18 Desirable High Income Skills You Can Learn And Earn More

Having high income skills now and in the future will assist in achieving your financial goals and having satisfaction in your career.  The key is finding what skills will be in high demand and are of interest to you. Who knows where the next hot areas will be?

In the 1967 film “The Graduate,” Benjamin Braddock, played by Dustin Hoffman, graduated from a prestigious college. His parents have thrown him a lavish graduation party.

As he nervously walks around among his parents’ friends, his next-door neighbor, Mr. McGuire, corners Benjamin, wanting to speak to him in private and ask what he wants to do with his future. Here is that excerpt.

Mr. McGuire: “I want one word to you. Just one word.”

Benjamin:       “Yes, sir.”

Mr. McGuire: “Are you listening?”

Benjamin:        “Plastics.”

Today’s “hot” technologies are quite different. They have new terms and use different technologies like blockchain, artificial intelligence, machine learning, and robotics, requiring new skills at promising compensation. The Internet spawns new technologies, becoming more intelligent, and continuing to transform our economy as we swiftly evolve to the following Web generation or Web3. I’m not savvy about this technology, but those who are will have a leg up on the opportunities that will emerge from current trends. They will be integral parts of high-income skills you need to learn.

Many current and future careers will require an aptitude of complementary skills to master jobs that may overlap. Additionally, we discuss trade skills that remain very much in demand today.

What Are High-Income Skills

High income skills mean attaining expertise in an area that will enable you to earn an above-average income. According to the US Census, the median household income was $67,521 in 2020.

Additionally, you need to factor in the standard cost of living of where you are living. A $100,000 income goes much further in El Paso than in New York City or San Francisco. 

College Degree To No Degree

Many high-paying jobs require at least a college degree or more education, followed by exams for professions like becoming a physician, a CPA, an attorney. Other positions may require high income skills that need more than a high school degree and on-the-job training.

Besides having an education, you need to have other personality traits to earn a high income. It helps to have a fire in your belly, the ability to work hard, perseverance, and grit.  

Hard Skills Vs. Soft Skills

Most of all, to earn above-average salaries, you need high income skills. You should have a mix of hard skills and soft skills. Many high-income jobs require related skills that will enhance your value to employers.

In-Demand Hard Skills

Hard or teachable skills are job-specific skills that you can learn with formal academic education, trade schools, or taking courses in desirable career areas where demand is strong and rising. These technical skills are relevant to your field, so you may perform your job relative to your position.

Linked In List of Hard Skills Most In-Demand in 2021:

  1. Software Development
  2. Project Development
  3. Data Analysis
  4. Digital Marketing
  5. Product Management

In-Demand Soft Skills

Soft skills are personality traits that allow you to thrive in the workplace. Some soft skills are universal and desirable for most jobs, while others focus on specific fields like sales, where you should rely on empathy skills.

The list of Linked In Soft Skills Most In-Demand in 2021 are:

  1. Adaptability
  2. Collaboration/ Teamwork
  3. Creativity
  4. Emotional Intelligence (includes self-awareness, empathy, motivation, and self-awareness)
  5. Persuasion

The Ladders List has some of the same traits as Linked In, additionally:

  • Active Listening
  • Communication
  • Innovation
  • Work Ethic

Where To Learn These Skills 

There are many ways to build these high income skills with some digging based on your interests. You can look at free resources by searching online, viewing YouTube videos, visiting Facebook Groups that share your interests, and many offer their courses.

You can learn many of these skills increasingly taught at two-year and four-year universities and graduate schools. There are skill-building courses online through Skillshare, Udemy, and Coursera taught by expert instructors.

Trade schools teach many desirable skills for in-demand jobs.

Many of the high income skills below require certification exams, licensing by the state, and on-the-job training. Mentoring, internships, and apprenticeships are priceless ways to learn the skills and attain proficiencies.

Those with interest can perform some of these jobs remotely, as side hustles, or by learning additional skills. Employees can expand their job title or work as retirees.

Salaries May Vary By Your Standard of Living

We want to make one cautious note about salaries that we may mention in the respective fields. Keep in mind that salaries may differ by the standard of living where you live, meaning that salaries will likely be higher in areas like New York City and San Francisco than in Jackson, Mississippi.

 18 High Income Skills To Learn And Make More Money

1. Copywriting

Copywriting is a specialized form of writing that is creative and persuasive to a person or a group to increase brand awareness and take action. This skill is in high demand for creating engaging content such as advertisements and other marketing content materials. Besides having writing skills with strong attention to detail, copywriters rely on computer and technical skills to communicate in various digital media formats.

