14 High-paying entry-level jobs without a college degree

two people sitting on a couch in an office

For example, the average entry-level base salary for a Junior Software Engineer is close to $80,000 according to Indeed(opens new window). It can also reach six figures depending on the total compensation and location.

Landing a high-paying entry-level job when you’re starting your career has many benefits. It can provide financial security and set you up for future success. Many six-figure careers don’t require a Bachelor’s degree, so you can earn a lucrative salary without the high costs or stress of student loan debt. Lastly, you can build your professional experience and command an even higher salary in your next role.

At Multiverse, we’re all about providing the resources and tools to help you launch a great career. Our early career apprenticeship programs help aspiring professionals like you access high-paying and in-demand tech roles while filling the critical skills gaps in top organizations.

If you’re exploring potential careers, our list of 14 high-paying entry-level jobs that don’t require a college degree can help you find the right path.

Note: The average entry-level salary is with less than one to two years of experience. The base salary is the average, regardless of experience.

1. Software Engineer

  • Average entry-level salary: $108,000
  • Base salary: $115,000
  • Salary range: $72,000-$183,000

Software Engineers use programming languages, frameworks, and other technologies to create software applications. According to the BLS(opens new window), the total number of jobs in software development will increase 25% between 2021 and 2031.

Software Engineer skills and responsibilities:

  • Java, C##, Python, and other programming languages
  • Debugging software
  • Building databases

Software Engineers are in high demand and you don’t need a college degree to get an entry-level job. Apprentices that participate in the Multiverse software engineering program get paid to learn code.

Over 15 months, apprentices learn foundational and practical coding skills and apply them through on-the-job training. During the program, you’ll get paid to work and learn at a top tech company. As a typical apprentice, you can earn between $50,000 to $70,000. However, software engineering apprentices tend to earn upwards of $80,000.

software engineer apprenticeship

2. Machine Learning Engineer

  • Average entry-level salary: $100,000
  • Base salary: $158,000
  • Salary range: $100,000-$252,000

Machine Learning (ML) Engineers build and train self-learning artificial intelligence (AI) systems with algorithms and data. Around 97% of business owners(opens new window) believe ChatGPT and other AI technologies are beneficial to their operations.

Machine Learning Engineers were already in short supply, but the growing demand for AI has skyrocketed. It has quickly become the fourth fastest-growing career(opens new window) in the United States. In addition to being a high-paying entry-level job, it promises job security.

Machine Learning Engineer skills and responsibilities:

  • Data modeling
  • Developing algorithms
  • Statistics and probability

3. Junior Web Developer

  • Average entry-level salary: $75,000
  • Base salary: $83,000
  • Salary range: $51,000-$134,000

Junior Web Developers design, create, and maintain websites. The BLS projects that the number of web development jobs(opens new window) will grow 23% by 2031. The average Web Developer’s salary is $83,000, and there’s plenty of room for growth as you gain experience.

Web Developer skills and responsibilities:

  • HTML, CSS, and JavaScript
  • Database management
  • Responsive web design

4. Full Stack Developer

  • Average entry-level salary: $101,000
  • Base salary: $123,000
  • Salary range: $79,000-$193,000

All websites have two sides—the front end that users see and interact with, and the back end which handles the behind-the-scenes operations. Many Developers specialize in one end, but a Full Stack Developer has the broad knowledge to build and maintain both. The demand for Full Stack Developers(opens new window) has outpaced available workers, leading to a national shortage and higher salaries.

Full Stack Developer skills and responsibilities:

  • Designing across platforms and tools (mobile and web)
  • Creating accessible user interfaces
  • Coding in JavaScript, Python, Java, and other languages

5. SQL Developer

  • Average entry-level salary: $93,000
  • Base salary: $83,000
  • Salary range: $56,000-$122,000

The amount of data businesses collect and analyze has increased exponentially. A SQL Developer uses Structured Query Language to build, maintain, and optimize databases so businesses can quickly access information.

SQL Developer skills and responsibilities:

  • Database design and modeling
  • Query optimization to quickly filter data
  • Indexing to streamline database queries

6. Data Scientist

  • Average entry-level salary: $105,000
  • Base salary: $124,000
  • Salary range: $82,000-$187,000

A Data Scientist gathers and analyzes data to better understand an organization’s operations, clients, and performance. Businesses increasingly rely on these professionals to help them make data-driven decisions, and the demand for Data Scientists(opens new window) is expected to increase by 36% over the next decade. The fierce competition for these professionals has also driven up the average Data Scientist salary.

Data Scientist skills and responsibilities:

  • Python and R language experience to build data models
  • Statistics and mathematics to interpret data
  • Experience visualizing data with tools like Tableau and PowerBI
earn while you learn

7. Database Analyst

  • Average entry-level salary: $72,000
  • Base salary: $76,000
  • Salary range: $49,000-$117,000

Database Analysts mine data and organize it in databases. They also use statistics and software tools to interpret data and make recommendations to improve business outcomes.

Organizations rely on data to make decisions and predict future trends, making it an in-demand and high-paying career.

Database Analyst skills and responsibilities:

  • Proficiency in SQL and Python
  • Database management and optimization
  • Data modeling
  • Knowledge of data mining tools like RapidMiner

8. Database Administrator

  • Average entry-level salary: $65,000
  • Base salary: $94,000
  • Salary range: $65,000-$138,000

Database Administrators build and manage databases. They also install protections to keep sensitive data—like financial records and customer information—safe and private. BLS reports(opens new window) show there’s been a 9% increase in demand for this role in the last few years.

