Employers often look for candidates with a broad range of skills, but some industries or employers may require certain specialized skills as well. As an employee, it’s beneficial to have high-paying skills that can earn you a competitive salary in your industry.
In this article, we outline some high-paying skills you can develop and demonstrate how various careers use each skill.
What are high-paying skills?
High-paying skills refer to specific abilities you possess that employees provide you with increased compensation for. High-paying skills tend to be hard skills that are more technical and specifically apply to your chosen field. These skills vary by industry, and many employers offer competitive salary and benefits packages to attract exceptionally qualified candidates with these particular skills and knowledge.
Related: Hard Skills vs. Soft Skills
Top high-paying skills
The following high-paying skills are some of the most sought after skills across a variety of job markets and industries. Here is a list of 12 high-paying skills and a few careers that frequently employ these skills on the job:
- Project management
- Mobile application development
- Cloud computing
- Artificial intelligence
- Sales leadership
- Analytical reasoning
- U.S. taxation
- People management
- Video production
- Audio production
- Financial planning
1. Project management
Project management involves organizing resources, managing goals and deadlines and leading teams to meet expectations. Industries such as information technology, construction and law have project managers that use their skills to successfully direct and execute a project. Common project management skills include leadership skills, critical thinking, time management and communication skills. Project management skills are important because they enforce organization and productivity. Here are some jobs that use this skill:
- Project manager: They use these skills to plan and execute a variety of projects for a client or organization. They make $83,912 per year.
- Construction manager: This professional uses project management skills to oversee the deadlines, resources and budget of a construction project. They make $81,787 per year.
2. Mobile application development
This skill refers to the creative and programming process used to develop an application for mobile devices, like cell phones or tablets. Having this skill requires knowledge of mobile user interface design, graphic design, cross-platform application development, programming skills and other related abilities. Employers often seek employees with a background in computer knowledge, programming languages, UX and UI design skills and the ability to perform cross-platform development. Here are some jobs that use this skill:
- Mobile software developer: This professional uses these skills to build applications for various mobile technology through the use of programming languages. Developers make $92,960 per year.
- Mobile app developer: They use mobile application development to create software applications that can run on a variety of iOS and Android mobile devices. They make $124,487 per year.
3. Cloud computing
Cloud computing refers to using the internet to send a computer system’s on-demand, available resources to various devices on the same network. These services can include files, email, software, servers and other tools and applications. The three types of cloud computing services including software-as-a-service, infrastructure-as-a-service and platform-as-a-service. Cloud computing involves soft skills, like organization and attention to detail, and hard skills, like knowledge of computer systems and programming languages. Professionals use this skill to change how businesses operate and how they store data. Here are some jobs that use this skill:
- Cloud software engineer: This job uses cloud computing to oversee cloud systems development and maintenance. They make $124,605 per year.
- Cloud software architect: This job uses cloud computing to work within a cloud architecture made up of a front-and back-end platform, a cloud-based delivery and a network. They make $139,822 per year.
4. Artificial intelligence
Artificial intelligence is the study, creation and application of computer systems performing tasks formerly only completed by humans. This skill is dominant in the computer science industry and also requires the use of mathematical skills, programming skills and knowledge of statistics and probability. Artificial intelligence is important because many industry professionals view it as the future of decision making. Here are some jobs that use this skill:
- Algorithm developer: This job needs artificial intelligence skills to understand and create machine learning algorithms. They make $117,899 per year.
- Data engineer: This job uses artificial intelligence to test their own machine learning models and make use of them through the creation of AI-infused applications or other means. They make $127,619 per year.
5. Sales leadership
Sales leadership skills refer to your ability to lead a company or organization’s sales to generate a profit or overall revenue. Several businesses want employees with sales leadership skills, which is why it’s one of the more highly paid abilities to have. Some examples of sales leadership skills include communication, leadership and motivation.
Sales leadership skills extend to various industries including real estate, technology and financial services. Here are some jobs that use this skill:
- Sales manager: They use their sales leadership skills to communicate sales goals with their team and motivate them to reach these goals by a certain date. These professionals make $76,067 per year.
- Sales director: This job uses sales leadership skills to oversee and manage a sales department. They make $110,292 per year.