You can become a copywriter by having a computer and an Internet connection. You don’t need formal academic qualifications. However, agencies may prefer candidates who have graduated college with some coursework in marketing.

You can pursue skill development courses at Skillshare and Udemy for copywriting. Attaining certification shows your interest in the field and is a plus if you lack formal qualifications. By growing your copywriting skills, you can increase your earnings which average about $52,000 annually, towards the $100,000 level, especially if you can do freelancing.

2. Blockchain Technology

We have heard the term blockchain and its technology associated with transactions of bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies. Blockchain is a digital database containing information that can be simultaneously used and shared in a large decentralized public network Merriam-Webster. As an open, distributed digital ledger that can record financial transactions and anything of worth. A group of 17,000 people bid as a community sharing a goal as part of a DAO (a decentralized autonomous organization) on one of the few remaining copies of the US Constitution benefiting from blockchain technology. However, the group lost to billionaire Ken Griffin’s bid but brought attention to blockchain and what it can do.

Blockchain is making inroads into other industries, extending beyond its cryptocurrencies. As such, demand is growing for developers who are gaining skills in building blockchain networks and applications.

Blockchain technology is more than a buzz term with in-demand solid jobs. According to ZipRecruiter, there are lucrative salaries for those with these skills, with an average salary for a blockchain developer earning $154,550 annually. Other desirable jobs are Blockchain Engineer or Architect, UX Designer, or legal consultant in this field.

Amazon AWS has a variety of boot camps where you can pick up blockchain skills and take an exam for certification, validating your expertise.

3. Artificial Intelligence

Hollywood promoted the darker side of artificial intelligence or AI (2001: A Space Odyssey, WALL-E, or The Matrix), but this area is among the top ten most-in-demand jobs paying at least $95,000 in median annual earnings.

People and companies benefit from artificial intelligence through the making of intelligent machines. Digital computers or computer-controlled robots perform tasks in medical diagnosis, voice recognition, and car navigation systems.

According to Indeed, in-demand jobs are Data Scientist, Software Engineer, Data Engineer, and Machine Learning Engineer. Potential employees would require software programming skills like Python, R, Java, and SQL as a huge plus.

Both AI and machine learning require advanced education, technical skills, and soft skills like communication, collaboration, time management, and work ethic. 

You can find online programs for artificial intelligence at colleges or certificate programs. According to ZipRecruiter, salaries range from $96,000 to $220,000 annually for an AI engineer in the US but can exceed $300,000 in the field.

4. Machine Learning

Machine learning (ML) is a subset of AI’s landscape and the process by which AI learns. By having a background in computer science, machine learning focuses on using data and algorithms to imitate the way that humans learn, gradually improving its accuracy. Computer systems take all of the customer data and use it to adjust to changes.

For example, machine learning is the technology that can identify an object as a digital image providing face, speech, or handwriting recognition. It can label an x-ray as cancerous for a medical diagnosis.

Machine learning is the technology behind automated trading strategies which deploy algorithms to analyze securities using economic variables and correlations. Like AI, machine learning jobs would look to a candidate having some proficiencies and interests in programming skills, mathematics, statistics, and algorithms.

5. Coding

Coding skills remain in high demand for programming and many tech jobs. Computer coding is an important specialized skill many professionals use, including computer programmers, software engineers, software application developers. It is the process of writing and editing computer “codes,”  that is, the instructions all computers use to function.

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, projections for computer and information technology jobs will grow 13% between 2020-2030, faster than the average growth for all occupations. The median annual salary for computer and information jobs was $91,250, well above the $41,950 in May 2020.

Certain coding areas may have higher rates, especially software development, which may require Python, Java, Scala, JavaScript, and C++. Many programmers and those who use coding like data analysts, data scientists, software engineers, database, or systems administrators may learn several languages.

You don’t have to look far to find free coding boot camps to pick up languages, and some will match you with potential jobs.

6. Robotics

Many industries use robots and robotics ranging from healthcare to manufacturing to keep processes moving. Robotics is an interdisciplinary field that sits at the crux of mechanical engineering, electrical engineering, and computer science. It involves the study of human factors to adopt robotic technologies in a wide area of applications, including call centers and warehouses.

Companies like Amazon, Apple, and Google are demanding these skills.

Northeastern University points to 6 robotic hard and soft skills as essential:

  • Math and Science
  • Programming
  • Working on a team
  • Solving complex programs
  • Thinking creatively
  • Active learning

According to Payscale, robotics engineers can earn over $84,000, but careers in robotics can vary depending on your direction, with data scientists ($111,000) and algorithm engineers ($121,000) earning significantly more. You made need graduate school, technical skills, and an arsenal of soft skills.

