13 High Income Skills to Start Developing Today

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High Income Skills

Financial stability is something most of us value highly. The best way to increase your employability and improve your ability to make money is to develop a useful and in-demand skill. Mastering the right skill will ensure you can find work in any circumstance.

Whether you’re looking to learn and develop a new skill, or you have acquired skills and are looking for ways to capitalize on them, there are some which undeniably can be used to generate more income than others.

Highly-specialized skills are often the most lucrative. Today, there are a number of high income skills that are in strong demand, and some of them can be mastered without spending years and years getting formal education on the subject.

You might be particularly good at public speaking, have a great understanding of computer programming, or be talented in the art of writing. Each of these skills can be extrapolated and used to generate income. Alternatively, you might be looking to embark on the journey of learning an entirely new skill, which itself comes with a host of benefits in relation to your self-esteem and general fulfillment.

Whatever is driving you to develop a new skill or utilize the ones you already have, this list will provide you with thirteen examples of skills that can be capitalized on to produce significant financial gain.

High-Income Skills

1. Artificial Intelligence/Machine Learning

Machine learning is one of the highest-paid artificial intelligence jobs available. Machine learning engineers continue to develop a strand of artificial intelligence that enables computer systems and programs to access data and use it to learn for themselves, without human intervention.

The development of algorithms is heavily dependent on machine learning, whether in decision making, stock trading, search engine results, or many other areas.

Artificial Intelligence is still largely in its infancy and is continually growing and developing. As far as technology jobs go, machine learning engineers are amongst the highest paid in the sector.

Average salary of an artificial intelligence engineer: $164,769 (source: ZipRecruiter)

2. Public Speaking

Public speaking might not be for everyone. For many people, just the thought of speaking in public is enough to induce sweaty palms and feelings of panic. These feelings are extremely common and valid, but for those who feel ready to overcome those fears, or those lucky enough to be naturally skilled in the art of public speaking, it’s an extremely valuable skill to have.

Some of the highest paid jobs involve elements of public speaking: politicians, authors, and entrepreneurs are all likely to use public speaking as a way of advertising and sharing their ideas or products. While it may come naturally to some, rest assured that many of the most prominent public speakers had to overcome those feelings of fear and anxiety when starting out.

This is a skill that needs to be practiced and nurtured for many of us and can reap high rewards in terms of both money and personal self-esteem and confidence.

Average salary for a public speaker: $105,034 (source: ZipRecruiter)

3. Software Engineering

Software Engineers work with businesses to determine their software needs, before developing the required systems and software. They might specialize in producing games, apps, network control systems, or operational systems. This is highly skilled work. Most software engineers will have a Bachelors Degree in computer science, programming, or a related field. 

Because of the high level of skill required in this job, software engineers are generally paid extremely well. This is especially true if working for a large company with the funds to invest considerably in their software systems.

Without a doubt, the work is challenging, but for the right person with an interest in the field and an adequate skill set, it could be extremely rewarding and interesting. You might even find yourself working at the forefront of an industry that is experiencing ongoing exponential growth, developing software that could potentially change the way the digital world operates.

Average salary for a software engineer: $99,729 (Source: ZipRecruiter)

4. Coaching/Consulting

For those with extensive experience and expertise in a specific field, using your skills and knowledge to offer coaching and consulting services to businesses or clients is a great way to generate income.

Whether you are an expert in marketing, programming, coding, or sales, businesses often look for advice and coaching in these areas in order to improve their own operations and outputs. You might choose to work for an agency or company, or you may offer your services as a freelancer. Either way, businesses are likely to pay highly for these services.

The great thing about consultancy and coaching is that you are likely to already have the foundational skills required. To be successful and offer effective and beneficial advice you might wish to develop your communication or teaching skills, but aside from this, you can draw on all of the experience and skills you have developed throughout your training or working life to provide a high-quality service.

Average salary of a consultant: $83,450 (source: ZipRecruiter)

5. Web Development

Another job in the digital industry, web development is a sector that calls for talented and highly skilled individuals. With our world becoming increasingly digitized, web development is in high demand, and this doesn’t seem likely to change any time soon. Embarking on a career in this area is likely to provide a secure job which can be done remotely if necessary.

