12 High-Paying Skills You Can Develop for Your Career

By Indeed Editorial Team

Updated December 13, 2022

Published March 12, 2020

The Indeed Editorial Team comprises a diverse and talented team of writers, researchers and subject matter experts equipped with Indeed's data and insights to deliver useful tips to help guide your career journey.

Many employers in various industries want to hire employees who have specialized skill sets to perform specific tasks. As you plan your career, it may be helpful to know about some skills you can develop to increase your earning potential as an employee. Knowing what in-demand skills employers seek in candidates can help you earn a competitive salary in your industry.

In this article, we define high-paying skills, list 12 high-paying skills in various industries and describe common professions that use these skills to help you explore your earning potential.

What are high-paying skills?

High-paying skills refer to specific abilities you possess that may help you earn a higher salary as an employee. Often, high-paying skills are technical abilities that directly relate to a specific role or industry, such as project management or financial planning. These skills vary by industry, and many employers offer competitive salaries and benefits packages to attract exceptionally qualified candidates with these particular skills and knowledge.

Related: 20 In-Demand Skills for Today's Work Environment

12 high-paying skills

Here are 12 high-paying skills in the workforce and typical jobs that use these skills, along with their average salaries, to help you explore your earning potential. For the most up-to-date salary information from Indeed, click the salary links.

1. Project management

Project management involves organizing resources, managing deadlines and leading teams to achieve project goals. Common project management skills include technical abilities, such as budget management, data analysis and software proficiency, along with various soft skills, including leadership, critical thinking and communication. Many industries, such as information technology, construction and law, employ project managers who use their skills to oversee projects successfully. Here are some jobs that use this skill:

  • Project manager: This type of manager uses these skills to plan and execute various projects for a client or organization. They make $80,295 per year.

  • Construction manager: A construction manager uses project management skills to oversee a construction project's deadlines, resources and budget. They make $81,916 per year.

Related: 20 Essential Skills Every Project Manager Should Have

2. Mobile application development

This skill refers to the creative and programming processes used to develop an application for mobile devices, such as smartphones or tablets. This skill requires knowledge of mobile user interface design, graphic design, cross-platform application development, programming skills and other related abilities. Employers often seek candidates with a background in computer knowledge, programming languages and user experience (UX) and user interface (UI) design. Some jobs requiring mobile application development skills include:

  • Mobile app developer: Developers use mobile application development to create software applications that can run on various mobile devices. They make $123,303 per year.

  • Mobile software developer: A mobile developer uses these skills to write code and build applications for various mobile technologies. Software developers make $127,567 per year.

Related: Mobile App Developer Skills: Definition and Examples

3. Cloud computing

Cloud computing means using the internet to send a computer system's available resources to various devices on the same network. These services include files, email, software, servers and other tools and applications. Cloud computing involves soft skills, like organization and attention to detail, and hard skills, such as knowledge of computer systems and programming languages. Employees use these skills to change and monitor how businesses store data. Professions requiring cloud computing skills include:

  • Cloud software engineer: This engineer uses cloud computing to oversee cloud systems development and maintenance. They make $121,447 per year.

  • Cloud software architect: A cloud software architect uses cloud computing to work within a cloud architecture consisting of a front- and back-end platform, cloud-based delivery and a network. They make $133,042 per year.

Related: 6 Valuable Skills for Cloud Architects To Develop

4. Artificial intelligence

Artificial intelligence (AI) is the study, creation and application of computer systems performing tasks formerly done only by humans. This skill is dominant in the computer science industry and requires mathematical skills, programming skills and knowledge of statistics and probability. Artificial intelligence is important because many industries view it as the future of decision-making. Here are some jobs that use this skill:

  • Data engineer: A data engineer uses artificial intelligence to test machine learning models and apply them to AI-infused applications or platforms. They make $136,443 per year.

  • Algorithm developer: Professionals in this role use artificial intelligence skills to understand and create machine learning algorithms. They make $163,676 per year.

Related: 12 Machine Learning and Artificial Intelligence Jobs

5. Sales leadership

Sales leadership skills refer to leading a sales team to generate a profit or overall revenue. Many businesses seek sales leaders with specific technical skills, including customer relationship management, sales planning and mathematics. Some examples of soft skills related to sales leadership include communication, leadership and motivation. Sales leadership skills extend to various industries, such as real estate, technology and financial services. Some professions that require sales leadership skills include:

  • Sales manager: Managers use sales leadership skills to communicate sales goals with their team and motivate them to reach those goals within a specific time frame. These professionals make $67,296 per year.

  • Sales engineer: Sales engineers use these skills to communicate a customer's technical requests and find solutions to fulfill customer needs. They make $86,900 per year.

