There is a direct correlation between education and income. The higher your degree level, the more money you make — generally. Many jobs — including highly technical six-figure jobs in places like Silicon Valley — prefer experience over education, and if you’ve got the background, the skills, and the smarts, you can get the job.
If you’re feeling a little imposter syndrome when applying for these high-paying jobs, don’t forget that there are plenty of people who have found success without four-year degrees — think Steve Jobs, Tom Hanks, Bill Gates, James Cameron and Frank Lloyd Wright.
Last updated: July 26, 2021
Data Center Logistics Manager at Apple
- Estimated Salary: $42,000-$95,000
Apple is officially on the 2021 Glassdoor Best Place to Work list. This particular position pays an average base salary of $62,881, according to Glassdoor, where Apple is also advertising openings for data center logistics supervisors, which pays about the same.
Although a bachelor’s degree is preferred, you can snag this job if you have experience managing inventory across multiple locations.
Creative Director, Events and Content at Apple
- Estimated Salary: $67,000-$230,000
Apple is advertising an open position for creative director of events and content in Culver City, Calif. A bachelor’s degree “or equivalent work experience is preferred,” so coming to the interview with 10 or more years of professional experience in event design, creative direction and content production is sure to set you apart from a recent college graduate — five years has to have been in management.
The job posting doesn’t list a salary, but Glassdoor shows that the average base pay for the position of creative director is $124,427.
Compliance Specialist at Facebook
- Estimated Salary: $50,000-$97,000
Facebook is hiring a compliance specialist at its Miami office to assess risks across a wide variety of business areas while building relationships with its stakeholders across Latin America and North America. No degree is required, but you’ll need a lot of experience in risk mitigation work, business process consulting, or a related field. And with up to 25% travel required for this job, you could be flying to exciting places — just an added bonus to your large paychecks.
Although the Facebook ad doesn’t list a salary, the average base salary for compliance specialists is $69,641, according to Glassdoor.
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Strategic Partner Development Manager, Google Shopping Transactions at Google
- Estimated Salary: $58,000-$227,000
Nowhere in this high-paying job posting is there a degree requirement. The strategic partner development manager position will have you working with Google’s retail clients to represent Google Shopping transaction offerings. As long as you have excellent communication skills to articulate contractual, technical, financial and value points both internally and with partners, you’re in. Other minimum qualifications include experience managing business transactions and working with cross-functional teams.
Just as the ad doesn’t list degree requirements, it also doesn’t mention pay, but Glassdoor reports the average base salary for this kind of work as $114.810.
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Data Analyst, Community Operations at Facebook
- Estimated Salary: $45,000-$104,000
Are you a professional data miner? Well, at Facebook, that’s one of the high-paying jobs you can get without a degree. The position requires four-plus years of experience in a quantitative role using SQL or other querying languages, as well as the ability to present to audiences and stakeholders. The salary will keep you comfortable while living and working in Menlo Park, Calif. The post doesn’t mention pay, but $68,503 is the average base salary, according to Glassdoor.
Network Engineer at Google
- Estimated Salary: $92,000-$186,000
Google prefers a master’s degree or Ph.D. in computer science for this job, but a bachelor’s degree — or even equivalent practical experience — will do. That experience has to include nine years in the networking industry and three years of technical leadership in networking software development. You’ll be part of a global team that provides service to millions of internet users around the world.
Client Solutions Manager at Facebook
- Estimated Salary: $55,000-$131,000
Calling all marketing solutions experts, relationship managers, media strategists and project managers — including those without a college degree! The right person for this job will have experience presenting ideas and data to cross-functional teams, all while being able to influence C-level executives. Although a college degree is preferred, if you have all the above boxes checked, you’re already a step above the rest. No word about pay in the ad, but according to Glassdoor, the average base salary for this job is $85,064 a year.
Senior Systems Administrator, Enterprise Fleet Integration and Management For Google
- Estimated Salary: $89,000-$192,000
According to this job posting, “system administrators embrace Google’s motto to ensure millions of users can access the world’s information without a glitch.” A degree is neither preferred or required for this high-paying position, but to make sure you can deliver results for the entire world to use “without a glitch” requires an extreme amount of skill and attention to detail.
Technical Director, Office of the CTO, Google Cloud
- Estimated salary: $142,000-$245,00
This high-paying job isn’t made for someone fresh out of college. To snag this top job, you must be a seasoned technical director with 10 or more years of experience in infrastructure engineering, software, or hardware. If you do have what it takes, Glassdoor estimates you’ll make $178,741 — that’s the average base pay for cloud technical directors nationwide.
Creative Director, Creative Video Content, Apple
- Estimated Salary: $80,000-$160,000
This high-paying position is just one of many jobs at Apple you can score without a degree, provided you can demonstrate “equivalent experience.” That includes 10 years in creative content at a “high-performance video service organization.” Glassdoor estimates the median salary for video creative directors across the country to be $120,206.
Siri, Machine Learning Engineer – Data Analytics at Apple
- Estimated Salary: $90,000-$174,000
In case you still aren’t convinced that Apple is a great place to find a job, another thing Cook recently said was, “our company, as you know, was founded by a college drop-out, so we’ve never really thought that a college degree was the thing that you had to have to do well.” Case in point, the machine learning engineer and data analytics position. Qualified applicants for this high-paying job have engineered metrics and statistical information out of massive and complex datasets.
New Product Operations Program Manager, Consumer Hardware at Google
- Estimated salary: $64,000-$168,000
This high-paying job at Google doesn’t require an MBA or even a bachelor’s degree — but it helps. To be qualified for the position, the applicant must have five years of working experience in a field like management/manufacturing, new product introduction/supply chain, or operations engineering. Make sure you stand out in a sea of applicants with MBAs by bringing your leadership wins to the interview. According to Glassdoor, the median national salary for this kind of work is $103,979.
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Andrew Lisa contributed to the reporting for this article.
Job postings and salaries were sourced on July 22, 2021, and are subject to change at the companies’ discretion. Salary information was sourced directly from individual job postings or the employment website Glassdoor.com.