Top 10 Highest Paying Jobs & Careers 2024 (Inc Salaries)

Mark Talmage-Rostron
July 18, 2024 · 18 min read

Explore the Highest-Paying Jobs & Careers, from AI to Surgeons. Learn the skills, education, and salaries needed for success in these lucrative fields. Start your journey today!

"Money, money, money. Must be funny. In a rich man's world." Those are just some of the lyrics of the famous song penned by the Swedish supergroup ABBA in 1976. Whilst many get a great deal of satisfaction in helping people in their jobs, nurses and teachers included, the cold hard fact of people working for a living is that they want to earn more to enjoy a more comfortable life. So for those chasing the Pound, Euro or Yen, and for those who are looking to upskill to fatten up their bank account, there is a list of the 10 highest paying jobs in 2024 that LinkedIn have released.

The list is by no means exhaustive, and other experts will have jobs like Computer and Information Systems Managers, Oral and Maxillofacial surgeons, Airline Pilots, Chief Executives, and Financial Managers in their top 10, but the top 10 for most lists are kind of what you would expect at this current juncture of the global business landscape. With the explosion of Artificial Intelligence there is a massive need for AI Architects.

As more and more companies are making key business decisions based on the mining of masses of company data, Data Scientists are very much on the shopping list. And, as people like Elon Musk and Sir Richard Branson look to explore the world outside of the earth's atmosphere, so the need for Aerospace Engineers will grow with that too. But, and there is a very big but here, pretty much all top 10 jobs require a great deal of skill or  qualifications like at minimum an undergraduate degree program, you will also need a large helping of a determination to succeed if you are to make a fist of it and meet your financial goals. 

Top 10 Best Paying Jobs & Careers 2024 (Inc Salaries)

1. Artificial Intelligence Architect 

An Artificial Intelligence (AI) Architect is a professional responsible for designing and overseeing the development of AI systems and solutions. Their role involves a deep understanding of both the j aspects of AI technologies and the specific needs and requirements of the project or organization. To succeed in this arena, you will need a strong background in computer science, mathematics, and AI techniques such as machine learning, deep learning, natural language processing, and computer vision. You should also possess excellent problem-solving skills, critical thinking, and the ability to communicate complex technical concepts to different stakeholders.

Becoming an AI Architect requires a combination of education, skills, and practical experience in the field of AI and related technologies, but generally you will require: A Bachelor’s degree in Computer Science, Engineering, Mathematics, Statistics, or a related field. Pursuing a Master’s or Ph.D. in Artificial Intelligence, Machine Learning, Data Science, or a specialized AI-related field, as advanced degrees can offer deeper knowledge and expertise in AI technologies. Learning programming languages commonly used in AI such as Python, R, or languages suitable for working with AI frameworks like TensorFlow or PyTorch.

Understanding machine learning, deep learning, natural language processing (NLP), computer vision, and other AI subfields. Or, consider specialized training programs, bootcamps, or certifications in AI and related fields. There are many online courses and certifications offered by platforms like Coursera, Udacity, edX, and others, as well as certifications from technology companies like Google, Microsoft, and AWS.

The average annual salary for an Artificial Intelligence Architect in the US is $131,809.

AI Architect - best paying job and career

2. Chief Technology Officer 

Depending on the organization, a Chief Technology Officer (CTO) is a high-level executive within a company responsible for overseeing the technological aspects of the organization. They play a crucial role in shaping the company's technical vision, strategies, and innovation initiatives, and possess a combination of technical expertise, leadership skills, strategic thinking, and business acumen. The role of a CTO is critical in driving technological innovation and ensuring that technology aligns with the organization's business objectives and future growth.

Becoming a Chief Technology Officer (CTO) is a career path that typically involves a combination of education, experience, and skills, but generally you will need to complete a bachelor's degree or graduate degree in a relevant field such as Computer Science or a related area, Information Technology, Engineering, or a related discipline. In addition, an advanced degree (Master's or Ph.D.) can provide a deeper understanding of specialized areas within technology. Gaining expertise in various aspects of technology, including software development, systems architecture, cloud computing, cybersecurity, data science, and emerging technologies (AI, machine learning, IoT, etc.).

Developing strong communication, problem-solving, decision-making, and interpersonal skills. Or, pursuing additional certifications, specialized training, or executive education programs focused on technology management, leadership, or business administration to enhance your qualifications. 