Database Administrator skills and responsibilities:

  • SQL experience
  • Database management systems like MySQL and Oracle
  • Knowledge of data backup methods

9. Business Analyst

  • Average entry-level salary: $56,000
  • Base salary: $85,000
  • Salary range: $56,000-$129,000

Business Analysts are specialists in analyzing business and financial data. They help organizations evaluate consumer behavior, business processes, and competitors. Business Analysts often earn lucrative salaries because they possess in-demand skills and have a direct impact on increasing business revenue.

Business Analyst skills and responsibilities:

  • SQL to query and manipulate data
  • Statistical analysis to interpret data
  • Data visualization
  • Critical thinking and problem-solving

10. Security Analyst

  • Average entry-level salary: $60,000
  • Base salary: $92,000
  • Salary range: $60,000-$142,000

Security Analysts detect computer network and system vulnerabilities. They are often responsible for preventing and minimizing the impact of cybersecurity threats. Jobs in cybersecurity are in high demand due to the increasing frequency and high costs of cyberattacks on businesses.

Security Analyst skills and responsibilities:

  • Using programming languages like Python to automate tasks
  • Intrusion detection
  • Penetration testing to identify weaknesses

11. Tech Sales Representative

  • Average entry-level salary: $66,000
  • Base salary: $73,000
  • Salary range: $37,000-$144,000

Sales Representatives sell products or services to clients and promote their company’s brand. How much they make depends on their ability to close sales deals and the commission their employer offers.

Sales Representatives in tech and software tend to earn more than sales jobs in other industries. Top performers earn six-figure salaries because they get a commission of 10% to 35% for each sale they make. This is especially likely if the contract or product costs thousands of dollars or more.

Sales Representative skills and responsibilities:

  • Active listening
  • Excellent communication
  • Customer service
  • Negotiation

12. UX Designer

  • Average entry-level salary: $68,000
  • Base salary: $103,000
  • Salary range: $68,000-$156,000

UX Designers help build digital products ranging from websites to mobile apps. They review user research and create designs that improve the overall user experience. Indeed ranked UX Designers as the ninth most in-demand job last year.

UX Designer skills and responsibilities:

  • Wireframing and prototyping products and solutions
  • Interviewing users or reviewing user research
  • Collaborating with product management teams
  • Figma, AdobeXD, and other design tools

13. Product Designer

  • Average entry-level salary: $74,000
  • Base salary: $120,000
  • Salary range: $74,000-$194,000

Product Designers analyze consumer needs and preferences to develop or improve products. Unlike UX Designers, they usually oversee the full product life cycle stages, from generating ideas to fine-tuning the end product.

Product Designers may develop digital or physical products. For example, a physical Product Designer may design appliances or electronics. However, it usually requires manufacturing or engineering experience.

Successful products can generate millions in revenue for companies, so Product Designers can earn lucrative salaries.

Product Designers skills and responsibilities:

  • Experience using Hotjar, Figma, and other tools
  • UI/UX design
  • Graphic design
  • Project management

14. Management Consultant

  • Average entry-level salary: $64,000
  • Base salary: $100,000
  • Salary range: $64,000-$159,000

Management Consultants help organizations develop strategies and improve their operations. They conduct focus groups and analyze data to gain business or market insights.

Some Consultants may also help clients implement their recommendations and monitor performance. A skilled Management Consultant can revitalize a struggling organization, so they often receive generous salaries and consulting fees.

Management Consultant skills and responsibilities:

  • Statistical data analysis
  • Interviewing
  • Leadership
  • Strategic planning

Highest paying entry-level jobs salary

In summary, here are the most lucrative jobs ranked by the average entry-level salary:

chart of entry-level jobs salary

How to get high-paying, entry-level jobs

Companies typically prioritize skills and experience even when hiring entry-level employees. These three strategies can help you land a high-paying entry-level job without a college degree.

1. Apply for an apprenticeship

People at the beginning of their careers often struggle to enter the workforce because they don’t have the hands-on training employers want.

Apprenticeship programs like Multiverse help solve this problem by providing paid on-the-job training opportunities. Our programs are tuition-free and you’ll get paid a salary while learning at a top company.

Additionally, an apprenticeship provides a structured curriculum to help you develop career-ready skills on an efficient timeline. In the Software Engineer apprenticeship, you can learn JavaScript and other programming languages within 15 months.

2. Don’t rely on online job listings alone

Job websites like Indeed and LinkedIn host thousands of entry-level job postings, but you’re also competing with hundreds of other online applicants. Spending countless hours filling out online applications isn’t the most effective way to secure an entry-level position.

Many companies rely on personal connections and word of mouth to find new talent. Networking helps you build relationships with professionals in the industry you want to work in. It can also lead to job opportunities. An acquaintance might recommend you for a position or share open roles that aren’t posted online.

Joining conferences, hackathons, and online communities can help you make connections.

3. Show your skills with a website and content

When you don’t have years of experience, you can still show that you have the skills for the job with a strong online portfolio.

Your website should include the following:

  • Links to projects you’ve built, such as a mobile game or a chatbot
  • Brief project descriptions summarizing how you created each project and the technical skills you used
  • Testimonials from past freelance clients (with permission)
  • An about page describing your interests and experience
  • Contact information

Potential employers will judge the quality of the website itself along with your projects, so it should be well-designed and accessible. Websites like Wix offer pre-made templates if web development isn’t part of your skill set. You should also update your portfolio frequently with fresh projects to demonstrate recent skills.

Kickstart your career

Many high-paying entry-level positions don’t require a college degree, but employers still want to see that you have the right skills for the job. With Multiverse’s apprenticeship programs, you’ll gain on-the-job experience as you learn in-demand skills, such as:

You’ll also earn a competitive wage and get access to career development resources. Take the first step today by completing our quick apprenticeship application(opens new window).

apprenticeship application

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