MAKING BIG MONEY: The ultimate guides to breaking into careers with 6-figure salaries

Caroline Stokes
Caroline Stokes is the CEO of talent agency and executive search firm FORWARD, and an expert on growing your career in management consulting.

  • You want to increase your salary but don’t know how to get that promotion or land that job.
  • These guides will point you in the right direction by shifting to freelance or learning new skills.
  • Insider regularly interviews experts about making more money. You can read them all by subscribing to Insider.

Looking for a career move that can boost cash flow? These professions and positions help add the good kind of zeros to your salary. Read these articles to help you combine a career you love with a paycheck you want – and for advice on how to get there.

Full-time gigs

IT professional: 3 IT professionals who didn’t get a college degree and are now making 6 figures reveal how to succeed in their field

Management consultant: How to get onto the partner track at McKinsey and make millions, according to 3 management-consulting headhunters and a former McKinsey HR manager

Engineer: The best way to teach yourself to code and land a six-figure job, from 5 people who’ve done it

Marketing consultant: The ultimate guide to breaking into marketing consulting and making 6 figures, from people who did it

VC: How to break into venture capital and land a job at a top firm, according to recruiters, managing partners, and executive coaches in the VC space

Crisis manager: Crisis managers are taking center stage during the pandemic – and can make a lucrative living. Here’s how to break into the in-demand role, according to 5 veterans in the industry.

Software engineer: 3 software engineers reveal the steps they took to move up in their careers to make 6-figure salaries

Executive in gaming or esports: The non-engineer’s guide to landing a 6-figure job in online gaming or esports, according to senior executives and CEOs in the space

Freelance or independent gigs

General freelancer: The ultimate guide to going freelance – and making more than you did at a full-time gig

Software engineer: Freelance software engineers making over $100,000 a year reveal how they got started, find clients, and set their rates

Ghostwriter: How to become a freelance ghostwriter, according to someone who left her $50,000-a-year banking job and now makes $80,000 a year on her own time

Graphic designer: The best way to build a client base and make 6 figures as a freelance graphic designer, according to 6 people who are currently doing it

Web designer: How to find clients and market your business as an independent web designer, according to 6-figure freelancers who did it

Presentation designer: The exact email one freelance presentation designer uses to increase her rates – and how she plans to make $400,000 this year

Independent consultant: How 5 executives who left their jobs to become independent consultants now make 6 figures on their own time – and how you could do the same

Real estate agent: How to make 6 figures as an independent real estate agent, according to someone who did it

Dietitian: How to earn a 6-figure salary as a dietitian or nutritionist, according to 4 renowned entrepreneurs in the industry

Personal trainer: How to earn a 6-figure salary as a personal trainer, according to 3 people who are doing it

Online tutor: How to become a highly successful online tutor and make a lucrative living as virtual learning becomes the norm

Poshmark seller: The ultimate guide to earning 6 figures on Poshmark, according to star sellers who’ve done it and gained boatloads of customers

Ecommerce seller: The ultimate guides to using popular platforms like Amazon, Depop, and eBay to start your own online business, sell to a massive audience, and make big money

Massage therapist and birth coach: A New-York-based doula and massage therapist reveals the exact formula that’s helped her build an almost 6-figure business solely by word-of-mouth referrals

Upwork freelancer: Self-employed professionals who’ve made over $100,000 on Upwork reveal how they built lucrative businesses in just a few years on the freelancing platform

Freelancer.com freelancer: How to land gigs and build a 6-figure career on Freelancer.com, according to the CEO and freelancers who’ve done it

Fiverr freelancer: 6-figure sellers on the freelancing platform Fiverr share how they landed clients and built successful businesses online

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What is CSS? Understanding the coding language that styles a webpage beyond plain text and photos

coworkers coding on computer together
CSS is important website coding that improves the user interface and experience.

  • CSS is a programming language that lets you customize the color, font, and layout of an HTML-coded website.
  • CSS adds vibrancy to the online experience because without it, websites would look like identical bland lines of text and images.
  • There are three distinct CSS styles that you can use when designing your website.
  • Visit Insider’s Tech Reference library for more stories.

Even if you’re unfamiliar with the term itself, CSS is a website coding component that any internet user has experienced.

While you may not know exactly what CSS is, it’s something to embrace – CSS immeasurably enriches the online ecosystem.

Here’s everything you should know about how CSS works, its advantages, and why it’s important.

What is CSS?

CSS, or Cascading Style Sheets, is a coding language used to add colors, layouts, and fonts to a website.

If you were a user in the early stages of the internet, your initial impression of website design may have been quite underwhelming. That’s because CSS wasn’t being used by browsers until 1996.

