In today’s world, people can make a good living online or offline in every career imaginable using skills and abilities that are learned or taught in a variety of ways.
And some of these skills will generate a higher income than others, leading to the potential for living a more comfortable lifestyle.
These high value skills are becoming increasingly in demand both today and for the years and decades to come. So what are the best skills to learn?
What are High Income Skills?
Every job has a set of talents, abilities or proficiencies that a worker must be able to do to be successful in that position. Job postings often list out the skill expectations for applicants seeking that job to be transparent in what the job will entail.
While employers don’t necessarily label skills as more vital than others, some skills are more sought after by employers and therefore have been labeled high income skills or high paying skills.
This means that workers seeking to improve their income potential should look to these as some of the best skills to learn because they are the skills that make money.
All skills can also be categorized as hard skills or soft skills and most employers or jobs will require a combination of both types of skills.
High income skills are usually tied to hard skills which are the technical or learned abilities that relate to completing specific jobs, job tasks or within a specific career.
Hard skills may be learned on the job, through training that is formal or informal or even in college. But some hard skills that used to require a college degree do not any longer with the multitude of informal training opportunities available online and in person now as well as on-the-job training that some career paths offer.
Hard skills can be things like computer skills or the ability to use a specific program or machine as well as trade skills like plumbing and electrical certifications. Hard skills like technical, computer, analytical, marketing and sales skills are all in-demand, high value skills.
» You might like: Mindful Listening: Be More Present & Have Better Conversations.
Soft skills, on the other hand, are the abilities that help you do any job well since they are the personality traits and characteristics that help you work with others and fit into the job’s culture.
These soft skills are transferable between jobs and are skills that you pick up and hone throughout your life like leadership, working well with a team, public speaking or problem-solving.
People who have a strong collection of soft skills to combine with concrete, learned hard skills are highly valued in the workplace. But what are these high income skills that someone can pursue to increase their income potential in the future?
Soft Skills that Can Increase Income Potential
While soft skills alone are not enough to improve income, having a strong soft skill base will dramatically improve your ability to do different jobs and find upward mobility in many career paths.
- Efficiency can help you accomplish activities and tasks quickly
- Generosity helps you show empathy to others
- Kindness allows you to put others first
- Listening encourages you to pay attention to details before acting or speaking
- Persistence helps you to push through challenges and develops grit
Quick note: If you’re enjoying this guide on the best high income skills, then you’ll probably find my other writing on all things self-development, style and mindset useful. Each week, I share updates, style tips and other things not shared on the blog through my free email newsletter.
To join now, just enter your email address below and click “Get Updates!”
Best High Income Skills Without a Degree
Not every hard skill requires a degree to learn it. In fact, plenty of high value skills can be learned outside of college through trade schools, on-the-job training or online via a simple Google search or YouTube videos.
Here are some of the most profitable skills to learn that you can acquire without a college degree:
Coding bootcamps are one of the most popular ways to learn software coding skills. Many top companies look for these bootcamp certifications when hiring new coders making this one of the most profitable skills to learn that doesn’t require a college degree.
2. Software Engineering
Some big companies like Google and Apple have removed their requirements for having a 4-year degree to work as a software engineer with them but some companies still require it.
With the advent of online training and accessible learning opportunities for anyone with a computer, learning the hard skills to become a software engineer is possible for those who don’t have a college degree but want to earn upwards of $200,000 or more per year with a few years of experience working at a top company.
3. Web Design
For those interested in computing, learning web design skills is a good pathway to pursue. Anyone can pursue web design basics through bootcamp-style courses or even YouTube tutorials with a basic ability in graphics or art design and an ability to learn technology-based concepts.
4. Machine Learning
Within the realm of coding and technology-based skills, machine learning is an advancing field poised to be a high income skill that can be acquired and developed in computer programming positions.
5. Artificial Intelligence (AI)
Like coding, software engineering and machine learning, AI work commands high salaries in the technology field.
Those interested in learning how to work with AI can do so in bootcamp-style courses outside of a four-year college degree, making them beneficial skills for anyone to learn in 2023 that wants to increase their income potential in a career that appears to only be growing in the future.
6. Search Engine Optimization (SEO)
Every website owner is looking for an SEO specialist so learning the tricks of the trade in SEO is a great skill set to focus on that doesn’t require a college degree.
As one of the higher-paying skills, SEO work helps companies gain traction with customers online and pay big bucks for talented professionals in the field.
