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+20 High-Income Skills to Learn in 2024

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High-income skills can give your career a serious boost. High-paying skills are in demand and attract lucrative pay from employers and clients. Developing these talents and knowledge dramatically increases your earning potential and improves your financial situation.

We will explore high-income skills and list some of the best skills to learn. So, let’s get started and set you on the path to getting the salary you deserve.

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Sample resume made with our builder—See more resume examples here.

Take a look at these guides to see more examples of skills you need for a high income and other ways of improving your resume and your paycheck:

High-Income Skills Resume Example

Camie M. Smith

AI Engineer

517-238-9339

camiemsmith@email.com

linkedin.com/in/camie.m.smith

Summary

Innovative AI engineer with 7 years of professional experience developing and deploying machine learning solutions. Proficient in designing and implementing AI algorithms, neural networks, and deep learning models. Skilled in natural language processing, computer vision, and reinforcement learning. Committed to leveraging AI technology to solve complex problems and drive business value. Eager to apply expertise in AI development and passion for innovation to contribute to cutting-edge projects at Sky AI.

Experience

AI Engineer

Matrix AI, San Francisco, CA

January 2021–March 2024

Key Qualifications & Responsibilities

  • Design and develop machine learning algorithms and models for various applications, including recommendation systems, predictive analytics, and autonomous systems.
  • Collaborate with cross-functional teams to gather requirements, analyze data, and deploy AI solutions in production environments.
  • Conduct research and experimentation to improve model performance and accuracy.
  • Implement scalable and efficient data pipelines for collecting, preprocessing, and analyzing large datasets.
  • Stay abreast of latest AI technologies and best practices, and contribute to the company's knowledge base.

Key Achievement:

  • Led the development of a deep learning-based image recognition system, resulting in a 25% improvement in accuracy over existing methods.

Senior AI Developer

Algo Mind, Austin, TX

May 2017–December 2020

Key Qualifications & Responsibilities

  • Developed and implemented machine learning algorithms for text classification, sentiment analysis, and language translation.
  • Designed and trained neural networks for computer vision tasks such as object detection and image segmentation.
  • Worked closely with software engineers to integrate AI capabilities into existing products and applications.
  • Mentored junior team members and provided technical guidance on AI projects.
  • Presented research findings and project updates to internal and external stakeholders.

Key Achievement:

  • Successfully deployed a reinforcement learning-based recommendation system, resulting in a 30% increase in user engagement.

Education

Master of Science in Artificial Intelligence

The University of Texas at Austin, Austin, TX

September 2015–May 2017

Skills

  • Machine Learning
  • Deep Learning
  • Natural Language Processing
  • Computer Vision
  • Reinforcement Learning
  • Data Engineering
  • Python, TensorFlow, PyTorch
  • Problem-Solving Skills

Memberships

  • Member of the Association for Computing Machinery (ACM) since 2015
  • Presented at the ACM Conference on Artificial Intelligence in 2018

Languages

  • English—Fluent
  • Spanish—Intermediate

Interests

  • Contributing to open-source AI projects
  • Attending AI conferences and workshops

What Are High-Income Skills?

High-income skills are the professional abilities and knowledge that could earn you a six-figure annual salary. The definition of high income varies from location to location due to differences in living expenses, but a six-figure annual paycheck is a good benchmark for defining high-value skills. 

And if you want to break down the definition of high income further, according to Statista, 35% of Americans are in households with an income of $100,000 and more. 

Here are the high-income skills to learn if you want to join the top threshold of earners.

List of High-Income Skills to Learn: 18+ Examples

I’ve created this list based on data and projections from the World Economic Forum, OECD, U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, PwC, Glassdoor, and Coursea.

This list of high-income skills is presented in no particular order. You’ll notice, though, that there’s a strong focus on IT and computer skills, reflecting the ever-increasing influence of tech-based abilities on the world of work.

Each skill you’ll see is also in high demand and will remain so for the foreseeable future. So let’s start and see what you should learn to earn.

1. Software Development

Software is the programs and other operating information used by a computer or electronic device. And with so many aspects of life being computerized, there’s a strong demand for people who can create the code that runs it all. 

What’s more, if you want to learn high-income skills without a degree, you should definitely consider coding. Online coding bootcamps from EdX and Udemy can get you up to speed in months rather than years.