Web developers are responsible for the building, development, and maintenance of websites, refining the speed, usability, and functionality of the website. It’s an industry that is constantly evolving and growing, meaning web developers have the opportunity to learn and develop their skills continuously through their work.

Web developers might be self-taught, as formal qualifications are not always needed to become a successful web developer. Keeping a portfolio of previous work and experience is a great way to showcase your talent and skills to potential clients or employers. Having said that, there are increasing numbers of institutions offering qualifications in this area, and a solid understanding of maths, science, and programming are also helpful.

Average salary for a web developer: $73,073 (source: ZipRecruiter)

6. Digital Marketing

Digital marketing will be of paramount importance and usefulness to businesses for years to come. This job covers all advertising and promotional activity that takes place through digital channels. This might be through websites, social media, or search engines.

Digital Marketing specialists need to have an excellent understanding of digital technologies, as well as extensive knowledge in the field of branding, advertising, and marketing.

This form of advertising allows businesses to target their audiences and consumers on a global scale. It truly is invaluable when branding and increasing awareness and engagement. Because of this, digital marketing specialists are paid highly for their skills and expertise.

Average salary of a digital marketing manager: $71,914 (source: ZipRecruiter)

7. Technical Writing

Technical writers or technical communicators produce documents designed to aid the understanding of technical information. A technical writer might provide diagrams, instruction manuals, guides, or any other articles which support the business or client in conveying technical information or statistics.

This line of work requires an excellent understanding of technology, the ability to communicate effectively with clients, problem-solving skills, as well as exceptional writing skills and the ability to explain things clearly.

Technical writers are generally very well paid. Many software companies and developers use technical writing within their proceedings, so this is a great skill to have if you’re looking for work in this industry.

Average salary of a technical writer: $69,365 (source: ZipRecruiter)

8. Web Design

Developing a website or online platform of any kind is also incredibly creative, as the overall aesthetic of the site is likely to be the first thing customers or users acknowledge and judge.

The work of a web designer involves combining creativity and graphic design to create a user-friendly and engaging website. They will likely work with text, sound, images, graphics and video, depending on the client’s requirements. Some web designers will code the website as well.

Again, this is a huge industry and employment levels continue to grow. It’s also incredibly competitive and pay rates are high, particularly for those with proven skill and design experience. Qualifications are available specifically in web design, but much like web developers, clients may be more inclined to hire those with an extensive portfolio, showcasing their previous work and talent.

To learn more, please see our article How to Make Money as a Web Designer.

Average salary for a web designer: $60,202 (source: ZipRecruiter)

9. Copywriting

Copywriting is an excellent skill to have and could generate a respectable salary or a sizeable second income. Copywriting means generating text for use in advertising or marketing settings. The aim is to increase the business’ audience engagement levels, sales, and overall brand awareness.

Copywriters often work on a freelance basis, focusing on project work and working as a contractor for various clients. Because of this, many people choose to take on copywriting projects alongside their regular jobs, enabling them to capitalize on their skills and earn some extra cash.

If you have a good grasp of effective marketing strategies and are a talented writer, copywriting is an excellent skill to practice and develop.

The most talented copywriters have the ability to make lots of money for their clients or their employer, so if you’re able to develop this skill, you’ll certainly be well paid.

Average salary of a copywriter: $59,084 (source: ZipRecruiter)

10. Search Engine Optimization

Anyone with experience working online will almost certainly have come across the term Search Engine Optimization or SEO. SEO refers to the ranking of websites on different search engines. Websites with the highest search ranking for popular search phrases will generate lots of free traffic from Google, and every business wants free traffic.

For businesses that rely on their online platforms and websites to engage with customers and make sales, SEO is of extreme importance. Having a high search ranking is a sure-fire way to increase website traffic and engagement. Being well-optimized in a competitive market gives businesses an immediate advantage over their competitors.

