20 High Income Skills to Help You Get Ahead This Year

Here are the top high income skills – hard skills and soft skills that will help you get ahead in your career (and where to learn them)

Author: Kari Lorz, Certified Financial Education Instructor

Author: Kari Lorz – Certified Financial Education Instructor

The job market is changing. Gone are the days of relying on a four-year degree to get ahead in your career and earn a great income.

In order to compete in today’s job market, you need to have some high-income skills. These skills can be learned relatively quickly and without having to go through the traditional university route, which can save you years and a mountain of student loan debt.

Check out our list of high-income skills and find one that matches your interests and talents. With the right training, you can be on your way to an exciting and lucrative career in 2022!

high income skills you need to get ahead

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What is meant by “high income skills”

High-income skills are those which can lead to substantial income or financial stability, as opposed to “low income skills,” which typically bring in a minimal salary and require little training.

High income skills either require a good amount of training (certification) or are developed over time through extensive experience. There may be some aspect of natural talent here as well. Some people are just good at certain things.

Getting down to the nitty-gritty; high-income skills are those that help you earn over $10,000 a month, or over $120,000 annual salary.

What is the difference between soft skills and hard skills?

High income skills are made up of either soft skills or hard skills.

Soft skills may be knowledge or abilities that you pick up throughout life, such as how to cook, do laundry, manage your money, etc.

Hard skills are knowledge and abilities that can largely be taught through books, lectures, hands-on training sessions/lessons, and learned through experience. It’s these skills that get you hired for that six-figure job!

Hard high income skills

Here are some great examples of high-income skills that can help you earn more money in today’s job market. As you will notice, most of these job skills are in the tech & digital field, which is a good thing, as it makes it easier for you to add on skills when you already know the basics.

1. SEO

Everything is online these days, it’s now the preferred place for people to learn, buy, and interact. What helps people find what they want online? It’s SEO – search engine optimization.

Your business needs to have great SEO to get it listed on page one of Google, that’s the money spot. Because the higher up your spot, the more clicks you get, which means more money in sales.

So the better you are at optimizing a site, utilizing good SEO tactics and strategy – you can get that money spot. This can be tricky as SEO best practices are continually changing as the market evolves.

There are also niches within being an SEO expert – local SEO, image SEO, On and off-page SEO optimization, as well as some coding more technical work.

According to Salary.com, “The average Search Engine Optimization (SEO)Consultant salary in the United States is $76,657 as of January 27, 2022, but the salary range typically falls between $69,361 and $83,701.”While not quite at the $10K a month threshold, the growth of this industry will make it even more in demand soon enough.

How do I learn to do SEO?

There are many great courses and books out there to help you learn SEO. One of the best places to start is with Moz, an educational resource on all things SEO.

This is a free course on SEO basics from Stanford University: Intro To Digital Marketing – SEO

Another place to look is to find some Facebook groups for what you want to do and ask in there what courses people took that really added value and were worth the cost.

If you’re still unclear on the why & how of the importance of SEO, Mike does a great job in his free training explaining to you why it’s important and how you can learn to nail SEO that gets you top rankings on Google! Check it out below…

2. Blockchain

Blockchain, the technology behind Bitcoin, is a hot new thing right now. Blockchain is a system of recording information in a way that makes it difficult or impossible to change, hack, or cheat the system.

With the rise of cryptocurrencies continuing to grow, this will be an area that companies are going to be looking for. Of course, like with any early adopter market, if you get in now you’ll likely be helping to shape the market.

There are two main types of blockchain developers; A Core Blockchain Developer designs the security and the architecture of the proposed Blockchain system. Then the Blockchain Software Developers uses the core web architecture built by the Developer to create apps, and programs.

You can expect to make $118,000 – $132,000 a year as front end blockchain developer.

How do I learn how to do blockchain?

With this high-income skill, it’s very helpful if you already have a basic understanding of computers and coding, ideally, you’d start with web development and then progress to blockchain.