The average annual salary for a Chief Technology Officer in the US is $201,574 and is one of the highest-paying jobs in America from 2021 to 2031.

3. Data Scientist 

A Data Scientist is a professional who utilizes a combination of statistical knowledge, programming skills, domain expertise, and machine learning techniques to extract insights and knowledge from structured and unstructured data, and play a crucial role in analyzing complex data sets to identify patterns, trends, and correlations that can help organizations make data-driven decisions.

Becoming a Data Scientist involves a combination of education, technical skills, practical experience, and continuous learning, but generally you will need a bachelor's degree in a relevant field such as Computer Science, Statistics, Mathematics, Engineering, Economics, or a related quantitative discipline. Some universities also offer specialized programs in Data Science or Analytics. Learning programming languages commonly used in data science such as Python or R. Acquire skills in data manipulation, analysis, and visualization using libraries like Pandas, NumPy, Matplotlib/Seaborn, etc. Developing a strong understanding of statistics, probability, linear algebra, and calculus, which form the foundation of data analysis and machine learning.

Familiarizing yourself with data science tools and techniques including machine learning algorithms, predictive modeling, data preprocessing, feature engineering, and model evaluation. Or, considering pursuing a master's degree or taking specialized courses/certifications in Data Science, Machine Learning, or related fields. Online platforms like Coursera, edX, Udacity, and DataCamp offer numerous courses and certifications in data science. 

The average annual salary for a Data Scientist in the US is $156,438

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4. Blockchain Developer 

A Blockchain Developer is a specialized software developer who has expertise in creating and implementing applications, protocols, and systems using blockchain technology. These experts design, build, and maintain decentralized applications (dApps), smart contracts, and other blockchain-based solutions. The demand for blockchain developers continues to grow as businesses explore and implement blockchain solutions across various industries, including finance, supply chain, healthcare, and more. Therefore, staying updated with the latest trends and advancements in blockchain technology is crucial for professionals in this field.

Becoming a Blockchain Developer involves acquiring a combination of specialized skills, knowledge, and practical experience in blockchain technology, but generally you will require: Gaining a solid understanding of blockchain fundamentals, including how it works, its underlying principles (such as decentralization, consensus mechanisms, and cryptography), and its various use cases across industries. Acquiring proficiency in programming languages commonly used in blockchain development. Solidity is essential for smart contract development on Ethereum, but other languages like JavaScript, Python, Go, or C++ might also be useful, depending on the blockchain platform. Familiarizing yourself with different blockchain platforms like Ethereum, Hyperledger Fabric, Binance Smart Chain, or others.

Diving into smart contract development, as they are integral components of blockchain applications. Learn Solidity programming for Ethereum or other smart contract languages for different platforms. Practice writing, deploying, and testing smart contracts. Or, enrolling in online courses, workshops, or specialized certifications in blockchain development. Platforms like Coursera, Udemy, and Ethereum's own resources (such as Ethereum Developer documentation) offer courses covering various aspects of blockchain development.

 The average annual salary for a Blockchain Developer jobs in the U.S is $146,250.

5. Cybersecurity Manager 

A Cybersecurity Manager is a professional responsible for overseeing an organization's cybersecurity strategy, policies, and measures to protect its digital assets, systems, networks, and data from cyber threats, attacks, and vulnerabilities. They possess a deep understanding of cybersecurity principles, risk management, compliance, and relevant technologies, and play a critical role in managing and mitigating risks related to cybersecurity and ensuring the overall security posture of the organization.

Becoming a Cybersecurity Manager requires a blend of education, experience, technical skills, and leadership abilities, but generally you will require at least a bachelor's degree in a relevant field such as Computer Science, Information Technology, Cybersecurity, or a related discipline. Gaining expertise in cybersecurity concepts, including network security, cryptography, risk management, compliance, incident response, and security frameworks (such as NIST, ISO 27001, etc.). Acquiring proficiency in security technologies, tools, and systems commonly used in cybersecurity, such as firewalls, intrusion detection systems, encryption methods, SIEM (Security Information and Event Management), and penetration testing tools.

Obtaining industry-recognized certifications in cybersecurity, such as Certified Information Systems Security Professional (CISSP), Certified Information Security Manager (CISM), Certified Ethical Hacker (CEH), or other relevant certifications based on your career goals. Or, focusing on specialized areas within cybersecurity, such as cloud security, incident response, governance, risk management, or compliance. Specialization can enhance expertise and open up advanced career opportunities.