And what’s the payoff? The median salary for a software developer is $127,260 per annum, with top-ranking professionals earning upwards of twice that. A very lucrative skill indeed. 

Once you’ve learned this high-income skill, learn how to write your resume here: Software Engineer Template (+Developer Examples).

2. Cybersecurity

Companies and organizations need to protect their digital information and infrastructure. Cybersecurity is in high demand but short supply, so well worth pursuing as a high-income skill.

Once you’ve learned this high-income skill, learn how to write your resume here: Cyber Security Resume Example [Also for Entry-Level Analysts].

3. Artificial Intelligence

AI is set to transform the world of work. More and more businesses are incorporating AI into their processes, and demand for AI experts will remain strong. According to Glassdoor, an artificial intelligence engineer's average salary is $127,308 per year. As stated in the Future of Jobs Report by the World Economic Forum, “demand for AI and machine learning specialists is expected to grow by 40% or 1 million jobs, as the usage of AI and machine learning drives continued industry transformation.”

4. Machine Learning

As mentioned in the paragraph above, machine learning specialists are and will be in high demand among employers. The average salary of a machine learning engineer is $125,543 per year.

Once you’ve learned this high-income skill, learn how to write your resume here: Machine Learning Resume: Examples & Writing Guide.

5. UX Design

UX designers ensure products, services, and devices offer a seamless and pleasant user experience. They focus on the end user's experience, and their work is critical to a product or device’s commercial success.

UX design incorporates aspects of psychology and design, bound together with commercial awareness and market research. Good UX designers are easily earning in excess of $100k per annum, and there’s a great choice of training available online.

Once you’ve learned this high-income skill, learn how to write your resume here: User Experience (UX) Designer Resume Sample.

6. SEO

SEO, or search engine optimization, is another incredibly valuable technical skill. So, what is SEO exactly? Search engine optimization is the practice of ensuring a company’s website appears as high up as possible in search engine results, usually Google. The higher up in the search results a web page is, the more visitors it gets, which translates into more business.

As you can imagine, every business with an online presence wants a piece of the action, so professionals with SEO skills are in high demand.

Once you’ve learned this high-income skill, learn how to write your resume here: SEO Specialist Resume Sample & Guide.

7. Video Production

Video content is king. Just witness the explosive growth of YouTube and TikTok. It’s more engaging, richer in information, and compelling than plain written content. Businesses increasingly seek skilled video production professionals to strengthen their marketing output. 

As with the other skills we’ve discussed, plenty of options for learning about video production and editing are available. An investment in the right knowledge and good equipment will pay off nicely.

Once you’ve learned this high-income skill, learn how to write your resume here: Video Editor Resume Example: Template & Guide.

8. Copywriting

Copywriting is a specialized form of writing skill focusing on creating promotional and marketing materials with the intention of selling a product or service. It’s a high-income skill that is valued in pretty much every industry and is particularly well-suited for freelance work.

The best copywriters can earn significant sums by negotiating to be paid a percentage of the sales their copy generates, so it can be very profitable if you’re successful. 

Once you’ve learned this high-income skill, learn how to write your resume here: Copywriter Resume Example & Guide (20+ Tips).

9. Entrepreneurship

Perhaps you’d prefer to strike it out on your own rather than put your skills to use for someone else? In that case, you’ll need to develop entrepreneurial skills. They’re tough to define because they cover everything from interpersonal skills to leadership and management skills, marketing skills, and more. 

Entrepreneurship combines creativity, innovation, and taking risks. It’s about turning ideas into reality and building new business opportunities. And plenty of resources are available for the entrepreneurial-minded person to hone their abilities. Look for training in business management and entrepreneurial advice from other successful innovators.

Once you’ve learned this high-income skill, learn how to write your resume here: Entrepreneur Resume Sample & Guide.

10. Digital Marketing

Digital marketing refers to advertising delivered through digital channels such as search engines, apps, social media, and email. Even if you’re not a marketing professional, you’ll know these channels are the most important way to market products and services. And traditional media-based marketing continues to fall out of favor.

Digital marketing is, therefore, a smart choice to develop as a high-income skill. It also has plenty of niche areas to specialize in, such as content marketing, social media marketing, and online advertising. 