7. UX Design

UX Design stands for user experience design which is the process design teams use to create products for users to have meaningful and relevant experiences. The UX designer considers acquiring and integrating a product, including the branding, designing, usability, and function. They collect qualitative and quantitative data, analyze findings,  and identify biases.

This process is user-centered, requiring user research and needs, including physical limitations, and will make necessary accommodations. To a great degree, UX designers are complementary to marketers, and both use focus groups.

Marketing tries to make the products desirable to gain customer engagement and satisfaction when they buy the products and to be profitable.  UX designers want to achieve a great user experience by its look, feel, and usability.

This area combines research skills, technical skills, such as wireframing and prototyping, psychology, and soft skills. Among the latter abilities, a person in this career would need project management skills to take a project from the idea to delivery, work with others, and use empathy skills to understand how users think and act in a given situation.

You can take online courses at the Interaction Design Foundation for an annual fee, access 32 courses to become a UX designer from scratch, boot camps, or take online courses at Coursera or Udemy.

According to Payscale, UX designers make an annual salary of $75,346, which increases with experience.

8. Cloud Computing

Cloud computing enables access to software applications, data storage, and other services over the Internet rather than through your computers or physical servers. The move to the cloud has been occurring for several years and has grown faster as remote working continues to rise, especially since the pandemic.

The median annual salary for cloud computing jobs is $107,000, and Northeastern University points to 15 skills needed to perform cloud computing.

Amazon AWS supports cloud computing training through boot camps offered digitally or in classrooms to increase your skills from their experts. You can take a certification exam to validate your cloud expertise. Besides cloud computing, AWS supports other certificate programs, including machine learning and blockchain.

9. Project Management

Project management skills are competencies and traits that a person needs to carry out a project from start to finish effectively. It requires technical methodologies dependent on the specific area of the firm and many soft skills to coordinate a project.

It includes interpersonal, working with teams and senior management, communication, motivation, time management, leadership, conflict management, negotiation, organization, and having relevant technology.

The Project Management Professional Certificate is a highly recognized accomplishment in this field. To obtain this certificate offered in colleges and other organizations, you need to complete a four-year degree, have 36 months of leading projects, spend 35 hours of project management education/training, and take an exam.

Project management can take place but is not limited to finance and budgeting, production,  writing, and strategic planning. Many colleges offer certificate programs in addition to getting a degree. According to Indeed, average base salaries are $73,742 before cash bonuses.

10. SEO

There are 1.7 billion websites globally but likely to surpass that number by the time you read this sentence. It is an area that has high demand that is constantly changing to the growth of the internet.

SEO or search engine optimization refers to the process of improving the quality and quantity of a website’s configuration or optimization, content relevance, and link popularity for on-page (within the firm’s website and off-page (interacting with other websites).

SEO specialists are marketing professionals who use research and analysis to help a website’s technical rankings from search engines like Google. They conduct keyword research, competitive research, use SEO tools like google analytics, use analytical, technical (i.e., SEO algorithms, page speeds, lazy loading), data analytics skills, have programming skills, and content marketing.

SEO specialists work in marketing departments, agencies and consult in improving digital, social media, and email marketing for companies, coordinating with the IT area. According to Indeed, the average annual salaries are $54,255, and you can work as a freelancer on Upwork and Fiverr. On the other hand, SEO Specialists in NYC command $50,000-$190,000.

To become an expert, you can take courses, get Google analytics certification, Google Search Console (GSC), learn from firms like MOZ and SEMRush. Glassdoor points to jobs requiring SEO expertise as SEO engineers, SEO marketers, and consultants.

11. Video and Podcasting Editing

Increasingly, company brands are using video content in their social media advertising. Video editing skills enable you to arrange and modify video shots to create a cohesive structure. A video or film editor requires technical and soft skills to succeed.

You’ll need to be familiar with editing software programs such as Adobe Premiere Pro, Apple Final Cut Pro, and Avid Media Composer from the technical side. You should have strong attention to detail. There are courses to take to familiarize yourself with software programs.

Demand for video editing skills comes from various places, including videos for training, marketing, music, sporting events, courts, documentaries, social stories, television, and film studies. According to BLS, film & video editors and camera operators earn a median of $61,900 annually or $29.76 per hour on average, with a promising job outlook of 29% growth in 2020-2030.

The growth in US podcasting reflects an increasingly popular pastime with an estimated 120 million podcast listeners in 2021, expected to grow to 160 million in 2023. According to ZipRecruiter, podcast editors see annual salaries as high as $120,500, with top earners commanding $106,500.

12. Sales

Sales are a broad category requiring specific skills that vary by business and respective sales strategies. A salesperson must have sales skills and competencies to generate transactions that exchange value between the buyer and the vendor, whether customer-facing or digitally connected.

