High income skills today don't necessarily mean high cost.

Conventional wisdom has long held that getting a college degree is one of the surest ways to land a high-paying job. As a rule, that idea would seem to be self-evident. After all, statistics show that workers with at least some college experience typically earn about $1.9 million during their working years, compared to the median $1.6 million earned by high-school graduates. Those with advanced degrees can earn significantly more. Still, there is strong evidence that the workplace is evolving, and higher education may no longer be enough to guarantee you a large salary.

The changing marketplace has led many companies to rethink their employment needs, with a new emphasis on high-value skills. As a result, many workers are discovering that those skills are just as important as a degree when it comes to maximizing their ability to secure great-paying jobs. In this post, we will explore ten high income skills that could help you take your career to new heights. 

What are high income skills?

You might be wondering what level of compensation would qualify as “high income” in today's workplace. For our purposes, we will define high income as anything over $100,000 per year. In fact, the skills examined in this post can all help you secure jobs that provide six-figure incomes. In addition, it is important to understand that many of these high-income skills can be learned outside of a two or four-year college environment. Some can be self-taught, while others can be acquired at little or no cost.

High income skills change over time as the economy evolves and companies adapt to changing circumstances. Skills that once commanded high salaries can eventually lose some of that value, as new skills become increasingly important. As technology changes, companies are forced to prioritize skills that may not have even existed just a few short decades ago.

College versus high income skills

Some might wonder whether a post like this represents an argument against higher education in a formal university environment. Nothing could be further from the truth! For many workers in today's high-tech economy, a college degree can be an absolute necessity. At the same time, though, it is vital to recognize that some of the most in-demand skills can be learned and developed outside of that formal college setting. Moreover, many college graduates can increase their earning potential by learning new skills that companies need to remain competitive in today's marketplace.

A 2021 report from the Georgetown University Center on Education and the Workforce offered insight into just how important skills can be when it comes to determining income. According to the report's authors, higher levels of education do not always translate into higher salaries. For example, the report notes that about 16 percent of workers with only a high school diploma have higher earnings than the majority of people who have earned bachelor's degrees! 

While your college degree can make a general difference in your lifetime earning potential, it is no guarantee that you will achieve your income goals. Instead, your income is more likely to be determined by the skills that you possess. In fact, companies as diverse as Google, Apple, IBM, and Bank of America dropped their college degree requirements several years ago, opting instead to prioritize candidate skills, vocational training, and hands-on experience during the hiring process.

10 high income skills that are in demand

With all of that in mind, let's dive right into our list of the high-income skills you can use to drive your career forward in 2022. Some of them can help you advance in your current career by landing promotions or taking on new roles. Others can provide lucrative freelancing opportunities that command high compensation. Finally, some can fuel side hustles that may lead you to entrepreneurial opportunities: 

1. Web Design

While web development typically requires complex programming skills, web design involves using website building tools like Squarespace and WordPress to create websites. This skill is in great demand since most companies need outside help to develop their online presence. Just as important, that demand is likely to continue into the future. 

2. Digital Marketing

Digital marketing skills are a rising area of expertise, as the internet continues to play a powerful role in transforming the world's economy. This skill set will enable you to use everything from email marketing and web analytics to blogging, affiliate marketing, and direct online product promotion to market a wide range of products and services to online consumers.  

3. Software Engineering (Coding)

The need for experienced software programmers is so well-established that it has even spawned its own adage, delivered as advice for those who need career direction: learn to code. Computer technology is here to stay, and talented programmers will always be in high demand to create the software that helps those computers work their magic. 

4. Search Engine Optimization (SEO)

Given the sheer volume of websites in existence right now, it can be difficult for companies to ensure that their sites appear high in the search rankings. Search engine optimization is a vital component of any strategy to improve a site's search engine rankings, so people with these SEO skills are in high demand. As a result, SEO professionals can command high compensation for their services. 

5. Blockchain

Blockchain technology is a growing area of interest for many businesses, including some of the world's largest financial institutions. The technology empowers cryptocurrency and similar cutting-edge tech solutions but remains a source of confusion for many companies since it is relatively new. As this emerging technology continues to gain more mainstream acceptance and use, people who have blockchain development skills will continue to be in high demand. 

6. Copywriting

Competent copywriters have never been in greater demand. Most companies now rely on website copy to educate their customers, introduce products and services, and build customer relations and brand loyalty. At the same time, however, few companies maintain their own in-house team of copywriters. Instead, they outsource that responsibility to talented writers, who get paid to create content for web pages, product offerings, and even blog sites. 

7. Project Management 

Project management skills are a key driver of success for companies and their teams. Businesses routinely hire experienced project managers to oversee product and service development, rollout plans, and other vital processes. The professionals who have these organizational and communication skills are well-compensated, and always in high demand. 

8. Video Production

Sites like YouTube have become vital components in many companies' marketing strategies. As a result, video production skills are increasingly prized by companies that want to take advantage of the opportunities online visual platforms can provide. By learning these skills, you can position yourself for freelance production and editing assignments, or even a full-time job with a company that needs those types of services. 

9. Amazon Web Services Development

Amazon Web Services are an important part of Amazon's revenue stream, and that means that AWS-certified developers are in high demand. These developers have specialized skills that companies need and can command annual salaries that average more than $120,000. To learn more about AWS Cloud certification, check out Amazon's website

10. Resume Writing

With the Great Reshuffle well underway, millions of Americans are continuing to move from one job to another. As you might expect, many of them are updating their resumes and cover letters or seeking professional assistance to create new resumes to aid their job search. If you have writing experience and skills, becoming a resume writer can be a lucrative side gig or full-time job. 

How you can learn high income skills companies need

Of course, before you can use any of these skills to advance your career and increase your income, you will need to learn them. Fortunately, these are all skills that can be learned outside of a college environment. Some can be self-taught, including skills like copywriting, search engine optimization, and resume writing. Others can be acquired through courses online, many of which provide the certification employers need to see to confirm your skill set. 

Below are just a few of the resources you can use to acquire various high-income skills: 

  • Google provides project management certification through Coursera.

  • Codecademy can help you develop programming skills. You can also teach yourself using various websites and free videos.

  • Web design skills can be learned at many community colleges, and also at Codecademy and sites like the Bloom Institute of Technology.

  • Coursera provides a variety of blockchain courses.

  • You can learn video production techniques at sites like Udemy and Skillshare.

  • SEO skills can be learned at Udemy, Coursera, Hubspot, and many other online educational sites. 


2022 could be the year that you make that big breakthrough in your career and earning potential, if you are motivated enough to acquire the type of high-income skills companies are prioritizing. With a little effort, determination, and patience, you can develop the skill set you need to remain competitive in an ever-changing economy and labor market!

Not sure where to place your newfound high-income skills on your resume? Engage with one of our Resume Experts to ensure the greatest impact!  

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