Another is to take an Intro to Programming course, focusing on JavaScript or Java and SQL, as many blockchain applications require some level of coding skills. If you already have experience in the field, then you’re good to go in higher blockchain training and certification.

There are a few different ways to learn Blockchain, one is through online courses…

If you’re looking to put some of these high-income skills to work, be sure that you check out how to make $10k a month, which will give you even more ideas for your new career.

3. Video & Audio Editing

People love to consume video content these days – be it short tic tok videos or in-depth training courses. While audio editing is huge thanks to the popularity of podcasting.

As a video editor, you will be responsible for all the sound, graphics, splicing, and editing of video footage into a final product.

Audio editors will be doing things like taking raw footage, removing the noise it contains (wind, traffic, etc.), and then mixing in music or sound effects.

People usually start as a freelancer or do their own video production, and then you could progress to a single company’s marketing and content team. There are salaried positions available for these types of skills, which will pay upwards of $100,000 a year.

The real good news is that you can usually get the skills needed without a four-year degree. You can learn on your own (through trial and error) or take some courses to speed up the process.

Where do I learn how to do video & audio editing?

There are plenty of places to learn, one being Lynda.com, which is now part of LinkedIn. They have some great training platforms that will teach you everything from basic levels of recording and editing to advanced techniques. Udemy also has some good courses on the topic as well if you are more into learning on your own.

Join Skillshare

4. Digital Marketing

Digital marketing encompasses a lot of different things, and it constantly evolves as new things become popular.

It can range from SEO to video/image creation, email marketing, content marketing, to social media marketing, like Facebook adverts. It’s creating content for the web in order to drive traffic (and conversions), which means more money coming in.

The best part is that you don’t need a four-year degree! You can learn about this in any number of ways. Usually by following what’s trending. For example, Tic Tok is considered digital marketing, as many influencers build up a base and then drive those followers through their income-generating platforms (i.e. affiliate marketing, paid content, etc.).

Take Addison Rae Easterling; according to Forbes, “she is its top-earning star, bringing in an estimated $5 million last year, thanks to her 54.1 million followers, her new makeup line (Item Beauty), and deals with American Eagle and Spotify. “TikTok is what got me to where I am.”

How do I learn digital marketing?

By following what’s trending. For example, Tik Tok is huge right now. If you’re into that then it would be a good idea to start there.

I know this skill seems easy, but there are so many small intricacies, details, and moving pieces that you absolutely need to learn from a trusted expert. Plus, you can be good at it, but you need to be able to show and prove your results to companies. This means how can you and your services drive more sales? Show them where you have done it before.

With anything on the internet, if Google has put its name on it you should probably pay attention. Check out their Fundamentals of Digital Marketing, to get started. Or…

5. Coding

Coding is everywhere in modern business – from web development to creating apps for phones. It’s the technology backbone of every company.

This isn’t just a guy in his garage anymore, but you may not have Steve Job’s tech skills, but you can still earn a great income.

There are two main “types” of coding – back end and front end. Basically, the difference is that backend code deals with how things work behind the scenes (think logistics, accounting systems, etc). While front end is the code that you as a user interact with, things like apps and websites.

In many ways ,coding is much like writing – there are different styles to choose from (i.e. Python, C#, HTML, CSS, Java, etc.).It’s also something you can learn quickly (if you don’t already know it) or go through training to become an expert.

Where do I learn to code?

There are a ton of different ways to learn, here are some courses that will help you get started:

Learn tech skills with Pluralsight

If you’re looking to specifically up your tech skills, Pluralsight is the go-to platform to learn about the best programs and the latest in tech innovation.

You can start your 10-day free trial right here. And check out all they have to offer completely free!

6. Software and Web Development

This is one of the fastest growing fields of employment, and it’s no surprise why.

It’s basically anything that works with multimedia, so think of everything you use every day – smartphones, web browsers, photo editors, video chat apps (like Skype), etc.

Being a software developer or a web developer is a lucrative field for those who want to “get ahead” because you can major in just about anything (i.e. business, marketing, communications) and still learn to program on the side as it’s becoming a necessity almost everywhere where content online is involved.