Specific sales skills include prospecting, cold-calling, nurturing, engaging, negotiating, closing the deal, and having product and brand knowledge.  Salespeople must have excellent interpersonal skills, seek customer satisfaction, and be engaging.

They need to balance sometimes conflicting traits of being competitive and helpful. Soft skills play a prominent role, as in most careers, with active listening, initiating and taking action, have empathy like validating the feelings of others. Excellent verbal communication skills are essential, as are time management, critical thinking, and radiate positivity.

According to Glassdoor, careers in accounting and corporate sales balance a base salary that on average equals 67% of sales professionals’ total pay, with commissions accounting for 32%. The composition of salaries and commissions vary by industry.

Among Glassdoor’s top 20 jobs, a sales engineer’s salary ranges from $68,000 to $185,000, with the highest satisfaction. It requires technical experience with a bachelor’s degree.

Software Sales Rep averages $50,000 to $141,000, and a Realtor can make $27,000-$111,000 by taking courses.

Pharmaceutical sales range from $52,000 to $84,000.

Trade Skills

Trade skills are a large category that remains relevant to the average household with this expertise. Those with trade skills are essential members of our communities.  Trade skills are for high school graduates seeking technical skills to pursue a specific occupation. Trade schools are usually the way to get these skills, and they differ from a four-year university both in cost and job readiness in shorter timeframes from eight weeks to two years.

Besides trade schools, many people get an associate degree from a two-year school or community college that provides these programs.

Many of the jobs below require getting a certificate, licensing, and apprenticeship. Do some research on work you have a strong interest in and if that trade that has strong demand, notably:

13. Electrician

An electrician specializes in the electrical wiring of our homes, buildings, transmission lines, machines, and related equipment. They install, maintain, and repair electrical power, communications, lighting, and control systems. Their job prospects are excellent, and with potential shortages in this field, they can earn six figures.

According to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics and the National Electrical Contractors Association (NECA), America may face a shortage of electricians shortly, as 7,000 electricians join the field while  10,000 retire. They earned a median of $56,900 annually ($27.36 per hour) in 2020, with a 9% growth forecast for 2020-2030. An electrician can work with contractors and must have a license and get experience through an apprenticeship.

14. Plumber

Plumbers install and maintain piping systems that carry liquid and gas in homes, office buildings, and industrial facilities. Construction plumbers work in teams. Without plumbers, we would have trouble cooking, cleaning, bathing, and having health issues if we couldn’t get rid of our waste.

In most states, you need to get certification and a license to practice in this field. Additionally, you need to have an apprenticeship for several years to get your hands dirty. Plumbers earn a median of $56,330 annually, with expected growth of 5% forecast for 2020-2030.

15. Radiation Therapist

Radiation therapists treat cancer and other diseases in patients by administering radiation treatments. Becoming a radiation therapist takes two to four years to get the desired degree and sit for an exam from the American Registry of Radiologic Technologists (ARRT). Most, if not all, states require a license.

The median annual salary of a radiation therapist is $86,850, with a 9% growth forecast for 2020-2030.

16. Wind Turbine Technician

This field provides among the most in-demand green jobs. Wind turbine service technicians install, maintain, and repair wind turbines, generally working outdoors and at great heights. They turn wind energy into electricity. They can get a certificate through a trade school or an Associate’s degree in wind technology and must complete one year of on-the-job training.

These technicians earn a median of $56,230 in annual salary with substantial growth of a 68% forecast 2020-2030.

17. HVACR Technician

The HVACR technician works on heating, air conditioning, refrigeration, installing and fixing systems that control a building’s air quality and temperature, and working with professional contractors. They can get a certificate in about six months or a two-year degree, and they typically will spend some time as an apprentice and attain a license.

HVACR technicians earn $50,590 in median annual salaries with a 5% growth forecast for 2020-2030.

18. IT Technician/ Computer Support Specialists

A computer support specialist needs a wide range of skills depending on the support you provide for households or businesses. You should pursue a two or four-year degree or postsecondary classes and get on-the-job training.

That said, median salaries will vary from $55,510 to $65,450 from BLS, with a 9% growth forecast 2020-2030. On the other hand, Indeed shows listings with higher average salaries of close to $74,000 in the US. The highest-paid IT technicians work for telecommunications companies.

Final Thoughts

 Having high income skills in your field of trust is a winning combination. Each job has its own requirements for education, exams, and licensing. Build a mix of hard skills that gives you technical knowledge and soft skills desirable to the needs of your job or career. There are many ways to expand your skills and become a more valuable employee.













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