The average annual salary for a Cybersecurity Manager in the US is $151,489.

Surgeon - highest paying career

6. Surgeon 

A surgeon is a medical professional trained and skilled in providing medical care by performing surgical and medical procedures to diagnose and treat injuries, diseases, or abnormalities in the human body, specialize in various fields, and can focus on specific areas of the body or specific types of surgeries. To become one you must, amongst other key qualifications, obtain licensure, certifications, and may pursue fellowship training for further specialization within their field. 

Becoming a surgeon requires a rigorous educational path, specialized training, and a commitment to lifelong learning, but generally you will require: A bachelor's degree from an accredited college or university. While there's no specific major required for medical school, focus on science-related courses like biology, chemistry, physics, or mathematics. Preparing for and taking the MCAT, a standardized exam that assesses knowledge in biological and physical sciences, critical thinking, and problem-solving skills. The MCAT score is a crucial factor in medical school admissions. Enrolling in and completing a Doctor of Medicine (MD) or Doctor of Osteopathic Medicine (DO) program at an accredited medical school. Medical school typically lasts four years and includes classroom-based learning in basic medical sciences, clinical rotations in various specialties, and hands-on patient care experiences. Completing a residency program in surgery. Surgical residency programs typically last five to seven years or longer, depending on the chosen specialty. During residency, surgeons-in-training gain extensive hands-on experience in surgical procedures, patient care, and research under the guidance of experienced surgeons.

Finally, obtaining a medical license to practice surgery in the state or country where you intend to work. Licensure requirements vary by location and usually involve passing national medical licensing exams and meeting other state-specific requirements. Work in private practice is generally the best paid.

The average annual salary for a Surgeon in the US is $265,544. and is one of the top 10 jobs that pays well. According to the BLS (The Bureau of Labour Statistics), in the United States projected job growth in healthcare sections will be +13%, between 2021 and 2031. This will result in two million new job opportunities. Data from the BLS is generally reliable, with it being a fact-finding agency and functions as the main U.S. Federal Statistical System agency.

7. Software Engineer Manager 

A Software Engineer Manager is a professional responsible for overseeing a team of software engineers or developers within a company or organization. Their primary role involves managing the engineering team's workflow, projects, and resources to ensure the successful and timely delivery of software products or solutions. In essence, the role combines leadership skills with technical expertise to lead and manage a team of software engineers in developing high-quality software products that meet business needs.

Becoming a Software Engineer Manager you will typically need a bachelor's degree and a combination of technical expertise, leadership skills, and relevant experience, but generally you will require: Pursuing a degree in computer science, software engineering, or a related field. Acquiring proficiency in programming languages, software development methodologies, and other technical skills relevant to the industry.

Working as a software engineer to gain hands-on experience in developing software applications or computer systems. Taking on additional responsibilities within your software development roles by volunteering for leadership opportunities, such as leading a project or mentoring junior developers. Or, familiarizing yourself with project management methodologies like Agile, Scrum, or Kanban. 

The average annual salary for a Software Engineer Manager in the US is $156,100.

8. Petroleum Engineer 

A Petroleum Engineer is a specialized engineering professional who focuses on the exploration, extraction, production, and refinement of oil and natural gas resources. Their primary role revolves around designing and developing methods for extracting hydrocarbons from below the Earth's surface, and work in various settings, including oil companies, consulting firms, research institutions, and government agencies, contributing to the development and sustainability of the global energy supply.

Becoming a Petroleum Engineer involves a specific educational background, technical knowledge, and relevant experience, but generally you will require: A bachelor's degree in petroleum engineering, chemical engineering, or a related field such as mechanical engineering or geosciences. A degree in petroleum engineering specifically offers specialized coursework in drilling techniques, reservoir engineering, geology, and fluid mechanics. Acquiring technical skills related to the petroleum industry, including geology, reservoir analysis, drilling engineering, fluid mechanics, and computer modeling software used in the field.

Seeking internships or cooperative education programs with oil and gas companies or engineering firms. These opportunities provide hands-on experience and exposure to real-world projects, allowing you to apply theoretical knowledge in practical settings. Considering pursuing a master's degree or higher education in petroleum engineering for advanced knowledge and specialization in a particular aspect of the field. Advanced degrees can enhance career prospects for roles in research, management, or specialized technical job positions. 