Mobile app development also falls under this category. Building mobile apps is an incredibly lucrative process for developers – if they can build a “breakout app” it’s all over the news.

In March 2011, Nick D’Aloisio created an iOS application called Trimmit, which used an analytical tool to summarize text. This application caught the attention of Apple, who then featured it as a new noteworthy application on the App store. In 2013, the app was sold to Yahoo! For $30 million. He was also awarded the “Innovator of the Year” title by the Wall Street Journal.

While we probably won’t make $30 million, Glassdoor estimates that the average app developer salary is $90,013 in the United States.

Note: Web design is different than being a graphic designer, although elements do overlap. Web design has more focus on functionality, while graphic design is more on the look of a site. Many people overlap these skills to create more of a full project management experience for clients. Graphic designers average about $50K, while web designers average about $58L according to Glassdoor salary information.

How do I learn software development and web design & development?

You can enroll in major universities to study it, you can go through “coding boot camps”, or you can self-teach. Or, if you want something quick and dirty, there are tons of online courses on sites like Udemy – check them out!

If you’re interested in mobile app development, then I recommend checking out these classes for iOS and Android app development.

7. Copywriting, Business Writing, Technical Writing

Every business needs to convince their potential customers to buy from them, or how to use their product. That’s where writing comes in.

Copywriting is basically marketing and advertising. It can cover any potential product, but especially digital ones (online courses, e-books). You need to be able to convey meaning, be engaging, and convince the customer.

Technical writing does what it sounds like – technical documentation to help people use products correctly. You might work at a marketing firm, advertising agency, PR company – basically anywhere that needs professional writing.

There are lots of courses to learn different copywriting skills and techniques, as this industry has been going strong for a long time. Yet, new AI technology (artificial intelligence) is making it easier for people without official training (or degrees) to get into the market.

For example, Jasper AI is a content creation tool that can help you write copy faster, with specific styles (PAS framework, AIDA framework), and content specific to video, sales pages, ads, product descriptions, you name it, and Jasper can write it.

This is the perfect tool for writers looking to create content faster and streamline their processes.

How do I learn copywriting?

This is a skill that you can learn through a course, but a lot of success comes with experience. Look for a workplace where you can learn from the roundup. Or you can build your skills by starting with your own business. You’ll soon find out what works and more importantly, what doesn’t work with your target audience.

8. Online Coaching

With the rise of the online economy, it’s no wonder that what used to be considered in-person specific can now be brought online while still maintaining its integrity. Online coaching has erupted into a huge business model. Partly because coaches can now reach a lot more clients and offer their services at a lower rate than in-person sessions, making it more available to the masses.

For example, you can be a coach for productivity, health & wellness, spirituality, financial coaching, skills coaching, and even coaching to help you grow your own home-based business.

Let’s look at the famed coach, Tony Robbins. His in-person events start at around $650 recently and go up to $3,000 for more premier access. The magic happens when those event attendees sign up for his coaching program, which is rumored to be up to $15,000 for one year. (Not you aren’t coached by Tony, but one of his coaches trained in his methods).

There are lots of different types of certifications to be a coach, it’s mainly niche-specific, so be sure to do lots of research before jumping in and buying a program.

Where can I get certified to be a coach?

For this one, you need to niche down before you seek out training. So what exactly do you want to be a coach for, and for whom?

A good starting point is to check out the International Coaching Federation; you’ll get lots of info on the different types of programs and certifications. Also, check out iPEC, which is very well recognized in the coaching industry. Here are a few smaller introduction courses to give you an idea of what is involved.

9. Sales

There are different types of “sales” for different industries. For example, a medical device company might need a sales representative to go to hospitals and convince them to buy their products. So B2B sales.

A software company might have a sales team dedicated to going out and selling the product directly. They create the leads, drum up interest in their offering, and try and close the deal. Which is direct-to-consumer sales.

A sales rep could work under a company or have their own business. They can be paid hourly wages or on commission, or a bonus structure based on their sales numbers or a mixture of the three.