7. Project Management
Although many four-year universities offer degrees in project management, many big-name companies like Google are moving away from that requirement for their PMs.
Online certifications from in-house programs, like Grow with Google offer certifications for skills taught that prepare you for a job in this field.
8. Web Developer
9. Online Course Creator
If you already have a skill, talent or interest that others want or need, you can create an online course that others will pay to attend.
Becoming an online course creator combines specialized or unique knowledge with the ability to develop a structured plan that others will find interesting or compelling but online teaching platforms like Udemy make instructing the course accessible for anyone.
10. Offline Sales
Many top earners are offline salespeople. Combine good communication with sharp interpersonal, listening and trustworthiness to pursue product or service sales.
Online courses can sharpen your skills to make this a great option for outgoing, confident people looking to use their skills in a new way.
11. Public Speaking
If you have something interesting to talk about, consider honing your public speaking skills to become a public speaker. In-demand speakers regularly command big fees for each event.
» Related: How to Make a Great First Impression (To Be Remembered).
Most Profitable High Income Skills
Some of the hottest job skills are in the social media and tech realms. Snag a free or low-cost course spot to learn one of these skills that make money this year.
12. Amazon Web Services Cloud Certification
(AWS) If you already have some tech skills, use AWS to validate what you do know (and learn where you need to grow) so you can get more work in the right fields.
AWS provides resources to sharpen your knowledge base so you can learn more and prepare for certification tests.
13. Affiliate Marketing
Use animation software to learn and practice this in-demand skill. Animators are used in all kinds of web applications as well as in video programming and these skills can turn your design and web abilities into big paychecks as a freelance animator.
15. Audio Producer
If you like to create sound-based content, use a free tool like Audacity to become comfortable with producing audio tracks that can be used by businesses. Online tutorials and courses can help you learn more about this popular skill.
16. Blockchain Technology
Cryptocurrency and blockchain technology are some of the most profitable skills to learn right now and these sought-after skills can be learned in online tutorials or courses or even through the companies that utilize this technology.
17. Content Marketing
Usually photo or video-based on social media, content marketers work directly with brands to increase sales. Those interested in content marketing may already have a large social media following and use their “influencer” label to drive marketing success.
18. Content Creator
Writing or producing video content for primarily online businesses is called content creation. Content Creators may work directly with a brand or business or work independently as a freelancer.
Its mostly unpaid cousin is known as blogging but to make real money, content creators need to learn the specific avenues towards monetization like affiliate marketing and creating contractual relationships with businesses to create content that directly helps to sell products or services. I started off as a ‘blogger’ and still consider myself a content creator, and yes, it does pay well!
One of the best skills to make money if you can churn out quality content in a compacted timeframe is copywriting.
Focused on product and service sales, copywriters construct catchy, meaningful or targeted words that drive profits for companies large and small. Copywriters may freelance, work through sites like Fiverr or even work directly for a business.
20. Data Analyst
If you love to find patterns and analyze online data, take Coursera’s data analytics certification course through Google to provide the skills you need to be a successful analyst.
Data Analysts can work with any kind of company that has revenue, makes sales or are within the technology field.
21. Digital Marketing
Start monetizing your own website through digital marketing strategies. Learn how to turn site traffic into an income stream by working with ad networks through online tutorials and free courses.
22. Email Marketing
Take your writing abilities, selling skills and website traffic to a new level by integrating email marketing into your customer communications. Successful email marketers build large email lists and link products within their newsletters to market and sell to customers to bring in revenue.
» You might like: How to Develop a Growth Mindset (Everything You Need to Know).
23. Graphic Design
If you have an artistic eye and are interested in transferring your skills to web-based work, attending graphic design courses at a local or online school can give you the skills you need. Get to work right away on freelance sites like Upwork to start bringing in income as a graphic designer.
24. IT Automation
Learn advanced automation systems like Python through free online courses to be able to work as an IT Automation professional earning a healthy salary.
25. IT Support
Take a free Google certification course through Coursera to learn systems like Linux, Domain Name System and Binary Code that will prepare you for an entry-level job in IT Support.
Use your gift of gab to create and run your own podcast program. Listening to other podcasters can help you focus on the right topic for your shows and the audience you want to reach while online tutorials can help you collect the right equipment and provide tips on developing this skill.
27. Social Media Marketing
This type of marketing relies on learning how social media platforms reach customers and how to leverage advertising in those targeted markets.
