Doctor, lawyer, engineer — these popular, high-powered careers are almost certain to earn you a healthy six-figure salary relatively early in your career. However, it isn’t easy to become a doctor, a lawyer or an engineer; all three professions require extensive education, training, and effort. Fortunately, that isn’t the case with all six-figure careers. The following professions are relatively easy to break into and offer high salaries from the get-go, ensuring you optimize your earnings early in your career.
Generally, a solutions architect is half-developer, half-sales. Integral members of software companies, solutions architects work with customers to apply company tools to existing problems. The most important skills claimed by top-tier solutions architects are communication and problem-solving, followed closely by an intimate knowledge of their company products. Most often, solutions architects have some sort of degree in tech plus a few years with a single software provider. For their expertise, they earn upwards of $118,000 per year.
Not quite in development and not quite in operations — just right in the middle — DevOps engineers help develop programs that streamline operations. Your responsibilities in this position would include coding, data management and communication and collaboration. Unlike other careers on this list, there is no clear path into DevOps; most professionals find their way into these roles through computer science studies, but any kind of tech-focused undergraduate online degrees might fit well. For this, you could take home a starting salary of $100,000.
User experience, or UX, makes or breaks a tech product when it hits the market. Thus, UX designers are paid well to produce devices and interfaces that consumers like and want. UX is as much an art as it is science; you need a background in IT to understand capabilities and limitations, but you should also have a sense of creativity and aesthetics to produce fresh-seeming designs. In truth, beginners in UX typically only earn about $92,500 per year, but with some experience and the right employer, you can earn six figures.
Big Data is swiftly becoming the most valuable weapons in a business’s arsenal, and the professional best equipped to use that weapon is the analytics manager. Analytics managers aren’t tasked with collecting data, but they are outstanding at understanding what it means and leveraging it to improve businesses in various ways. Experience in the STEM fields is vital for analytics managers; in fact, unlike other careers on this list, math is of special significance. For their unique and in-demand abilities, analytics managers earn an easy $112,000 per year.
Unfortunately, this career isn’t exactly as it seems: It isn’t about building humanoid robots. Instead, Android engineers develop apps for Android-operating phones, like the Samsung Galaxy series and the Google Pixel. Android is a much larger and more accepting market for app developers than Apple, so there are more positions available for Android engineers. Plus, you don’t need a degree; you only need to master Java and Android SDK. For that, you could take home $100,800 in salary.
Business intelligence, or BI, is the transformation of data from useless numbers to useful information and the application of that information to business strategy, tactics and operations. A BI architect typically builds and manages a data warehouse, where other data professionals, like analytics managers, can retrieve the data they need to address business problems. Because data is so hot right now, almost everyone associated with it can earn big bugs, including BI architects who usually take home more than $104,000.
For every product, there is at least one product manager. Product managers follow products through ideation, development, production, and distribution to ensure that products are always on-schedule and on-budget. Because they apply business-related skills, product managers are helped by business courses, but a background in tech is useful for better understanding products and communicating with tech professionals. For this outstanding attention to detail, product managers earn around $108,000 per year.
Admittedly, this one is a bit of a stretch — you’ve probably heard of web developers before. Yet, despite the emergence of plug-and-play website creators like SquareSpace and Homestead, experienced web developers are in greater demand than ever before. You can break into web development without a formal degree by playing around with WebDev tricks and tools. As you gain more knowledge and skill, you can begin selling your services to clients, earning up to $105,000 per year — though the exact number depends on how much you work and how much you charge.