5 Under-the-Radar Tech Jobs That Pay Six-Figure Salaries

By BrainStation January 10, 2020

The start of a new year often has the effect of pulling us out of the chaotic holiday season to reflect on all that we’ve accomplished in the last 365 days. It’s also a great opportunity to consider what we want to strive to accomplish in the next. 

If you’re reading this article, it might also be said that you’re feeling the itch of a potential career change and need a little inspiration to get you started.

Here are five well-paying, under-the-radar jobs in tech to help ignite your transition.

Machine Learning Engineer

What does a Machine Learning Engineer do?

Machine Learning Engineers are highly-skilled Programmers who develop artificial intelligence (AI) systems that use large data sets to research, develop, and generate algorithms that can learn and make predictions. According to Indeed, Machine Learning Engineer was listed as the number one job in 2019, experiencing a 344 percent growth in job postings between 2015-2018.

Consider it in comparison to a Data Analyst. A Data Analyst understands and combines data sets with the goal of generating insights for human consumption and action. A Machine Learning Engineer uses data sets to develop programs that enable machines to run with minimal human intervention. These programs need to be able to handle the vast amount of data that businesses are collecting today as well as run smoothly within the existing ecosystem.      

A Machine Learning Engineer might develop something like Netflix’s recommendation engine or a program for a self-driving car. 

What skills are needed?

Most companies look for a degree in a quantitative field such as Applied Mathematics or Computer Science. If you don’t have that, aim to get four to six years of software development experience under your belt. Many job descriptions call for knowledge of programming languages like Python, Java, and C/C++. Essentially, you’ll want to present a strong understanding of probability and statistical models.

Average U.S Salary: $146,085

Recommended BrainStation courses: Web Development diploma program, Machine Learning, Python Programming, Data Science bootcamp

UX Writer 

What does a UX Writer do?

Think about the last time you were using your favorite app and a piece of copy grabbed your attention. Maybe it even made you smile. That’s the magic of a User Experience (UX) Writer. 

UX Writers, also sometimes called Content Designers, craft the concise and compelling digital copy on websites and mobile apps that help you understand how to use a new product, fill out a form and everything in between. They sit on the UX team and work closely with product and UX designers to understand user needs in order to produce precise microcopy such as button copy, tooltips, and error messages. 

UX Writers play a vital role in shaping the user experience and bringing the brand to life. It’s their goal to make even the most complex ideas crystal clear. 

What skills are needed?

Many UX Writers are former copywriters and content marketers, but a writing degree isn’t mandatory. Of course, you need to exude a certain level of wordsmithery. But more importantly, UX Writers need to understand the end-user to a degree where they can comfortably guide, engage, and delight them in as few words as possible. 

Average U.S Salary: $124,873

Recommended BrainStation courses: User Experience Design Certificate

Senior Database Administrator 

What does a Database Administrator do?

A database administrator is like the gatekeeper of company data. They’re responsible for setting up new databases (Oracle, Microsoft SQL, etc.), data migration, database design, and protection. Database design includes the physical design of the database, the structure of the content within it and integrity controls such as who has access to it. It’s their responsibility to protect from unauthorized use of data, which is an issue of increasing importance. 

Database administrators are also responsible for creating backup systems and recovery plans for company data in the case of loss or damage. They need to monitor the performance of the database and tune it in a way that makes data easy to access. They should also understand the weaknesses of the database software they’re using in order to minimize any risk to the business by developing best practices.

What skills are needed?

Naturally, a general understanding of database structures is essential, but companies can also request more in-depth knowledge of their particular database software. Many job postings ask for proficiency in languages like Python and SQL as well as experience working with various database technologies. Interestingly, having strong communication skills is key. Companies are looking for candidates who can explain even the most technical aspect of their job to non-technical executives and employees.   

Average U.S Salary: $109,311

Recommended BrainStation courses: Data Science Bootcamp, Python Programming

Tech Sales Engineer 

What does a Tech Sales Engineer do?

Tech Sales Engineers are pretty much like your standard Sales Reps in that they need to understand and communicate the value and in-workings of a product to a degree where they can convince someone to pay money for it. The main difference between the two is that Tech Sales Engineers are selling more complex and technical products.  

The demand for Tech Sales Engineers is growing as quickly as innovative products are being built and launched. Someone has to help sell all these products! These sales folks require a deeper understanding of product usage, specifications, and special requirements. They need to be able to speak the language of the customer and the engineering team. 

In this unique position of having one foot inside the company and one foot out, they have the potential to have a direct impact on shaping product features and recommending new ones. 

What skills are needed?

As mentioned above, you need to feel comfortable hanging out with customers and engineers alike (ie. having a grasp on programming languages). You’ll often have to put your user research hat on in order to fully assess customer needs and to provide the best service possible. Naturally, you’ll have to develop sales reports and presentations, but you should also ensure the product is evolving to meet customer needs by feeding into the development cycle. 

Average U.S Salary: $103,725 (+ bonus) 

Recommended BrainStation courses: Web Development Course, User Experience Design 

Cybersecurity Engineer 

What does a Cybersecurity Engineer do?

If a Database Administrator is the gatekeeper of data, then a Cybersecurity Engineer is its bodyguard. A Cybersecurity Engineer is responsible for ensuring that a company is protected against cyberattacks and data breaches by designing, developing, testing, and implementing secure network solutions. 

They’re also the ones responsible for creating company protocol such as a playbook for what to do in case of an incident in order to minimize the impact on the business. Cybersecurity Engineers need to be aware of any vulnerabilities in the company’s systems or networks and they find these by performing penetration testing. 

According to a 2019 study on the state of cybersecurity, 69 percent of cyber professionals say that their teams are understaffed and that it typically takes over six months to find a qualified candidate.

What skills are needed?

In order to detect and deter cyber threats, Cybersecurity Engineers must have a basic understanding of programming languages such as Python, Ruby, Java, C and C++. They also need to have an understanding of technology infrastructure and security concepts. Some postings ask for specific cybersecurity certifications. 

Perhaps most importantly, to be able to proactively safeguard against hackers, you need to be able to show that you can think like one.

Average U.S Salary: $120,249

Recommended BrainStation courses: Web Development diploma program, Python Programming