Social Media Marketers may work with one brand or multiple companies and use social media platforms to interact with customers, encourage sales, create graphics, photo or video advertising as well as provide constant feedback to the brand or business about products, services or customer service needs.
28. User Experience (UX)
Creatives that are tech-bent will enjoy taking Google’s UX Design Professional certification course to learn how to help businesses improve their online user experience when visiting their corporate websites.
29. Video Producer
Taking classes in video production and assisting an established producer can provide a great training ground for those interested in video production.
Cell phone videos are a good starting point to gauge your interest and abilities in this increasingly popular skill set.
30. YouTube Creator
This free platform serves millions of users every day around the world. Practice creating and uploading videos to develop a compelling YouTube channel to drive views and eventually, using YouTube’s built-in tools, connect with advertisers that will bring in revenue on successful channels. Who knew that being a YouTuber could be so lucrative?
31. Day Trader
Being a day trader isn’t easy. There’s a reason why an overwhelming majority of day traders are unprofitable. However, if you have the patience to learn the ropes and get an edge over the rest, then you’ll find yourself in one of the more profitable high income skills.
Here are 4 reasons that day trading is a highly profitable skill to learn.
- Potential for Profits: Day trading involves actively buying and selling financial instruments like stocks, currencies, or commodities within short time frames. If done successfully, day traders can generate significant profits by taking advantage of price movements throughout the day.
- Accessibility and Low Barriers to Entry: Day trading can be pursued by individuals with relatively low capital compared to other investment approaches. Online brokerage platforms have made it easier for anyone to start day trading with smaller amounts of money. Additionally, educational resources and online communities provide valuable information and support to aspiring day traders.
- Technology and Tools: Advances in technology have greatly improved the trading experience. Day traders have access to sophisticated trading platforms, real-time market data, advanced charting tools, and algorithmic trading systems. These tools enable traders to analyze markets, spot trends, and execute trades more efficiently, enhancing their potential for profitability.
- Independence and Flexibility: Day trading offers individuals the opportunity to work independently and have control over their trading decisions. Traders can choose their own hours, work from anywhere with an internet connection, and have the flexibility to manage their own trading strategies. This autonomy appeals to those seeking a high-income skill with a level of personal freedom.
It’s important to note that day trading involves significant risks, including the potential for financial losses. It requires a solid understanding of market dynamics, technical analysis, risk management, and discipline. Successful day traders invest considerable time and effort into honing their skills, staying updated on market trends, and continuously improving their trading strategies. And so, if you want to be the next trading pro, it’ll take a lot of upfront learning and experience but in time, you can pick up this highly valuable skillset.
Check out Benzinga Pro, instead of giving you financial advice, they give you all the news you’ll need to make informed decisions to take control of your own financial future.
And if you want to learn everything there is to know about day trading, options trading, etc., be sure to check out Benzinga Trading School (formerly Options Newsletter).
Readers’ Favorite: How to Be Resilient in the Face of Adversity.
5 Best Trade High Paying Skills
If you are looking for a new field to try, trade skills are in high demand. Most do not require a college degree to learn and many have training courses or schools dedicated to teaching these skills.
In some cases, learning the skill and transitioning to a job using those skills can happen in a matter of months. These high paying skills are based on services that are needed by just about everyone, every business or both, making them a time-tested way to transform a skill into money in your pocket.
Not all of these jobs are six-figure positions but the top workers in each field can command $100,000 or more for their specialized and necessary skills.
Home and commercial construction sites require certified electricians every day and electrical repair work is always in demand.
This high paying skill takes at least a high school diploma but then an apprenticeship is used to learn on the job and may be acquired through trade school courses or directly with a Master Electrician. Specialized electricians may earn $75K or more a year.
33. Home Inspector
Working with an established home inspection company, newly certified inspectors can use their hard and soft skills learned during the training program that is required for those with no experience in the home inspection career area.
Attention to detail, business management, customer service and good communication are all skills that will be developed in this career.
34. HVAC Technician
While a college degree can be helpful in becoming an HVAC tech, becoming an apprenticeship is also a common pathway for those pursuing this field. Top HVAC professionals can earn $70,000 per year and the skills to do this job are always in demand, especially in larger cities.
For those who want to use and increase their knowledge of engines and electrical systems, it may be appealing to learn the necessary skills to become a mechanic.
With apprenticeship and certification pathways to becoming an entry-level mechanic, the skills learned on the job and in training are always in demand in a variety of fields including automotive, motorcycle, “big rig” (hauling trucks), RV and farm equipment mechanics as well as aviation mechanics.
