Have you ever felt like earning $100k was just completely out of reach? When you’re on the outside looking in, the thought of earning double or triple your salary can seem daunting. Won’t I need a law degree? Or a medical career? Or will I need to build the next big app?
While that last one might help you get there, earning $100k per year is definitely within reach if you work in tech, and for many of high paying jobs in the industry, you won’t even need to head back to school.
While you’ll need to build your skills and get some experience under your belt to start really raking in the dough, you can soon find yourself with a 6-figure position doing fascinating (and meaningful) work in the world of tech.
And before you start worrying about if you’re really cut out for tech—Am I too artistic? Not good enough at math? Not 21?—don’t worry. Even though tech might seem one-dimensional from the outside, there is actually a huge variety of work you can do with tech skills. From design to development and data to DevOps, a career that fits your interest with pay that will fill your bank account can really be within your reach.
Now, for many jobs in tech, just like anywhere, you’ll need experience to start earning the really big bucks. The difference is that in tech, the barrier to entry is much lower (think: 5 years and some ambition rather than 15 years and 3 degrees). And of course, the amount you earn can depend on where you live.
And if you’re ready to start earning but not sure you have the tech skills you need to get into the industry, download The Ultimate Guide to Landing Your First Developer Job to find out exactly what it’s going to take to get in the game. And if you haven’t done it yet, join Skillcrush’s free email course, the 10-Day Tech Term Bootcamp to get an idea of what it’s like to learn to code.
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If you’re the visual type and you get a kick out of creating all kinds of gorgeousness, web design is the place for you. An experienced senior web designer can make up to $103,000, and, as the job listing below shows, you don’t even need a CS degree to get a job like this.
UI (user interface) or UX (user experience) designers are experts in knowing what users want and need. They work to create sites and apps that are easy to use and keep visitors happy. Designers in both positions can make into the 6 figures, with UI designers’ salaries up to $106,000 and UX designers’ up to $121,000.
Your superpowers as a UI/UX designer will include wireframing, mock-ups, user research and analysis, and strong design fundamentals.
But maybe when it comes to working on the web, the design elements that go into creating an awesome site aren’t your cup of tea—maybe you’re more interested in actually building the site and writing the code that can make those designs real. As a web developer, you’ll be doing exactly that and, with experience, making as much as $105,000 a year.
Add to that frameworks like Backbone.js, Angular.js, or Node.js and libraries like jQuery that let you create organized code more easily and quickly, and you’ll have employers knocking on your door.
Ruby on Rails developer
Right now, it can’t get any hotter—or more fun—than Ruby on Rails. It’s a web application framework written for the Ruby programming language that lets you make sites, web apps, and databases…and get paid up to $136,000!
Get into this kind of job with a foundation in Ruby and the command line. Then, jump into frameworks and databases and deployment and testing. Soon you’ll be ready to create genius custom web apps up there with the likes of Airbnb, Twitter, Hulu, Github, and Indiegogo.
WordPress / PHP developer
What exactly is WordPress, you ask? Just the world’s most popular Content Management System (CMS), with over 60 million sites built on it, including plenty of sites you know and love. Makes sense that knowing WordPress can let you rake in as much as $103,000 annually.
As a WordPress Developer, you’ll use WordPress and PHP (the language behind it) to make functional websites with all the bells and whistles that WordPress provides. And you’ll take advantage of plugins, themes, and API integration to power them even further.
Is your phone’s home screen always sporting the latest and greatest new app? And are you constantly thinking about how you could create some apps yourself, and probably do it even better? Then mobile development might be for you. And I’m guessing you wouldn’t mind a $130,000 a year salary, right?
Since mobile is growing fast, it’s a great field to get into if you want to up your earning power fast.
Quality assurance (QA) engineers are like the CSI’s of the tech world. They investigate every nook and cranny of sites or programs to make sure they’re functioning like they should, and they’re the ones who clear up the glitches that would otherwise have users ranting at their laptops. (Admit it—you’ve been known to “talk” to your machine every now and then, haven’t you?) Become a techy Sherlock, and you can make $102,000 with experience.
In QA, you’ll test and document all kinds of apps and software and analyze the results. If you’re super detail-oriented and have the patience to stick with a mystery until it’s solved, quality assurance is a great way to start your career in tech as well as a lucrative long-term role.
It may sound like an 80’s punk rock band (whip it good!), but DevOps (short for “development operations”) is actually a way to help development, operations, and quality work better together. Get into that area, and you can really profit with an annual salary of around $151,000.
Looking for the biggest of the big bucks? Data architecture is a field that will really let you bring home the bacon – and the caviar, truffles, and champagne too, if that’s what you’re hungry for — with a salary of up to $157,000 a year!
Data architects design and build data collection, processing, and storage systems. That means you’ll need to be a wizard with databases and storage options plus be a true logical and big-picture thinker while still coming up with creative solutions and managing the details. A demanding role for sure, but definitely an interesting one that’ll let you finally relax about your finances.
So, stop just dreaming about actually liking what you do and doing more than making ends meet. Get a taste of tech now with our free 10-day Skillcrush Bootcamp. You’ll learn important tech terms and even get a chance to try some coding yourself. Or download our free ebook, The Ultimate Guide to Landing Your First Developer Job, to find out how to get in the game.
And, when you’re ready to learn the skills you need for a high-paying, high-five job in tech, join us for a Skillcrush Career Blueprint. We’ve got you covered with web design, web development, WordPress, Ruby on Rails, and mobile web design. And, in just three short months, you can be on your way to $100k or more with your very own dream career in tech.
Salary estimates are for mid-career experience levels (unless otherwise mentioned) and based on information from PayScale
Kelli handles customer support here at Skillcrush – plus she's an early alum of Skillcrush 101! She's also taken advanced web development classes and has been an organizer in the Helsinki Rails Girls chapter.