7 High-Income Skills Worth Learning in 2024

Written by Coursera Staff • Updated on

Discover how developing these seven skills could lead to more job opportunities and a bigger salary.

[Featured image] Two men and a woman meet at a conference table with an office window in the background.

Every job requires some combination of workplace and technical skills; chances are, you have already built an impressive skill set derived from your education or past work experience.

According to a 2022 report from the global firm McKinsey & Company [1], high-income skills are tools and expertise that employers tend to value highly and may make it easier to change jobs and even industries. These job skills may be rare but are often crucial to running a successful business.

You may want to highlight your high-income skills in your portfolio as you aim to level up or shift your career focus. Depending on your desired career path, you may be able to leverage these skills to reach your salary goals.

7 high-income skills to learn

Below, you’ll find seven high-income skills you can feature on your resume to help stand out to potential employers. To build this list, we looked at reports forecasting the most in-demand skills through 2030 from the World Economic Forum, Pearson, Future Learn, LinkedIn, Glassdoor, and Coursera.

The skills listed here are all transferable across many career paths. As you read this list, consider your career goals, past experiences, and the job descriptions of your desired roles, and notice whether any of these skills may naturally facilitate your path.

1. Data analysis

The World Economic Forum’s Future of Jobs Report forecasts analytical thinking and innovation as the top skills for businesses [2]. As businesses across industries increasingly rely on data to make informed decisions, they require more employees with the ability to collect, interpret, and share data to solve their business problems.

Those skilled in data analysis may use various tools, including Microsoft Excel, Google Sheets, SQL, Tableau, R, or Python.

Some careers that use data analysis skills, along with average base pay in Canada are:

  • Applications engineer - $75,077 [5]

  • Systems developer - $83,776 [6]

  • Software engineer - $99,578 [7]

2. Software development

Industries are increasingly turning toward technology to advance their business capabilities, and they need people skilled in developing, maintaining, and improving their technological systems. People in DevOps or software engineering build, monitor, and control an organization’s technology.

People skilled in DevOps or software engineering may use tools like Git, Docker, Jenkins, or Kubernetes, and may know coding languages like Python, Java, or C++.

Some careers that use software development skills, along with average base pay in Canada are:

  • Applications engineer - $75,077 [5]

  • Systems developer - $83,776 [6]

  • DevOps engineer - $97,580 [8]

3. User experience

Hand in hand with technological development comes user experience (UX), which concerns how a consumer interacts with a product. People working in UX determine the best way to present a product to consumers. They may conduct research, design, or help market a product.

Although they still involve some data, UX roles are grounded in design and tend to offer room for creativity. They also require a high level of social perceptiveness—three skills that come up in multiple skill reports [2, 3, 4].

Some careers that use user experience skills, along with average base pay in Canada are:

  • UX writer - $77,259 [9]

  • UX researcher - $80,044 [10]

  • User interface (UI) designer - $77,259 [11]

4. Web development

Web development combines the fundamentals of software development and user experience, incorporating the former's technical aspects with the latter's design elements. People skilled in web development will also be familiar with technical search engine optimization (SEO) to design and program websites that meet business needs.

Some careers that use web development skills, along with average base pay in Canada are:

  • Front-end developer - $74,056 [12]

  • Full-stack developer - $78,232 [13]

  • Back-end developer - $77,519 [14]

5. Project management

Many companies use an organizational structure in which different departments, teams, or team members work on a singular product or project. A person who can coordinate efforts across those touchpoints is skilled in project management. These team members may be responsible for maintaining schedules, organizing budgets, and communicating with project stakeholders or various parties interested or invested in the project outcomes.

You can consider “project management” a catch-all term for leadership, communication, planning, resilience, and organizational skills—all of which are frequently cited as valuable to employers [2, 3, 4, 5].

Project management appears in many careers and becomes especially important as you move into managerial positions. However, you can also pursue a career as a project manager. 

Some careers that use project management skills, along with average base pay in Canada are:

  • Project coordinator - $61,423 [15]

  • Program manager - $91,093 [16]

  • Portfolio manager - $128,049 [17]

6. Account management and sales

While project management typically has an internal focus, account management taps into a similar subset of skills to work with people outside your organization. Often highly valued in sales positions, account management skills enable you to position your company and its products to customers confidently.

Account management skills incorporate the organizational aspects required to close a business deal and the interpersonal skills required to negotiate and maintain relationships productively. Account managers often use a customer relationship management (CRM) tool like Salesforce.

Some careers that use account management and sales skills, along with average base pay in Canada are:

  • Account manager - $72,303 [18]

  • Business development associate - $56,647 [19]

  • Business development manager -$90,096 [20]

7. Content creation and management

Content creation and management skills involve storytelling and are often crucial for marketing careers. This skill set incorporates creativity, originality, social perceptiveness, and emotional intelligence. Taking these skills a step further can also mean adding data analysis to your toolbox, specifically homing in on marketing analytics so you can assess how well an audience connects with your content.

Some careers that use account management and sales skills, along with average base pay in Canada are:

  • Social media manager - $56,562 [21]

  • Content marketing manager - $58,751 [22]

  • Brand marketing manager - $64,567 [23]

Keep learning

You can build many skills through regular work activities, but you can also bolster your skill set with outside classes or certifications. To determine the best skills to increase your earning potential, visit the Career Academy on Coursera. Here, you’ll get an in-depth look at the key skills across many career paths and can find specific online courses for each one.

Give your team access to a catalog of 8,000+ engaging courses and hands-on Guided Projects to help them develop impactful skills. Learn more about Coursera for Business.


Article sources


McKinsey & Company. “The Great Attrition is making hiring harder. Are you searching the right talent pools?, https://www.mckinsey.com/capabilities/people-and-organizational-performance/our-insights/the-great-attrition-is-making-hiring-harder-are-you-searching-the-right-talent-pools.” Accessed June 4, 2024.

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