retail jobs or freelance.

High Paying Careers that Utilize Money Management Skills

  • Certified Financial Planner: $97,078 (Glassdoor average)
  • Investment Banker: $86,643 (Glassdoor average)
  • Finance Analyst: $61,971 (Glassdoor average)

How to Learn Money Management Skills:

  • Pay yourself first – This means allocating money into things like 401ks, debt reduction, and education before it goes to things like groceries, drinks with friends, and rent. If you pay yourself last, it’s almost guaranteed there won’t be enough left to make wise financial moves for your future. Alternatively, if you pay yourself first, you’ll guarantee money flows into these critical investments.
  • Think long term – Thinking long term allows us to tap into compound interest and weather market crashes, because historically markets bounce back. Albert Einstein famously said “compound interest is the 8th wonder of the world.”
  • Study the language of money – Sadly, many people agree to terrible financial agreements with credit card companies and loan brokers, because they don’t understand the fine print. Basic terms like capital gains, amortization, 401k, IRA, and fiduciary are great starting points and crucial to develop money management skills.

25. Entrepreneurship

In recent years, entrepreneurship has become the hot skill. For full fledged entrepreneurs, success depends on problem solving skills, courage, and creativity.

However, it’s possible to have this skill while still working for someone. If entrepreneurship could be bottled, the two biggest ingredients would be opportunity detecting and drive. It’s a vital skill needed to build businesses, and is highly valued among W2 workers.

In the working world, entrepreneurship skills tend to be found in the self starters and go getters. With these tendencies, bonuses and promotions follow quickly due to its standout nature.

In many cases, those with entrepreneur skills create startups or service based businesses (such as lawn care or cleaning businesses) in parallel to their primary job, because it becomes a true passion.

High Paying Careers that Utilize Entrepreneurship Skills

  • Management Consultant: $100,126 (Glassdoor average)
  • Sales Manager: $99,299 (Glassdoor average)
  • Business Consultant: $75,499 (Glassdoor average)

How to Learn Entrepreneurship Skills:

  • Learn to answer your own questions – For creators and founders, the journey starts and ends with them. On that journey, problems will arise and it won’t always have an easy answer. Owning those challenges and resolving issues independently is essential.
  • Stay committed – One thing is guaranteed with entrepreneurship – roadblocks. At an impasse, a committed attitude provides the energy to conquer it. It’s less of a skill to develop and more of a mindset. Actionable tips to build discipline are covered in the soft skills section above.
  • Practice leadership skills – Most entrepreneurs need help and buy in from others eventually. At these times, it’s crucial to exemplify confidence and leadership if you expect others to join your mission. Actionable tips to build leadership skills are covered in the soft skills section above.

Have questions or comments? We would love to hear from you in the comments section below!

About the Author

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John-Paul Cody has been an avid online seller for years, across platforms including eBay, Mercari, Craigslist, and more. He has a Bachelor's Degree in Economics from UNC Chapel Hill, and works in data analytics and marketing.