CSS isn’t the content of a website, but its visual presentation. Think of it this way: CSS is the style, and HTML is the substance.

1_ _What_is_CSS
CSS adds the design elements to a webpage.

HTML serves as a site’s foundation by coding all the content you’re there to consume, but without CSS, the website would be only a bare-bones jumble of words and images.

Insider homepage without CSS
Without CSS, the Insider homepage appears without much stylistic flow.

You may also be familiar with JavaScript, the sort of third pillar of website development. Java is a language which – unlike the static style elements added by CSS – allows you to code in complex, interactive content. As far as web design goes though, CSS is the most crucial web development element.

Types of CSS styles

  • Internal CSS: Also known as the “embedded” style, Internal CSS requires coding the CSS < style > tag in the < head > section of each page you’re coding – the style won’t be applied to an entire website. There are advantages though, as you’ll also be creating a self-contained, easily previewable template for sharing.
  • External CSS: This is often considered the easiest method for long-term website maintenance. All your CSS coding is done in a separate CSS file, then applied to any page you want. Site loading times might also benefit from the external style.
  • Inline CSS: This style is slightly more intensive for coders, requiring each individual HTML tag to be styled. This can also be handy for minor changes and quick previews of modifications.

Benefits of CSS

  • The coding language of CSS is straightforward, but customizable to an enormous degree.
  • Formatting via CSS makes websites easier to navigate by placing buttons in logical places that make them more likely to get clicks.
  • CSS can also eliminate having to use as many lines of code, which allows faster page loading.
  • The responsive design elements of CSS make the language suitable for presentation on any size screen, from a mobile phone to a desktop.

Why CSS is important

CSS created a unified standard for designing web pages that makes the process more accessible.

It’s probably best known for its user-friendliness – a coding language that no one has to be intimidated by.

With CSS, an impeccable-looking website can be achieved without hiring an expert coder.

How to enable JavaScript in Google Chrome on your Windows 10 deviceHow to enable JavaScript in your iPhone’s Settings app to improve your Safari web experienceA guide to proxy servers, the computer systems that relay information between users and networks, and how they can disguise users’ online presenceA guide to using RSS feeds, the files that contain real-time updates from websites

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What is software? A guide to all of the different types of programs and applications that tell computers what to do

computer code
Software consists of code that dictates how a computer operates.

  • Software is computer code that tells a computer how to perform a specific task.
  • There are many kinds of software, including operating systems, applications, and malware.
  • Software can be distributed for free, as shareware, commercially, or with its source code (which is called open-source).
  • Visit Insider’s Tech Reference library for more stories.

Software is a set of instructions, written in computer code, that tells a computer how to behave or how to perform a specific task. Software usually comes in the form of commercial programs (like Microsoft Word and Adobe Photoshop), games, a computer operating system, or even malware like viruses and ransomware. Any program or code that runs on a computer is an example of software, and anything you do with a computer requires the use of software. Software is created by computer programmers, commonly referred to as coders.

Types of software

There are many types of software in use today. To give you a sense of the scope of the software industry, here is an overview of the major kinds of software in use today.

System software

System software is the general category of software that allows the computer hardware to function and serves as the underlying platform for applications to run. System software is particularly complex, and there are multiple “layers” associated with any computing device. For example:

  • Operating system (OS): Without an operating system like Windows or MacOS, a computer is just a collection of hardware components unable to perform any functions. The OS allows the computer to perform basic functions, provides an interface so users can interact with the computer, and a platform on which applications can run. The OS “abstracts” many common tasks for applications to minimize redundancy – for example, the OS offers printing as a service to applications so every program doesn’t need to have its own way of sending files to the printer.
  • Firmware: Many devices and components have firmware, which is semi-permanent software that tells the device how to behave and how to interact with other devices. Firmware can often be updated, but persists when there’s no power applied to the device.
  • Device drivers: Device drivers are small programs that allow the operating system and computer components to communicate. Every component needs a driver so the OS knows how to use that device. Virtually every component in a computer, including the video card, sound chip, keyboard, and mouse have their own drivers.
  • Utilities: Blurring the line between system software and application, utilities are small programs that often come with or tightly integrate themselves into the OS to perform specific OS tasks. Anti-malware software, hard drive cleanup, and file compression tools (like WinZip) are examples of utilities.

Application software

This is the kind of software you are probably most familiar with – also called programs or apps, they are packages that usually have a specific purpose and you use to accomplish a certain goal.

There’s a virtually limitless variety of applications. Some of the most common include productivity software like word processors, spreadsheets, and email clients (Microsoft Word, Excel and Outlook are common examples). Database software like Microsoft Access is used to organize and manage large volumes of data.

