Ask yourself: What is my primary motivation for reading career and wealth advice on the internet?
I already know the answer for the large majority of the younger crowd. It’s to learn how to make, keep, and grow as much money as you possibly can.
I would absolutely be lying if I said my main career motivation since the middle of high school was anything besides getting rich. That dictated the finance major decision and the career I’m in now; basically the last decade of my life since leaving Nashua High School in 2009.
There’s a balance to it as well. Finding something you excel at and are passionate about, versus something that actually makes you money, is key. It’s tough to make a huge salary playing video games or sports unless you’re in the top 0.1% of those activities. The rest of us need to pivot accordingly.
In today’s write-up, we are looking at four examples of careers that net a salary at or above $100k by age 25. Making a $100k salary by 25 may seem like a pipe dream to the younger crowd. I promise you though, as someone in the workforce for a half decade – there are certain career paths you can begin in high school to make this a reality by your mid-twenties. Let’s take a look.
NOTE: This should go without saying, but my projections include a lot of assumptions. I’m assuming a trajectory where you succeed in your entry job, get promoted, the company doesn’t go under, no external life factors pop up, etc. Just understand that before we move ahead.
Regardless of your background, schooling, or passions, sales is unique in that almost anyone can break into the field. Every product and service ever made needs people and techniques to spread the word and sell to the masses. While not every sales gig is a guaranteed cash cow, there are a few fields in which mid-20’s people can do very well, very quickly. Enter the world of technology and software sales.
The tech boom of the past few decades has seen the demand for sales jobs skyrocket. There are thousands of platforms, software and automation tools, cybersecurity tools, and more out there – they all need people to sell them. The Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts the IT employment field to grow 13% between 2016-2026. This is faster than any other occupation they track out there.
The industry is growing like a weed, and learning to sell tech out of college can fill your pockets VERY fast. Here’s an example of a common career path:
- Age 22 & 23 – Graduate college, begin in an entry-level position (Salary $40,000-$60,000 On-Target Earnings*)
- Business Development Representative
- Sales Development Representative/Inside Sales Representative
- Age 24 – Promoted to a closing role with a quota (Salary $65,000-$95,000 OTE)
- Account Executive
- Territory/Regional Account Manager
- Age 25 – Promotion to a more senior sales role (Salary $80,000-120,000+ OTE)
- Senior/Enterprise Account Executive
- Enterprise Territory Manager
* On-Target Earnings, or OTE for short, refers to the total annual compensation you receive between base pay and commission. Assuming you need to close $200,000 of sales in a year, and you hit $200k exactly, you are right at 100% OTE.
The world of IB may have the most controversial reputation of all the options on our list. It also has arguably the highest earning potential you’ll find on here as well. Young professionals who have the ability to thrive in this very fast-paced field stand to make a substantial nest egg for themselves.
Investment bankers fresh out of college are worked to the bone – make no mistake about it. Picture working 80-100 hours a week, chugging coffee and Red Bulls, and working in a fraternity-like atmosphere. All this chaos that young IB’ers are subjected to must be for a reason, right? Where is the light at the end of the tunnel?
The fact is, paying your dues for a few years out of school pays off quickly in the world of IB. Beginning at the Junior Analyst level, guys and girls work their way up to Associate level. After that, the rungs of the ladder include Vice President, Director/SVP, and finally Managing Director. Let’s run through our sample for the IB world below:
- Age 22-24 – Graduate college, begin with entry-level positions (Salary $100,000-$150,000 OTE)
- Junior Analyst
- Age 25 – Promoted to the next IB tier (Salary $125,000-$175,000 OTE)
- Note that in a good year, even junior level Associate can see $300k or more in OTE!
Anyone looking for a more detailed look at the world of IB is encouraged to check out our friends at Mergers and Inquisitions.
Software Engineering & Computer Science
A big brain and a passion for computers and technology have never been more important than in 2018. As we detailed in our first career option, the tech industry is exploding. In addition to the need for people to sell, there’s also a huge need for people to build and create. As Glassdoor says, “There are far more jobs available for this cross-functional role than people searching for it.”
Besides just the tech field, the CS (computer science) career is a game changer in many industries worldwide. Everything from research, to design and implementation, training and supporting existing infrastructure. It’s a field that you would be hard pressed to be unemployed for very long! To any readers of ours who enjoy software and computers, making a career out of CS is not only a rewarding path for your brain, but also for your wallet.
Coming out of college, CS majors can find work in almost every sector of the economy. The range of fields is so broad, my year-by-year example used in previous careers doesn’t really cover it. Let’s instead review a few different software engineering gigs, and the average salary that someone with 3-5 years of experience can expect on average.
- Software Development Engineer (Salary $100,000-$130,000)
- Technical Architect ($95,000-$120,000)
- Security Engineer (Salary $90,000-$125,000)
- Front-End Web Development (Salary $80,000-$110,000)
Similar to the world of investment banking, moving into management consulting can pay very high dividends straight out of college. Companies like Deloitte, Ernst & Young, Boston Consulting Group and more look for the top talent coming out of top schools. Consulting is a highly competitive field that involves strategizing and problem-solving for complex problems that businesses face. These projects range across all industries and company sizes. Much like IB and tech sales, management consulting is a fast-paced environment where no two days are the same.
The management consulting role is similar to IB at the entry-level. Analysts spend much more time spent crunching numbers and preparing PowerPoints rather than getting in front of clients. First-year roles usually command between $75,000-$105,000 fresh out of the gate. Anyone who combines a few years of consulting work with an MBA sees that earning potential skyrocket down the road. Here is an incredible graphic put together by MConsulting Prep, detailing various firms and the typical path of promotion.
Let’s look at a sample career path of an aspiring management consulting recruit:
- Age 22-24 – Graduate college, begin in an entry-level position (Salary $75,000-$105,000 OTE)
- Business Analyst
- This position can cover Financial, Data, IT, Project Management… anything really!
- Business Analyst
- Age 25 – Promoted to the next tier (Salary $100,000-$150,000 OTE)
- Much like the world of IB, a few years in the trenches as an “analyst” pays off in the world of consulting as well.
Management Consulted put together an extensive report detailing the specifications of management consulting jobs at many of the top companies. Anyone looking for more information can find a treasure trove on their site.
What’s Your Next Step?
Landing a job in these industries is no easy feat. That’s why we’ve put together a number of resources to help get you where you want to go. Make your next move your best move!
Weigh the Pros and Cons
How much hustle can you spare while keeping your sanity?
To sum up this article, I need to remind everyone that a big paycheck also comes with its negatives as well. Are the long hours, added stress, and hard work worth it to you in the end? For many (like me) that is a resounding YES. At least at an early stage in my career and personal life it is.
There are many paths to get past that lucrative $100k mark. The four careers in this article alone are the tip of the iceberg. A $100k salary by 25 is a remarkable achievement, but an achievement any of us can accomplish with the proper knowledge and planning. Get out there, get motivated, and go make that dough!
All opinions expressed on this blog are solely those of Home at 30 and are in no way affiliated with any other organization or institution. The purpose of this blog is to give general education and information about investing, wealth, careers, and college; It is not intended to be professional advice.
Author: Joe Savoia
Joe is a 2014 graduate of Northeastern University and currently works in a field sales role for technology company Acquia. He has worked internationally as one of Acquia’s earliest Australia-based employees and helped in the early stages to develop that region. Today Joe is based out of Boston and lives in Somerville, MA. Joe’s primary interests vary widely, including everything from robotics/AI to finance, blockchain, and the rapidly evolving world of tech we live in.