Now sales isn’t just about selling. Yes, it’s a big part of it, but it’s also about growing the company’s brand presence, expanding into new territories, and building authority.

Where can I learn sales?

There are so many ways to learn sales. You can read books, take courses, attend conferences and seminars, or even online workshops. If you want to sell, Cutco is a good place to learn. The legendary knife company has put hundreds of thousands of students through its sales training program over the past 70 years. Ultimately the reps learn that it’s more about creating relationships than just selling, which is the key to their success.

Now selling knives may not be glamourous, but consider this, Cutco’s annual revenues are $100-$500 million, but they have only 500-1,000 employees. They are obviously doing something right in their sales dept.

Or you can check out these courses to get started…

10. User Experience – UX

User Experience (UX) designers are like architects for websites and applications. These people turn an idea into a functioning website, wireframes, and all, before turning it over to the engineers who make it work better/scale better, and look good.

UX designers do much of the heavy lifting so that you don’t have to. They collaborate research and design expertise to figure out what end users want and provide options and designs that they would like to use. They’re extremely creative, focusing on human behavior in order to explain why you should do things.

Glassdoor reports that “the national average salary for a UX Designer is $105,122 in the United States.”

How do I learn UX?

UX design is a broad field. Depending on the career you’re going for, it will require different skills and, obviously a different path to get there. If you want to learn UX in-depth I recommend checking out The Design Lab from General Assembly. They have courses that can help you go from beginner all the way up to advanced levels

Soft high income skills to help you get ahead

Now soft skills in essence, don’t get you more money in regards to a salary. However, perfecting these skills is in your best interest. As these are the skills that make you a valuable employee, these skills are why your supervisors and peers like to work with you.

So hard skills get you hired at a high-level salary job. While it’s the soft skills that keep you employed and get your promoted. Which is just as important.

11. Public Speaking

Public speaking is an incredibly important soft skill that everyone should master. Now there are few ways to learn public speaking and those methods can be really expensive.

From Toastmasters to any of the top business training programs, you’ll learn everything from how to project your voice properly and how to use body language and tone/pitch to command the audience and engage them. So if your job has a lot of meetings and board room presentations, then you should brush up on this soft skill.

12. Listening

I know that having good communication skills sound silly, but honestly, how many people do you know that are really good listeners & conversationalists? Where you feel heard, understood, and appreciated. Probably not many, as most people who are listening to you talk are probably just forming their response and not really hearing you.

Active listening is a really important skill to have, especially if you are in customer service or sales. Where your work is making other people happy through communication. If you can listen closely and hear the needs of your audience, then you will be one step ahead.

13. Writing Skills

Texting has killed this skill for most modern age people. We no longer know what proper grammar is, know a wide variety of words, or can punctuate properly. However, proper writing skills can definitely help you get ahead.

Whether it’s an email to your boss, a bulk email to clients, or writing up reports and proposals (which a lot of people will end up doing in any job) good grammar is imperative. There are AI tools available that you can to help craft emails that are grammatically correct, like Grammarly, but you need a basic understanding of how to write to get started.

14. Negotiation

In any business situation, you should know how to negotiate effectively. Whether it’s to get a raise or settle an issue, you need to know how to be persuasive. Knowing how to negotiate is one of the top ways that get people ahead in their careers, especially if you are working with business professionals.

Not only do you need to negotiate with your boss for compensation, but you also need to negotiate with peers for work projects, and negotiate with customers when closing the sale or figuring out their wants & needs.

15. Organization

Whether it’s a messy desk or a haphazard studio, being organized is a huge part of getting ahead. If you are disorganized, then you aren’t going to be able to get as much done as someone who is organized. Your boss is also going to see this, and probably think you’re not as good of a worker as someone else who has all the details covered.

16. Time Management

Hand in hand with being organized, time management is an incredibly valuable skill that will get you ahead.

There are always more tasks than hours, so effective time management is crucial for success. Whether it’s how to manage your daily routine or use your lunch break effectively, being good at time management means you have control of your day and are using your time wisely.