Games are also popular applications, as well as multimedia software (the Camera app on your phone is an application, as well as Adobe Photoshop, which is used to edit graphics and photos). Web browsers are also among the most common software applications.

Programming software

It’s probably no surprise that software is created with other software. Coders rely on a number of different software tools to create programs. Here are a few examples of programs used by coders during software development:

  • Compilers are programs that convert the code written by humans into a lower-level form of machine code that’s directly interpretable by computer hardware. The existence of compilers makes it practical to create extremely sophisticated software.
  • Debuggers are computer programs used to test and “debug” (find and remove errors) from computer code.
  • Linkers are programs that take the output from a compiler – often many individual files – and combine them into a single executable file that can be run on its own by a user without the need to run it within a programming environment.
  • Malware is software designed to act in harmful ways, and there are many examples of malware today including viruses, worms, Trojans, and ransomware. When infected with malware, a computer and its software may misbehave or stop working entirely. There’s an arms race between malware developers and anti-malware utility writers, and it’s important to have anti-malware software installed on your computer. You should also follow best practices to avoid malware.

How software is distributed

Not all programs are distributed, sold, or shared the same way, and the primary method of distribution has changed over the years. At one time, virtually all software was commercial and sold through retailers. That’s far from the case today. Here are some of the major distribution mechanisms.

  • Commercial: A lot of software is still commercial, though it’s far less common than it once was. Any program you purchase and get a physical or digital copy of is commercial software. Keep in mind that you don’t own the software; you only own a license that confers the right to use the software. The distinction is important for a lot of reasons, not the least of which is it gives the publisher the right to change the software via online updates without your express permission.
  • Open-source: Often seen as the opposite of commercial, open-source software is usually made available with all of its source code, which allows an entire community of coders to update, modify, and improve the program. Not all open-source software is free; some is sold at retail prices.
  • Freeware: A lot of software is completely free to download and use. The freeware model allows publishers to distribute its software more easily because a lot of people will be willing to try something for free. Some freeware is also referred to as adware because while the application is free, it comes with embedded advertising.
  • Shareware: A variation of freeware, shareware is free for a limited time. If you find the application useful, you have the option to pay for it to continue using it. Many shareware programs are free for a limited period of time, though other programs will only work for a specific number of uses.

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A quick guide to WordPress, the free-to-use website builder that powers some of the web’s most popular sites

wordpress
WordPress’ easy-to-use format makes it a popular choice for many non-coders.

  • WordPress is a free-to-use content management system (CMS) that can help you build a website with minimal technical knowledge.
  • WordPress has a wealth of features that allow users to make a wide variety of websites for different purposes.
  • Visit Insider’s Tech Reference library for more stories.

WordPress is a popular open-source content management system (CMS) that’s free to use. It lets you build your own website without needing to learn programming languages like JavaScript, Python, or C++. 

What to know about WordPress

WordPress logo
WordPress was initially created as a blogging platform.

WordPress can be used to create a wide range of websites, including personal blogs, online portfolios, business pages, and e-commerce websites thanks to a wealth of features.

As an open-source software licensed under the GNU General Public License (GPL), WordPress isn’t owned by one company or entity. Rather, hundreds of developers and users work together to constantly improve the software.

WordPress was created as a blogging platform in 2003 by Matt Mullenweg and Mike Little. As a college student, Mullenweg used the b2 (also known as cafelog) blogging system, but the original creator stopped updating it. As a result, Mullenweg created his own version of the system with help from Little. While Mullenweg is the face of WordPress, the software continues to develop thanks to its community of contributors.

Who can use WordPress

While WordPress started out as a blogging tool, these days it can be used to make all sorts of websites for all sorts of purposes, thanks to a plethora of plug-ins and themes. In other words, you can pretty much create any type of website you want with WordPress.

WordPress can be used to create business websites, blogs, online resumes, portfolios, e-commerce stores, membership sites, and more.

Some notable examples of WordPress sites include The New Yorker, Microsoft News Center, and The Walt Disney Company.

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The New Yorker is one of many popular sites powered WordPress.

The software includes lots of features to help you build a unique site.

What you need to start using WordPress

For self-hosted WordPress sites (through WordPress.org), you need two key things to get started: web hosting and a domain name. 

For web hosting, there are three common approaches: shared WordPress hosting, do-it-yourself VPS WordPress Hosting, and managed WordPress hosting.

A domain name is your website address. Choosing a unique domain name can be tricky, as there are almost 2 billion websites currently in circulation, but there are some general tips that can help you find and purchase the perfect available one.

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