If you want to make more money in the upcoming years or are ready to start searching for six-figure jobs, brushing up on some in-demand job skills could help you reach your earning goals.
Many companies offer up six-figure jobs for highly skilled workers and to those who specialize in a certain field. Knowing what these work skills are before you complete a degree or pursue career development opportunities could put you in the front of the line to secure higher-paying jobs throughout your career.
Click through for job skills you need — and how you can get them — in order to earn a six-figure salary.
Skill: Software Development
If you already work in information technology or web development industries as a programmer, coder or designer, take your skills to the next level by learning software development applications and programs. Being hired by software publishers or other information services providers could help you increase your income.
Software developers are responsible for creating software and designing databases. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the median annual salary for 2016 was $102,280.
Acquire It By: Attending Microsoft’s Virtual Academy
If you want to start climbing the career ladder, dip your toes in the water with a course from Microsoft’s free Virtual Academy. The multi-part course online is designed to give the user an overview of what software development is — how it’s used, how you learn it and what a basic career in development would look like. The course even goes into some of the skills and tools that you need to learn in order to be successful in the developer field.
If you think it’s a good fit, your next step is enrolling in a course at a locally accredited institution to get even more in-depth training.
Skill: Internet Marketing
You could acquire the work skills needed to secure six-figure jobs with a company if you have a passion for marketing and working in the digital media space.
Chief marketing officers are now needed to manage a company’s digital strategy and can earn up to $245,000 a year, according to the 2017 report from recruiting company Mondo. The BLS reports advertising, promotions and marketing managers earned a median wage of $127,560 in 2016, with the majority of marketing managers working in the enterprises industry.
Acquire It By: Taking Google’s Online Marketing Challenge
If there’s one company that understands how marketing works in the modern world, it’s definitely Google.
They created the “Google Online Marketing Challenge” as a free, comprehensive digital marketing course for those looking to truly sharpen their edge with new skills on exactly how marketing applies in an increasingly digital landscape.
Bonus: The Online Marketing Challenge includes a comprehensive Google AdWords certification — one of the most valuable certifications you can add to any resume.
Skill: Project Management
Want to be a business leader and develop some basic tech skills? Getting comfortable with popular project management tools such as Asana or Basecamp could help you advance in your career. Managers who are skilled with using technology and apps to manage their teams, workflows and data are in high demand — even if you don’t work in tech.
You might be responsible for mentoring co-workers, assigning deadlines to team members and collaborating on projects using project management tools. Being skilled in advanced project management tools, such as the Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) system, can easily earn you a six-figure salary. Salary.com reports the median salary for an ERP Project Manager is $131,386.
Acquire It By: Getting an Accredited Degree in Project Management
Getting into the world of project management is one that is constantly evolving — and requires a good bit of training.
Thankfully, the PMI — or Project Management Institute — features a comprehensive website with step-by-step information for those interested in furthering their project management skills at every part of their career. To begin, however, it’s recommended you acquire a bachelor’s degree in project management from one of PMI’s accredited institutions.
Skill: Financial Management
Being good with numbers and having an analyst’s mindset could make you a great candidate for a career as a finance manager.
Companies seek skilled finance managers to prepare financial forecasts, analyze trends, assess risk and perform other duties to keep the company in good financial standing. You’ll need to acquire at least five years of skills to earn the median wages of $121,750 per year in this position, according to the BLS.
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Acquire It By: Getting a CFP Designation
One of the most valuable designations in the world of financial management is the coveted CFP — or, certified financial planner. Your goal as a CFP is to help people right the ship and make smart money moves both now and in the future.
In order to earn your CFP designation, there’s a series of steps from educational hours, on-the-job experience and an exam you must pass — all of which are outlined on the official CFP website.
Skill: Problem Solving Using Technology
You need good problem-solving skills in virtually every position. But those who can identify and solve technology problems earn a bigger piece of the salary pie.
A job in the field of computer science can command a high salary because you’ll be responsible for solving technology-related problems as a computer engineer, computer scientist, programmer or consultant. The median pay for computer and information research scientists in 2016 was $111,840, according to the BLS. Jobs in this field are expected to increase by 19 percent through 2026.
Acquire It By: Hitting Up YouTube
Many IT problems are easily solved with some basic know-how and a little ingenuity. In your spare time, log onto YouTube and watch a number of informational videos on the basics of IT to help acclimate yourself to the world of tech troubleshooting.