  • Sales director: This type of director uses sales leadership skills to oversee and manage a sales department. They make $96,335 per year.

Related: What Is Sales Leadership?

6. Analytical reasoning

Analytical reasoning is assessing information and recognizing patterns within the data to 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 jobs in other industries require you to analyze speech, documents and graphs to gather useful information. Some common roles that use analytical reasoning skills include:

  • Accountant: An accountant uses this skill to analyze their client's finances and find discrepancies. They make $59,358 per year.

  • Business analyst: Business analysts use analytical reasoning to evaluate a business's processes through data and determine areas for improvement. They make $81,618 per year.

  • Criminal investigator: This role requires analytical reasoning to examine various aspects of a crime to provide facts for a criminal trial. They make $90,005 per year.

Related: Analytical Skills in the Workplace: Definitions and Examples

7. Web design

Employees with web design skills have a combination of technical and artistic skills to help them create websites. Some common web development skills include user experience design, programming, design software, graphic design, typography and search engine optimization. Soft skills related to web development include organization, creativity and problem-solving. Many businesses want to hire employees to enhance their websites, drive traffic and boost online sales. Some professions that require web design skills include:

  • Web administrator: A web administrator uses these skills to develop, maintain and troubleshoot websites to keep them functioning correctly for users. They make $66,282 per year.

  • UX designer: User experience (UX) designers use web design skills to create digital products focused on design, branding and usability to ensure an optimal user experience. They make $98,454 per year.

Related: 16 Essential Web Designer Skills (And How To Improve Them)

8. People management

People management refers to the skills used to supervise and lead groups of people. Soft skills related to people management include communication, leadership and adaptability. People management may include technical abilities, such as scheduling, budgeting and workplace training. Many industries, such as finance, education and technology, employ those with people management skills to motivate and lead teams. Some jobs that use this skill include:

  • Human resources generalist: This position requires people management skills to complete a company's daily human resources tasks. They make $61,156 per year.

  • Chief people officer: A chief people officer uses these skills to oversee all aspects of a company's human resources department. They make $145,695 per year.

Related: Guide to People Management: Definition, Tips and Skills

9. Video production

Video production involves the creation of video content. Employees with video production skills plan the filming process, capture video using a camera and combine video clips using video editing software. Many employers want to hire those with video production skills to create authentic, emotional content for creative or marketing purposes. Here are some jobs that use this skill:

  • Video production specialist: This type of specialist uses video production skills to create and edit videos for various purposes, such as education, entertainment or promotion. Production specialists make $69,979 per year.

  • Videographer: A videographer uses video production skills to perform everyday duties, such as composing shots and operating a camera. They make $108,996 per year.

Related: 15 Careers in Video Production To Consider

10. Audio production

Employees with audio production skills use recording equipment and editing tools to produce clear audio to meet the creative needs of various projects. Those in the filmmaking and music industries use this skill through the multiple states of audio production, including songwriting, arranging, recording, editing, mixing and mastering. Employers want to hire those with this skill to ensure the sound for various projects is working and sounding right. Here are some jobs that use this skill:

  • Acoustic consultant: An acoustic consultant uses audio production skills to design or modify rooms, buildings and other spaces to enhance audio quality. They make $77,543 per year.

  • Audio engineer: Audio engineers use these skills to adjust sound sources. They make $104,477 per year.

Related: 22 Jobs in the Audio Production Industry (With Tips)

11. Translation

This skill refers to communicating a message from one language to another. It requires knowledge of one or more foreign languages. Those with translation skills also use their cultural intelligence to communicate with different groups of people. Cross-cultural businesses with international offices, partners or clients want employees with translation skills. It can also be a helpful skill in various other industries, including education, government and technology. Some professions requiring translation skills include:

  • Translator: A translator uses these skills to change text in one language to a different one. They make $54,785 per year.

  • Diplomatic agent: Diplomatic agents use their translation skills to work as intermediaries between two countries and help facilitate negotiations. They make $97,444 per year.

Related: Translator Skills: Definition and Examples

12. Financial planning

Financial planning is the ability to select the best financing options for an individual or company after a thorough assessment. Financial planning includes various soft skills, such as communication and organization. It also requires specific technical abilities, such as budgeting and data analysis. Financial planning is an important skill in finance because it allows you to plan strategic monetary goals. Here are some jobs that use this skill:

  • Financial planner: A financial planner uses these skills to plan their clients' finances and select the best investment and savings opportunities to help them reach specific savings goals. They make $78,252 per year.

  • Financial adviser: This professional uses financial planning skills to provide clients with informed recommendations regarding their finances, including taxes, savings and investments. They make $80,355 per year.

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