Whether you’re a business owner looking to improve your own SEO, or you’re an individual SEO specialist, this line of work is highly rewarding. Ranking highly almost guarantees more brand awareness and profit for the business, meaning those with skills in SEO are also highly paid and rewarded.

Average salary for an SEO specialist: $54,144 (source: ZipRecruiter)

11. Trades

Trades people are highly skilled and talented individuals with an extensive understanding of a certain field. Whether that’s plumbing, electrician, construction, or any other trade area. If you invest time in your training, these types of jobs come with great monetary rewards.

Not only are these jobs well-paid, but they are also in constant demand. Every day millions of people require the services of a plumber or an electrician, so work is likely to be widely available.

Because of the extensive training tradespeople are required to complete, the rates of pay are high to account for their skill level and expertise. These are also generally engaging, challenging, and highly sociable, rewarding jobs.

Average salary of a plumber: $50,641 (source: ZipRecruiter)

Average salary of an electrician: $49,937 (source: ZipRecruiter)

12. Sales

Sales jobs can be extremely rewarding and high paying. Best of all, talented sales people are always needed and having a proven track record of sales success will ensure that you can land a job in any economic climate.

Most companies or businesses involve aspects of sales in some capacity within their operations. Skilled salespeople can generate a huge amount of profit for businesses, and in turn, are rewarded generously.

Many sales jobs incorporate commission of some sort, with the salesperson receiving monetary rewards for successfully securing a sale. This is the ultimate incentive to perform well and means that it is a very competitive and exciting field to be a part of.

You might specialize in car sales, property sales, pharmaceutical sales, or many other types of sales. Whichever sector you find yourself in, you’re likely to need the same basic skills:

  • Communication
  • Customer service
  • Flexibility
  • Attention to detail.

Sales are generally customer-facing roles, whether that’s over the phone, online, or in person, so you should be comfortable communicating and networking with a range of different people.

Average salary for a salesperson: $47,187 (source: ZipRecruiter)

The average salary listed can be a bit deceiving. This is calculated for all types of sales positions and across a wide variety of industries, and that brings the average down. If you develop strong sales skills, you’ll have the opportunity to earn plenty of money.

13. Entrepreneurship

By definition, entrepreneurship refers to the creation and extraction of value. In most cases it involves risking an initial investment, to see an eventual monetary profit. Entrepreneurs develop and set up businesses, and are usually solely responsible for the risks and rewards that come along with that, at least during the early stages.

Because entrepreneurs are generally self-employed, they have the freedom to earn unlimited amounts of money. With that being said, this kind of career comes with a huge amount of hard work and requires a certain type of individual to take the necessary risks associated with starting a new business.

Examples of famous, successful entrepreneurs include Jeff Bezos, Oprah Winfrey, and Henry Ford, all of whom decided to develop their own businesses, with huge success and monetary benefits. If you’re a business-minded individual and feel that you are well-suited to take on the challenge of starting your own business, why not give it a go?

Average salary of an entrepreneur: $43, 430 (source: ZipRecruiter)

This is another case where the listed average salary can be very deceiving. The category of “entrepreneur” covers such a huge range of opportunities that it’s difficult to estimate how much you should expect that make. Regardless, there is plenty of potential to make a great income as an entrepreneur.

How to Develop These High-Income Skills

Developing these skills is an investment in your future income and experience. By nurturing one of these skills to a high level, you could capitalize on something that you enjoy and find interesting. Whether you want to do this part-time or full-time, there are many ways of incorporating this education into your daily life. Here are just a few:

Formal Education or Training

Choosing to gain formal qualifications through academic or vocational training is a secure way of equipping yourself with the necessary skills and knowledge to thrive in your chosen sector. Qualifications and training are available in almost all fields these days, so this is a great way of learning more about the skill you want to develop.

Another great thing about formal training is that it is often accredited by a respected governing body, meaning that you know you are receiving high-quality training.