Even though YouTube won’t give you professional credentials, it can help you develop practical skills that you can immediately put to work.
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Since a job in sales is commission-based, the earning potential is virtually unlimited. However, your ability to hit the six-figure level will require strong sales and customer service skills. Many companies that offer $100,000-plus opportunities set the qualification bar high — you’ll need at least five years of successful experience in the industry to make your mark and access clients who are prepared to close six-figure deals with you.
Still, you could boost your earning potential by attending sales training events and fine-tuning your skills to approach better prospects. The BLS reports sales managers earned a median wage of $117,960 in 2016.
Acquire It By: Studying Sales Pitches Online
This is another skill that you can hone just by logging onto your computer or smartphone.
Sales isn’t an innate talent that some people have from birth. Even though charisma helps, most salespeople aren’t born with this gift — they hone it by learning techniques from other successful sales professionals.
Thankfully, the internet is a vast resource fraught with sales training videos to help you boost your numbers.
Skill: Communications and Public Relations
Having good communication skills is essential for all types of jobs and can really help in landing one. But if you’re extremely skilled at communicating with different groups, you could earn yourself a six-figure career in the field of public relations, fundraising or marketing communications.
Public relations managers are responsible for planning and coordinating communications efforts on a large scale to improve the perception of a company or individual in the public eye. Your skills and talent might be in high demand from politicians, business executives and corporations in need of some positive press.
According to the BLS, public relations and fundraising managers earned a median wage of $107,320 in 2016.
Acquire It By: Revamping Your Social Media Presence
There’s an easy place to start in the world of communications: social media.
Your very own social media profiles are some of the biggest tools utilized by corporations today in the world of news, marketing and advertising. If you want to become versed in the world of PR, study how major brands are starting to base their interactions around their target markets — like Wendy’s uber-popular Twitter account, for example — and try to tailor your own social media presence to reflect a polished, professional version of you.
Skill: Teaching and Motivating
Teachers typically don’t make six-figure incomes no matter how much experience they have — the median wage for a high school teacher was $58,030 in 2016. However, having good teaching skills could help spearhead your career as an adviser, consultant or life coach.
Jobs that require leading or educating people about a product or company, or provide coaching help, are in high demand and could be the ideal career path for you. If you work independently as a life coach and set your own rates, your earning potential easily could reach six figures. PayScale reports the total pay for a life coach can be up to $210,162, as of March 2018.
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Acquire It By: Volunteering in Your Community
You can start teaching right in your own backyard — and make the lives of many little ones better in the process.
After you get a background check and fingerprinting done, you’ll be cleared to volunteer with youth in a number of ways — Boys & Girls Club of America, the YM/YWCA, after-school programs as well as organized sports.
Whatever your skill set reflects, get out in your own town and use those abilities to help better the next generation.
If you’ve always been good with making investment decisions and want to serve others by managing their investments and providing advice, you could explore a career as a personal financial advisor. Financial advisors aren’t just employed by banks — investing experts are needed to oversee corporate financial activities as well as those in the scientific and technical services fields.
Additionally, you can look forward to earning a six-figure salary when you have skills in securities and commodities contracts. You could work independently as a broker or for a brokerage to earn commissions from your clients.
Acquire It By: Dipping Your Toes in Micro-Investments
Before you go all-in on a career in the stock market, learn about the volatility and nuance of the stock market with a micro-investment app like Stash or Acorns.
The apps work by investing your leftover change from your bank account, accruing interest like a mini-401k. You can choose what you invest in — even if the returns are small — but that just means that the risk is also on a small scale.
Perhaps start by putting your tax return toward your micro-investments.
When you’re looking for a non-traditional career path that pays well, consider a career as an airline pilot. Any flying skills gained while serving in the military or from attending flight school can help you get certified with an Airline Transport Pilot License (ATPL). With the license, you can earn flight hours with an airline or private company that needs pilots.
The BLS reports the median wage for airline and commercial pilots in 2016 was $105,720.
Acquire It By: Taking a Flight Course at Your Local Airport
Many local airports offer classes to help people get up above the clouds.
The first step is obtaining your pilot’s license — something that most flight training courses are designed around helping you obtain. As long as you’re medically cleared and over 17 years of age, you can find a local flight school near you and start soaring.
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Rachel Holly Farrow contributed to the reporting for this article.