The average annual salary for a Petroleum Engineer in the US is $128,260.

9. Investment Banker 

An investment Banker is a financial professional who works primarily in the investment banking division of a financial institution. These individuals provide a range of financial services to corporations, governments, institutions, and sometimes individuals, and their primary role involves facilitating capital raising, mergers and acquisitions (M&A), restructuring, and other financial advisory services. If you want to pursue this line of work you will need to be aware that you will be required to work in a fast-paced and demanding environment, often requiring long hours and a high level of dedication to meet client needs and deal deadlines.

Becoming an investment banker typically involves a combination of education, relevant experience, networking, and developing specific skills, but generally you will require: A bachelor's degree in finance, economics, business, accounting, or a related field. While not mandatory, having a degree related to finance or business can provide a strong foundation for a career in investment banking. Develop strong analytical, quantitative, and financial modeling skills. Familiarizing yourself with accounting principles, valuation techniques, corporate finance, and financial markets. Consider pursuing certifications like the Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA) or Financial Modeling to enhance your credentials.

Seeking internships or entry-level positions in financial institutions, investment banks, or related fields. These opportunities provide hands-on experience, exposure to the industry, and networking opportunities crucial for future career advancement. Or, considering pursuing a master's degree in finance, business administration (MBA), or a related field from a reputable institution. Advanced degrees can provide additional knowledge, credibility, and networking opportunities in the industry.

The average annual salary for an Investment Banker in the US is $144,771.

10. Aerospace Engineer 

An Aerospace Engineer is a professional who specializes in the design, development, testing, and production of aircraft, spacecraft, satellites, missiles, and other aerospace-related systems and components. If you choose this occupation you will get the chance to work in diverse settings, including aerospace companies, government agencies (such as NASA), research institutions, and defense contractors, and collaborate with multidisciplinary teams comprising other engineers, scientists, technicians, and professionals to bring aerospace projects from concept to reality. And it will pay well.

Becoming an Aerospace Engineer involves a combination of education, relevant experience, and developing specific skills, but generally you will require: A bachelor's degree in aerospace engineering, aeronautical engineering, or mechanical engineering with a specialization in aerospace. These programs provide a strong foundation in fundamental engineering principles, aerodynamics, propulsion, structures, and materials relevant to aerospace engineering. Developing strong mathematical, analytical, and problem-solving skills. Familiarize yourself with computer-aided design (CAD) software and other engineering tools used in aerospace design and analysis.

Pursuing a master's degree or Ph.D. in aerospace engineering for advanced knowledge and specialization in a particular area of aerospace, such as aerodynamics, propulsion, or space systems. Advanced degrees can open doors to specialized roles and research opportunities. Or, considering obtaining professional certifications or licenses relevant to aerospace engineering, which can add credibility to your qualifications. Certifications may vary based on specific areas within aerospace, such as systems engineering or aerospace project management.

The average annual salary for an Aerospace Engineer in the US is $140,356.


Being able to land a high paying job in 2024 involves either procuring a degree, practical experience, or on the job training. But generally experts maintain that it involves a combination of strategic planning, skill development, networking, and a proactive approach to job search. Remember, the job market can be dynamic and influenced by various factors, including economic conditions and industry trends. Being adaptable, flexible, and open to continuous learning and improvement is essential when seeking high-paying jobs.

If you are looking to land one of the top 10 highest paying jobs in 2024 with a top annual wage, there are many ways to get there. To land one of the varied high paying jobs, it would be best to consider job outlook, on the job training, gaining certificates, or obtaining either a BBA or an MBA degree from an internationally- recognized university such as Nexford

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What are the highest paying jobs in demand for the future? 

Nobody has a crystal ball, and hindsight is not an exact science, but when evaluating what the highest paying job openings are in the future are and the best jobs with or without a degree requirement, it's important to note that the job market is dynamic, and the demand for specific roles can change due to technological advancements, economic shifts, and emerging trends. Continuous learning, staying updated with industry developments, and acquiring in-demand skills relevant to evolving industries can help individuals prepare for high-paying jobs in the future. That said, the top ten would include: An Artificial Intelligence (AI) Architect, Chief Technology Officer, Data Scientist, Blockchain Developer, Cybersecurity Manager, Surgeon, Software Engineer Manager, Petroleum Engineer, Investment Banker, and Aerospace Engineer.

