It does not matter whether you are self-employed or working a day job, there are a few strategies which will anyhow increase make your earning more powerful. And, no surprise, most of these tricks for earning more involve building up your tech skills.
Digital skills really are a surefire way to put yourself in another income bracket, and the good news? Expanding your skill set can pay off at the office, where you can leverage them for a raise, and also outside of the office, where tech skills can open up the door to profitable freelance work, even if you're relatively new to the industry.
1. Your current skills should be improved
Whether you are just starting out in tech or you are a seasoned pro, improving the skills you already have can be the quickest and easiest way to earn more money.
Let us say you are a web designer and you have been working on building static websites with HTML and CSS for a few months. Learning how to create more dynamic websites is a great way to expand your skills while capitalizing on whatever momentum you already have.
It is also a great idea to dive deeper into HTML and CSS by learning to build responsive websites the demand for them is only growing or to delve into a CSS preprocessor like Sass to increase your speed and capabilities building frontend sites.
But you do not just need to focus on tech skills to up your earning power. Let us say you have been working in content marketing for a few years, specializing in written content. Learning how to create other content, like podcasts or videos, greatly increases your versatility and your ability to provide value.
A quick way to figure out which skills you should focus on is to find someone you admire whos ahead of you in your chosen field. Then figure out which skills they have that you are lacking, and start there.
2. Coding skills should be learned
It is a fact. Generally speaking, web developers make more money than web designers. According to ITCareerFinder, web designers made $60,250â??$99,000 in 2014, while web developers made an average of $70,000$113,500 in the same year.
Learning more specialized coding skills, like app development or working with a particular CMS can push you toward the higher end of that salary range (or beyond it). WordPress is the most popular CMS out there, so that is a smart place to start.
Another great benefit is that web developers are in high demand. There are tens of thousands of job openings for developers in the U.S. alone. And job growth is predicted at 20% per year. That means you will have a wider range of jobs available to you, and more leverage when it comes to negotiating things like salary or benefits.
And coding skills have benefits that extend beyond just knowing how to throw a site on the web. They also help develop and improve your problem-solving skills, which can make you a much more valuable employee in general, even if coding isn't your primary job duty.
Learning coding skills don't have to take years. You can get a solid start (enough to find a job as a web developer) in just a few months.
3. Go Mobile
Mobile design and development is in huge demand right now and is likely to stay in demand as mobile device usage continues to grow.
There are two main avenues for getting into mobile. First, there are mobile designers, who specialize in designing the interfaces of web apps and mobile websites. Mobile designers can make well into the 6-figure range, without needing a bunch of coding knowledge (beyond knowing what's possible on the various mobile devices and operating systems).
It is not easy to design and develop mobile apps with a great user experience, which is why good mobile designers and developers are in such high demand.
The good news is that you don't have to go back to school to learn these skills. If you already have some general web design skills, mobile design isn't a huge leap. And if you want to develop mobile apps, you can transfer a lot of regular web dev skills to mobile, and learn the specifics while building basic apps with tutorials.
4. Side hustle should be started
A side hustle just means freelancing outside of your normal working hours. You can have a side hustle in virtually any tech-related field, from design to content marketing to development.
Another great thing about a side hustle is that it can let you build up a client base without quitting your day job before you have enough work to support yourself. Or you can use your side hustle to earn extra cash outside of work, as needed.
Let us say that you want to get into content marketing. Find a side hustle maintaining a company's blog or social media accounts. Or start ghostwriting ebooks for other professionals.
Or maybe you're a web designer. Design websites for clients in specific industries. Tying this into your day job can be a great way to bridge the gap and give yourself a competitive advantage. For example, if you work as a restaurant manager by day, you might specialize in designing websites for restaurants, because you understand how that business works.
One thing to be careful of is that your side hustle isn't taking business away from your day job employer. That can cause a conflict of interest and at the least cause tension at work and at the most, cost you your job.
There are all sorts of things you can do to balance freelancing while you're working full time, which include remaining transparent with your day job and freelance clients and staying on schedule.