- Sales engineer: Sales engineers use this skill to communicate a customer’s technical requests among their other responsibilities. They make $110,745 per year.
6. Analytical reasoning
Analytical reasoning is the ability to assess information and recognize patterns within it and make inferences. It involves critically thinking through problems, reaching conclusions quickly and reviewing thought processes. Fields such as data science, business analytics and accounting use analytical reasoning skills. Many roles in other industries require professionals to analyze speech, documents and graphs to gather useful information. Here are some jobs that use this skill:
- Criminal investigator: This job uses analytical reasoning to examine various aspects of a crime to provide facts for a criminal trial. They make $50,312 per year.
- Accountant: This job uses this skill to analyze their client’s finances and find discrepancies. They make $56,401 per year.
- Business analyst: Business analysts use analytical reasoning to evaluate a business’s processes through data and determine room for improvement. They make $77,240 per year.
7. U.S. taxation
U.S. taxation as a skill refers to understanding the principles of federal, state and local taxes imposed by the government. It also involves your understanding of the system’s key components including tax returns, tax strategies and various related implications. Some applicable hard and soft skills for U.S. taxation include mathematical skills, analytical skills, ability to use tax software and attention to detail. This skill is important because it helps professionals serve several U.S. citizens who pay taxes. Here are some jobs that use this skill:
- Tax specialist: They use U.S. taxation skills to prepare quarterly and annual tax provisions for companies and individuals. They make $60,521 per year.
- Tax accountant: These professionals use this skill to prepare payments and identify tax savings and discrepancies for companies and individuals. They make $64,239 per year.
- Tax manager: Tax managers use U.S. taxation skills to create a tax plan for their clients. They make $108,780 per year.
8. People management
People management refers to the skills used to supervise and lead groups of people, including several soft skills like communication training, leadership and adaptability. Many industries, including finance, education and technology, need employees with people management skills. This skill allows workplaces and teams to work more effectively and efficiently. Here are some jobs that use this skill:
- Human resources generalist: This job uses people management skills to complete the daily human resources tasks for a company. They make $57,445 per year.
- Chief people officer: This job uses people management skills to oversee all aspects of a company’s human resources department. They make $134,750 per year.
9. Video production
Video production refers to the creation of video content. Professionals with video production skills plan the filming process, capture video content using a camera and combine video clips on a computer using video editing software. This skill is important because it allows for the capture of authentic and emotional content for a variety of creative or marketing purposes. Here are some jobs that use this skill:
- Production assistant: They use this skill to assist the film crew or editor with their video-capturing needs. They make $28,558 per year.
- Video production specialist: This job uses video production skills to create and edit videos for various purposes. Production specialists make $29,890 per year.
- Videographer: This job uses video production skills to perform their everyday duties, like composing shots and operating a camera. They make $55,078 per year.
10. Audio production
Audio production refers to audio recording and editing that ensures clear audio that meets the creative needs of various projects. Professionals in the filmmaking and music industry use this skill through the various states of audio production including songwriting, arranging, recording, editing, mixing and mastering. Audio production skills are important because they ensure the sound for various projects is working and sounding properly. Here are some jobs that use this skill:
This skill refers to the ability to communicate a message from one language into another. A wide variety of industries use translation skills including the education sector, government entities and the technology industry. The ability to translate requires knowledge of one or more foreign languages. Having translation skills also means having the ability to listen, write, use a computer, observe and have some degree of cultural intelligence. Cross-cultural businesses with international offices, partners or clients want employees with translation skills, in particular. Here are some jobs that use this skill:
12. Financial planning
Financial planning is the ability to select the best financing options for a company, organization or individual after thoroughly assessing the feasible options. This also involves having communication skills, analytical skills and organizational skills. Financial planning is an important skill to have in the finance industry because it allows professionals to plan strategic monetary goals. Here are some jobs that use this skill:
- Financial planner: They use these skills to plan their client’s finances and select the best investment and savings opportunities that help them reach specific savings goals. They make $62,028 per year.
- Financial advisor: This job uses financial planning skills to provide clients with informed recommendations regarding their finances, including taxes, savings and investments. They make $67,412 per year.