Once you’ve learned this high-income skill, learn how to write your resume here: Digital Marketing Resume Examples: Guide & Best Template.

11. Audio Engineering

We’ve already discussed video production, but audio production is also in high demand. The podcast business is booming, and the big players in the corporate world want in on the action. Then there are the traditional sectors for audio engineers, such as radio and the music business. You might think radio is a dying form of media, but it’s not. In fact, radio reaches 91% of U.S. adults each month. So demand for audio engineering professionals in the radio business is set to stay strong.

Once you’ve learned this high-income skill, learn how to write your resume here: Audio Engineer Resume Example: + Live Sound Production.

12. Mobile App Development

This high-income skill is closely related to software development, which we’ve already mentioned. But it’s definitely worth mentioning as a separate skill to learn, and here’s why. 

Mobile market share for internet consumption worldwide has surpassed traditional desktop computers. In November 2023, mobile’s market share stood at about 53.66% and was upward.

Factor in the increasing use of mobile devices for online shopping, banking, lifestyle apps and more, and there’s an almost endless list of opportunities for mobile app development. Developing your skills in this particular field opens up plenty of opportunities.

Once you’ve learned this high-income skill, learn how to write your resume here: Android Developer Resume: Example & Guide.

13. Business Analysis

Business analysis is another high-demand, high-growth skill that’ll help you boost your earning potential. Business analysts help companies improve their products, services, and processes through data analysis. And it’s a skill that’s in demand in every industry.

The median wage is a bit over $100,000, and projected job growth is much faster than average. So, all in all, an excellent choice if you want a better payday.

Once you’ve learned this high-income skill, learn how to write your resume here: Business Analyst Resume Samples +Summary Examples.

When making a resume in our builder, drag & drop bullet points, skills, and auto-fill the boring stuff. Spell check? Check. Start building a professional resume template here for free.

When you’re done, Zety’s resume builder will score your resume and our resume checker will tell you exactly how to make it better.

14. Program Management

Project management skills are another universally valued ability that will help you earn a high income. In short, they’re the abilities that enable you to complete work on time, within budget, and with efficient use of resources. Specializing in project management offers good earning potential and excellent growth in employment prospects.

Once you’ve learned this high-income skill, learn how to write your resume here: Best Project Manager Resume Examples

15. Cloud Computing

It’s simply the delivery of computing services over the internet. In 2020, it generated more than $200 billion annually for the US economy, a figure that’s set to keep growing. The industry has not been affected by the pandemic, and cloud-delivered software is projected to be 61% of the software market by 2026. Interestingly, it’s also cloud engineers who statistically have the highest earnings potential, with an average (annualized) salary of $161,202.

Once you’ve learned this high-income skill, learn how to write your resume here: Cloud Engineer Resume: Samples & Writing Guide

16. Blockchain

It isn’t just Bitcoin. Blockchain is set to transform online payments, file storage, identity management, secure voting, smart contracts, and more. Demand is high, and job growth is faster than average in the blockchain engineering industry, too, so there are plenty of opportunities to earn well. 

In fact, the profession of a blockchain developer is among the top jobs with the highest projected job creation rate, according to the aforementioned report by the World Economic Forum.

Once you’ve learned this high-income skill, learn how to write your resume here: 25+ Information Technology (IT) Resume Examples

17. Internet of Things (IoT)

IoT refers to devices that use technologies that connect with other objects and systems using the internet. For example, a fridge that can automatically order groceries when you start to run low. 

By 2030, the IoT market is projected to reach $5.5 trillion to $12.6 trillion in value globally., it’s clear that IoT offers a bright future for skilled professionals. The average salary of an IoT engineer is $115,699 per year.

18. Programming

Knowing how to code underpins almost every facet of IT. Develop a good working knowledge of the most in-demand programming languages, and you’ll definitely be able to increase your earnings. Software programmers take home an average salary of $122,687 per year.

Once you’ve learned this high-income skill, learn how to write your resume here: Programmer Resume Examples & Writing Guide.