Other skills that make money without a degree are related to the field of plumbing. Similar to other trades, plumbing training begins after high school or obtaining a GED and then follows up with an apprenticeship or trade school classes. Certifications are required and denote experience as well as licensure in your locality.
Ways to Learn New Profitable Skills
Once you home in on the skills that make money that you want to try you can look in these places to learn the techniques, gain the necessary certifications or just get more information about the skill.
Some methods are free while others take some time or a modest financial investment to learn the necessary skills that you need to improve your life and your bottom line.
Mainly focused on technology-based information, bootcamps offer compacted instruction on targeted content and usually provide a certification of completion or mastery at the conclusion of a course or set of courses that are recognized by employers or clients (for freelance work).
Some companies offer on-the-job training with their internship programs.
Seek out someone who already has the skills you want to acquire and work with them to learn directly from an expert.
Many top-tier universities offer courses for free through Massive Online Open Courses, or MOOCs like the ones accessed through Coursera. Sign up for free classes with Harvard, Duke, Yale and other prestigious campuses to learn about everything from coding to kindness.
YouTube is an accessible, free resource to seek video tutorials for just about anything you want to learn about from experts to beginners in every field.
While degrees can be earned in a few years, taking a course at a local community college or local university can pay off when specialized skills or knowledge are learned. Many online courses are free but some also come with an investment to learn sought-after skills.
Find a group that meets in person or virtually to learn or practice a skill. Toastmasters International, for example, has been building public speakers in its organization for decades.
» You might like: What to Wear to a Job Interview (How to Dress in 4 Scenarios).
High Income Skills According to Reddit
Reddit, the popular social media platform, is always a good resource to consult when asking questions like “What are high income skills?” or “What are the high income skills Reddit users suggest?”
Some recent answers on Reddit are:
- Data science and coding
- Sales and marketing
- Software developing
- “Stacked skills” – graphic design + photography or sales + programming
- Video editing
People Also Ask
What are high income skills?
High income skills are competencies, abilities, talents or learned behaviors that companies need or use regularly and give you the opportunity to earn a lot of money.
What are the best high income skills to learn?
Some of the best skills to learn are in the technology field like Coding, Computer Programming, Web Design, Computer Engineering, SEO, UX, Podcasting, Video Editing and IT Support and Automation.
What skills are best for the future?
Skills that fulfill everyday needs like electrical, plumbing, HVAC and mechanical jobs all will be in demand in the future.
But technology-focused skills are likely to be good skills to have in the future as well since more and more of daily life is becoming directed by technology, more business is conducted online and the majority of sales and communication occurs online around the world, and it all is made possible by the work done in technology.
What are top-paying jobs?
Some jobs that promise the highest income potential are in the medical fields (Doctors, Specialists or managerial positions) as well as technical positions like Information Systems Managers, Engineering Managers, Financial Managers and Marketing Managers.
Which freelancing skills are in demand?
Freelance skills that are technology-based are in demand like Graphic Design, Web Design and Copywriting. Other top-paying freelancing skills are Social Media Marketing, Photography and Photo Editing, Blockchain, Accounting, Customer Service, Affiliate Marketing, Tutoring and Branding work.
What jobs make the most money without a degree?
Technology jobs like Coding, Software Engineering, Web Design, Web Developer and Video Editing are high-paying jobs that do not usually require a degree. Trade skills like plumbing, electrical, HVAC and mechanical jobs all pay well and do not require a college degree.
What can I teach myself at home?
Technology bootcamps and online courses make learning most skills at home possible with a strong internet connection and reliable computer access. Many certification-based skills also provide online study courses to prepare students for the certification exams.
Is coding a good skill?
Coding is a sought-after skill that many employers look for in the field of technology. Coders are used in all kinds of program design, development, web design and web development positions.
What skills can I learn online?
Online courses, MOOCs, coding bootcamps and most certification study prep courses are all available online.
And there you have it, I hope that this article was helpful in explaining what exactly high income skills are and why you’ll have a leg up by learning such skills in today’s ever changing landscape.
Remember that it’s important to set yourself up for the next several years and decades to come, and so it’s worth looking into these high paying skills and maybe acquire a few of them.
Before you go, you might like this in-depth guide on things to do with no money.
Which of these high paying skills are you looking to acquire?
Let’s continue the discussion over in the Gentlemen Within Private Facebook Community.
Looking forward to seeing you in there.