While high school graduates are lining up for college and college graduates are lining up at the loan repayment office, you’ll be glad to know that one of the highest paying jobs right now doesn’t require an ounce of formal education.

Earning a six-figure income may seem like a dream that’s destined to exist only in your own mind. But it’s entirely possible – and more plausible than you might think – to start earning a high-level salary before this time next year – if you start now.

Real Jobs Mean Real Education, Right?

If you look at Silicon Valley’s supply of coders and app developers, you might think you’re looking at a sea of top-of-their-class college grads that are best in their field, right?

Well, partially.

You see, I personally know plenty of coders and developers who don’t have a college degree and have never stepped foot in a formal classroom to learn how to code. A survey from Stack Overflow reveals that only about half of all professional developers have a Bachelor’s degree.

More specifically, roughly a quarter of developers has little to no formal education training, yet are making upwards of six figures per year.

Out of 100,000 developers, how did 25,000 of them manage to break into this lucrative field without forking over their savings for a formal degree?

Here’s a hint: college isn’t your only option for education.

The Rise of MOOCs

Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs) are game changers for those who can’t attend college or want a different path to higher education. Unlike degree programs that require students to take a variety of “general education” courses in addition to major-specific courses, MOOCs are based on specific subjects and don’t require you to take classes you’re not interested in.

In other words, you only take the courses that apply to what you’re wanting to learn. This drastically cuts down on the time and money you’re investing in learning new skills and gives you a more direct path to your goals – on your terms.

Coding

Places like Codecademy and freeCodeCamp are essentially online schools specifically for coding. They offer structured courses, just like you’d find at a university, but many of them are free and you do them around your schedule. You learn everything you need to know to land a high-paying job and can back up your education with real skills, not just a piece of paper.

Here’s the best part, though: this up-and-coming method of learning isn’t just for coders.

MOOCs are available for data science (hello, $117K per year!), marketing management (median is $115K annually), blockchain and bitcoin specialists, and machine learning (can you say $160K per year?), to name a slight few.

Whatever your income dreams, MOOCs are bringing you closer to them than ever.

Will You Be a MOOC Success Story?

Higher education is an investment in your future, but traditional college isn’t your only option. Take time to explore some of the highest paying careers and you’ll be surprised at how quickly you can land a spot in the field.

The sooner you start your journey toward a better salary, the sooner you get to enjoy the financial freedom that comes with it.

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