17. Financial Management

Someone with a strong set of financial skills can outshine your typical entry-level worker. It takes a lot to really understand how money works, and how it’s used in a business setting.

So understanding project budgeting, reading a P&L statement, understanding buy-ins, sell-outs, ROI, and other financial terms are absolutely crucial. A good place to get started learning about business finance is understanding personal finance. So if you aren’t comfortable with handling your own money, you should start on this asap!

18. Critical Thinking

Critical Thinking is the ability to read, understand and dissect information, and build plans based on data and trends. It’s an important skill for when you are starting out in your career because it will help you know how to do research and take initiative with tasks.

Not only does critical thinking apply in the workplace (where you should be constantly looking for ways to improve) but also to the rest of your life. You need to be able to analyze situations and challenges that occur, so knowing how to do this will help you get ahead in just about anything!

19. Teamwork

Since you are probably on a team at your new job, knowing how to work on it is important. Trust me, if you’re not a good coworker, your boss is going to hear about it.

Many of these other soft skills mentioned here can help you be a good team player, but the main component is having a good attitude and being willing to pull your fair share of the workload, being friendly, and respecting the work environment that you are in.

20. Leadership

Having the ability to lead others is going to be crucial as well if you want to promote in any company. You need to be able to motivate others, assess their strengths, and know-how to delegate tasks.

Unfortunately, dealing with difficult people is another skill you’ll need. Bosses, coworkers, and customers, from time to time, will challenge you. Knowing how to stay calm and make decisions in high-pressure situations is absolutely necessary.

If you’re looking to uplevel your life (not just a skill set to get a new job), then you have to check out MindValley. It’s like a TED talk, but it’s so much more. It’s focused learning to bring you to a whole new level).

I know that so many people are overwhelmed with areas they want to improve, and they don’t know where to start. Mindvalley makes it easy to take that first step with an online quiz, where you tell them what areas in your life you want to improve. Then they create a custom course list for your exact needs.

You can go here and create an account, and then go here for the quiz to get started.

Where do you learn high income skills?

Determine the skill that will help you get ahead in 2022 and start researching where you can learn it. You don’t need a college degree in that field (although a bachelor’s degree of any kind may be required); you can find free courses, books, and videos that will teach you the skills you need! Yet, some skills might need a certification.

If there is a particular skill that would help your career (like coding or statistical analysis), then try looking into the top schools in the country if you’re not worried about a budget. They offer courses, internships, and extracurricular activities which go way beyond college.

Trade school

Community colleges, or even short courses at your local library. There are so many opportunities these days where you can learn and develop high-income skills without having to commit to a four-year degree program. While not a traditional blue-collar trade skill school (like electrical, welding, construction, etc.). These schools offer condensed programs and usually come with job placement help.

Teach yourself

If you are familiar with the new skill, then you can try and learn it on your own. If you are uncertain, then the internet is a great resource to find tutorials. You can look up book lists and videos on YouTube or find people in the industry who are willing to share their expertise.

While this route is certainly cheaper, it will undoubtedly take you a lot longer to learn what you need to know.

Take an online course

There are many online courses you can take that offer a more traditional school experience, but online. Many of them have a set course schedule like a traditional college education and the added benefit of learning from professionals in their field.

Make sure that you take a course that has been updated recently, one that offers some sort of online community for Q&A, and has testimonials from prior students. Some places to look for these opportunities include…

At your current workplace

Many companies offer learning & growth opportunities for workers who they feel can add value to the company. See your boss and HR department to check to see what’s available and how you be put on that list for upcoming trainings.

At the end of the day

The skills mentioned in the article are important for career success. Whether you decide to learn them on your own, through a traditional school or online course, or by teaching yourself, it is important to have some of the best high-income skills in order to get good money and opportunity for growth.

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  1. These are great skills for people to be aware of and know which of them are weak and which are strengths. Thanks for the great tips on how to get ahead!

  2. Really great read. Thank you for sharing the ways on how to learn these skills. That can sometimes be the hardest part is “the how”.