19. Soft Skills

All of the high-income skills we’ve mentioned so far are hard skills, specific technical abilities that enable you to carry out your job. But you shouldn’t neglect soft skills, the attributes that define how you work with others, such as interpersonal skills. Developing these abilities can help you earn a high income, too. Here are a few examples:

  • Leadership and management skills: To advance in your career and increase your income, you’ll need to lead and manage others effectively.
  • Problem-solving skills: Coming up with innovative solutions to business problems and preventing problems from happening in the first place are highly valued abilities.
  • Adaptability: If you can adapt to the changing nature of work and develop your abilities to meet growing demands, you’ll keep your earning potential on track.
  • Transferable skills: Developing skills that are portable across different jobs and industries will give you the flexibility to pursue new and more lucrative opportunities. Transferable skills are a must-have to earn well.
  • Collaboration skills: To earn well, you’ll need to work well with others. Good collaboration skills mean better performance overall at work, which will also translate into your pay packet.
  • Analytical skills: According to a report by the World Economic Forum, “analytical thinking is considered a core skill by more companies than any other skill and constitutes, on average, 9% of the core skills reported by companies.”

Once you’ve developed your management skills, learn how to write your resume here: 40 Management Resume Examples.

How to Learn High-Income Skills

So now, what high-income skills to pursue, and how do you develop them? The good news is that we live in a golden age for acquiring knowledge and career-switching. What’s more, you don’t need a college degree to master many highly profitable skills. LinkedIn’s CEO pointed out that skills matter more in hiring than degrees.

Plus, various reports support the adoption of a lifelong learner mindset. OECD claims, "To remain competitive, workers will need to acquire new skills continually, which requires flexibility, a positive attitude towards lifelong learning and curiosity.” According to a survey by PwC, 74% of people are “ready to learn new skills or completely retrain in order to remain employable in the future.”

Here are a few ideas on how to learn high-paying skills to help get you started.

1. Make Use of Free Resources

From YouTube to blogs to dedicated “how to” communities, there’s a huge wealth of free knowledge out there. Use it to gain a foothold in your chosen area of high-income knowledge.

2. Invest in Paid Courses

Once you’ve exhausted your free options, you may want to take it to the next level. Take a look at online training providers like Udemy, Coursera, and EdX. Many online courses offer certificates, and 86% of U.S. employers think a certificate improves your job application. Don’t forget traditional educational institutions, either. Universities and adult learning providers offer an ever-increasing range of training courses, many of which are available to complete online.

3. Get a Mentor

Making the right contacts is incredibly important for overall career success. And when you’re pursuing new high-income skills, having a mentor who’s been there and done it will give you invaluable guidance.

4. Put Your New Skills to Use

Once you’ve done the learning, you’ll need to put your high-income skills to practical use. And that’s not just finding full-time work or becoming an entrepreneur in your chosen field. Freelancing will enable you to start putting your new-found knowledge into practice. Take a look at freelancing platforms like Fiverr and Upwork to get started.

Here’s how to list freelance work on your resume: Freelance Work on a Resume [Freelancer Resume Examples].

Plus, a great cover letter that matches your resume will give you an advantage over other candidates. You can write it in our cover letter builder here. Here's what it may look like:

See more cover letter templates and start writing.

Key Takeaway

The best high-income skills to learn include software development, UX design, video production, copywriting, and entrepreneurship. Many of them are focused on IT, but there are also important soft skills you need to earn a high income.

To develop your skills, explore the learning opportunities available, both free and paid. Ideally, you should also find a mentor to help guide you on your way. And put your skills to use, whether it’s through full-time paid work, entrepreneurship, or freelancing.

Thanks for reading. If you’d like to know more about the best high-income skills to learn then please ask away in the comments section, and I’ll be happy to help.

About Zety’s Editorial Process

This article has been reviewed by our editorial team to make sure it follows Zety's editorial guidelines. We’re committed to sharing our expertise and giving you trustworthy career advice tailored to your needs. High-quality content is what brings over 40 million readers to our site every year. But we don't stop there. Our team conducts original research to understand the job market better, and we pride ourselves on being quoted by top universities and prime media outlets from around the world.

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Danuta Detyna, CPRW
Danuta Detyna is a Certified Professional Résumé Writer and career advisor writer who specializes in everything related to crafting resumes and cover letters. She has extensive experience in the field and is dedicated to providing practical and effective advice to help you advance your career. Drawing on her legal background, she places great emphasis on thorough research and accuracy when creating career guidance articles. Her ultimate goal is to equip you with the knowledge and tools you need to achieve greater professional satisfaction.
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