What are the most in-demand skills needed to get into a high paying career? 

In today's rapidly evolving job market, certain skills are highly sought after and can significantly enhance your chances of securing a high-paying career. These skills span various industries and job sectors and are valued for their applicability and adaptability. On the technical skills side it would be: Proficiency in programming languages such as Python, Java, JavaScript, or C++.

The ability to work with data, perform data analysis, and use tools like SQL, data visualization software (Tableau, Power BI), and statistical analysis (R, SAS) is crucial in many industries. Understanding cloud platforms like AWS, Azure, or Google Cloud and skills in cloud architecture and management are increasingly in demand. Knowledge of cybersecurity principles, threat detection,  and risk management. And, proficiency in AI, machine learning algorithms, and data modeling techniques is increasingly important across multiple industries.

On the soft skills side you would be advised to brush up on your: Critical thinking and problem-solving, adaptability and flexibility, communication skills, leadership and Management, and creativity and innovation. Overall, depending on the industry or career path you choose, industry-specific skills and knowledge play a crucial role. For instance, in finance, skills in financial analysis, risk management, and understanding financial markets are important. In healthcare, specialized medical skills or knowledge of healthcare technologies might be essential.

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What are some high-paying jobs you can get without a degree?

While many high-paying jobs traditionally require a degree or extensive formal education, some professions offer substantial earning potential without a four-year college degree. These careers often require specialized skills, certifications, apprenticeships, or significant on-the-job training.

In terms of the highest-paying jobs without a degree, here are some examples: Software Developer/Programmer, Web Developer, IT Technician or Network Administrator, Electrician, Plumber, Commercial Pilot (with relevant licenses/certificates), Real Estate Broker/Agent, and, Construction Manager/Supervisor. It's important to note that while some of these roles do not require a traditional four-year degree, they may require specialized certifications, licenses, vocational training, or apprenticeships.

Additionally, advancement and income potential in these fields often depend on gaining experience, acquiring additional skills, pursuing certifications, and demonstrating expertise in the chosen field.

How can I improve my chances of getting a high-paying job?

Improving your chances of securing a high-paying job involves a combination of strategic planning, skill development, networking, and continuous self-improvement. But generally there are some steps you can take to enhance your job outlook prospects and they include:

Acquire in-demand skills relevant to your desired industry or job role. Gaining practical experience through internships, co-op programs, or entry-level roles in your field of interest. Networking with professionals in your field by attending conferences, seminars, workshops, and industry-related events. Maintaining a professional online presence to showcase your expertise. Staying updated with industry trends by keeping abreast of the latest developments, technologies, and trends in your field.

Developing strong communication, teamwork, leadership, problem-solving, and critical thinking skills. And, tailoring your applications to highlight how your skills and experiences align with the employers needs.

Is a degree really necessary to get the best paying job?

While having a degree can significantly enhance your career prospects and open doors to various opportunities, it's not always an absolute requirement to obtain the best paying jobs. In some fields and industries, specialized skills, experience, certifications, or vocational training may carry more weight than a traditional four-year degree.

Here are some points to consider regarding the necessity of a degree for high-paying jobs: Some industries, such as technology, IT, healthcare, and skilled trades like programming, cybersecurity, or certain areas of engineering, prioritize skills and practical experience over a degree. Some individuals pursue alternative paths, such as attending coding bootcamps, completing vocational programs, obtaining industry-specific certifications, or engaging in apprenticeships to acquire specialized skills and enter well-paying professions. Some companies are revising their hiring criteria to focus more on skills, competencies, and real-world experience rather than emphasizing specific degrees. This trend is particularly notable in tech-related fields where self-taught programmers or developers can secure high-paying jobs based on their skills and portfolio. In certain professions like law, medicine, or academia, a degree is typically a prerequisite due to the required specialized knowledge, accreditation, or professional licensing necessary to practice in these fields.

Last but not least, while entry-level positions may be attainable without a degree in some fields, career advancement to higher positions such as management or leadership roles might require a combination of experience, additional education, or certifications.

To make sure that you get the soft skills and hard skills needed to start and build a lucrative career in Biotechnologies, download our free report today!

About the author
Mark Talmage-Rostron
Mark Talmage-Rostron

Mark is a college graduate with Honours in Copywriting. He is the Content Marketing Manager at Nexford, creating engaging, thought-provoking, and action-oriented content.

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