One thing to consider when looking into this kind of training is the cost implication. Education of a high level, in particular, tends to be expensive and might require a significant investment on your part. If you feel this is the best choice for you, then go ahead! It’s a great way of increasing your knowledge, skills, and employability. However, if you are put off by the price, there are several other options you can consider which may be more budget-friendly, and may also allow you to develop skills and get working faster.

Online Courses

Online courses tend to be much cheaper than in-person, formal training. They are also generally much more flexible and can be tailored to fit around your lifestyle and needs.

There is a huge range of websites that specialize in offering online training courses across a whole host of fields and industries. Similarly, many industry unions or agencies offer their own online courses aimed at individuals who are looking to embark on a new career.

For some employers, these kinds of qualifications and training styles can actually be more enticing and increase your employability. This is because completing one of these courses shows a certain level of self-discipline and an ability to take responsibility for your own work and development.

One potential downside associated with this style of training is the lack of face-to-face social interaction. Some people find that they learn most effectively when they are able to converse with others and discuss topics and questions. Of course, with online video conferencing platforms, this might still be possible. It is really dependent on the specific course that you choose to take.

Free Online Resources

If you’re looking to learn and develop your skills without any cost implications and on a more individual basis, there are a plethora of online resources available to aid this.

YouTube is an extremely useful platform, through which people share content on almost every subject imaginable. Whether you are looking to learn how to build a garden wall, design a website, or train your mind to overcome your fear of public speaking, there is a YouTube video for that.

As well as YouTube and video content, the internet is full of articles and resources designed to help you learn. These won’t provide you with an official, accredited qualification, but it will give you a foundation on which to build your knowledge and experience.  Even if you choose to go on to a more formal style of training, beginning with free online resources is a great way of gauging whether or not this is the right field for you, and giving yourself a head start.

Internship or Apprenticeship

Many large scale companies offer internships and apprenticeship programs to assist people in accessing jobs and training, while also improving their own talent pool and creating a finely-tuned and ‘purpose-built’ workforce.

More and more employers are offering interns and apprentices fair wages these days, as well as the added benefit of a permanent job at the end of their training. This is a great way of learning on the job and networking with like-minded, inspiring people.

For many employers, apprenticeships and internships are actually valued more highly than formal, academic training. This is because this kind of training comes with real-world experience, which is a basic requirement for many jobs.

Apprenticeships and internships are available in a huge range of sectors and industries, and can often be completed alongside other work or education commitments.

Take Action

If education or formal training doesn’t sound like the right fit for you, why not get out there and take control of your own development! One of the most effective ways of learning is to simply do!

Learning through experience and reflection is extremely effective. It is possible to find entry-level jobs that require no prior experience and offer the opportunity to learn on the job.

You might also choose to embark on a new freelance career, refining your skills through entry-level work on a project basis until you feel well equipped to take on larger jobs. However you choose to do it, learning and refining a new skill is incredibly rewarding and you might just find a new career path in the process.


Learning and developing a new skill is a great way of increasing self-esteem, confidence, and self-worth. It also provides new opportunities for income and financial gain. You might be looking for an entirely new career path, or a side-hustle to add to your yearly earnings, either way, the skills listed here are sure to enable you to embark on either.

In a world where work can be increasingly precarious, it’s sensible to have more than one stream of income and a foundation of useful skills to fall back on and utilize should you need to.

By developing the skills you already possess or choosing to learn new ones, you are providing yourself with more financial stability and security, as well as investing in your own mental wellbeing and development.

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  • Buy and sell 25+ different cryptocurrencies
  • Fractional shares
  • Access alternative investments
  • High-yield treasuries accounts
  • Social community of investors
  • User-friendly interface
  • Commission-free trades of stocks, ETFs, options, and ADRs
  • Powerful screening and charting tools
  • Free real-time level 2 data
  • User-friendly mobile app
  • AI monitoring
  • AI-powered price forecasts
  • Free investing courses
  • Commission-free trades of stocks, ETFs, options, and cryptocurrency
  • Buy fractional shares for any amount
  • Extended trading hours
  • Advanced reporting tools
  • Schedule recurring investments
  • IRAs now available
  • 24/7 customer service

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