1. Career Advice
  2. Career development
  3. Check out these jobs if you are looking for easy career changes that pay well
Check out these jobs if you are looking for easy career changes that pay well

Check out these jobs if you are looking for easy career changes that pay well

Artwork by: Anastasia Kraynyuk

  • Social media manager
  • Project manager
  • Marketing manager
  • Market research manager
  • HR manager
  • Data scientist
  • Technical writer
  • User experience researcher
  • Making a quick career change
  • Key takeaways

Looking for a better job? These careers are interesting, pay well, and have flexible qualification requirements.

Maybe you’re dissatisfied with your current job. Maybe your workplace environment is stressful or toxic. Or maybe your salary just can’t support your current cost of living. Whatever your reasons for seeking a career change, the following alternative careers are worth paying attention to, thanks to their high salaries, engaging responsibilities, and flexible job requirements.

To be a good option for a career change, a job generally needs to have at least some of the following qualities:

  • An excellent starting salary, higher than the wages of most entry-level positions

  • Non-technical skill requirements that can be gained from many different career backgrounds

  • Flexible work schedules

  • Interesting and engaging work responsibilities

  • A position that’s in-demand among companies in many different industries

Many of the following alternative careers have the “easy career change” qualities listed above. Many also happen to be management positions, specifically, management positions that a lower-ranking business professional can be promoted into:

  • Social media manager

  • Project manager

  • Marketing manager

  • Market research manager

  • HR manager

  • Data scientist

  • Technical writer

  • User experience researcher

Read on to hear more about these professional opportunities that offer both career satisfaction and substantial financial rewards. 

Social media manager

Social media managers and directors are responsible for coming up with ways to promote their brand on myriad social media accounts. The methods these professionals use can vary depending on the size and business model of their company, but often include the following:

  • Creating posts to put on the social media profile

  • Monitoring website analytics to identify and prioritize the most popular content

  • Using search engine optimization (SEO) to identify attention-grabbing keywords and formats

  • Creating brand strategies and guidelines for social media content creators to follow

In general, social media managers need strong interpersonal communication skills and basic tech-savviness when it comes to social media websites and apps. Formal degrees in marketing, communication, sociology, or journalism are valuable in the eyes of hiring managers, but aren't always necessary for aspiring social media managers or directors.

The median annual salaries for social media directors and social media managers both hover around $80,000, making them a good alternative career choice for business professionals who need more income.  Furthermore, many of the core skills needed by social media managers can quickly be mastered by professionals from customer service or advertising backgrounds.

Project manager

Working as a project manager can be a great career change option if you’re dissatisfied with your current position (or want to transfer jobs within the same company). The educational requirements of a project manager job can vary greatly, though HR departments value project manager job candidates skilled at the following:

  • Marketing campaigns

  • Product design

  • Engineering

  • Computer programming

  • Contract negotiations

  • Analysis/problem solving

  • Employee motivation/mentorship

  • Time management/timeline development

  • Customer service/client interaction

  • Budget planning

Most hiring managers seek out project managers who know how to assemble a project team and keep all the professionals in the team focused on their long-term goals. Before discussing the reason for your job change during job interviews for project manager openings, it’s worth brushing up on any knowledge you possess about leadership/management styles such as democratic, transactional, transformational, etc.

The income of project managers in the US averages out to $133,640 annually, making it a lucrative career change for business professionals. Even compared to the other positions in this article, the role of project manager is particularly flexible in terms of minimum qualifications, with many hiring managers preferring practical leadership just as much as business administration degrees.

Marketing manager

If you’re a hard-working go-getter with a knack for self-promotion, the position of marketing manager is a good career transition to keep in mind, particularly for those with backgrounds in communication, leadership, public speaking, or psychology.

Marketing managers devote a larger portion of their time towards research and planning - researching market trends and potential platforms for advertising, then collaborating with a marketing team to design and implement new ad campaigns. In the current digital age, many marketing managers are expected to be familiar with disciplines such as search engine optimization (SEO), the analytics of social media platforms, and how to purchase ad spaces on websites. The average marketing manager earns an annual income of around $147,240, making this job a practical choice for professionals seeking advancement and better income in their industry. Additionally, the educational requirements needed to become a marketing manager can be loose, making this career a viable goal for workers seeking promotion in their current business.

Market research manager

Like marketing managers, market research managers need to be able to examine trends in the global marketplace and propose plans for new advertising strategies. Like social media managers, market research managers also need to understand how information spreads on social media platforms and how to gather/analyze data through research methods such as:

  • Conducting qualitative or quantitative surveys

  • Interviewing sample groups or observing their day-to-day behavior

  • Analyzing gathered data using statistical software

  • Interpreting focus group transcripts

In general, market research managers don’t make the final decisions on what marketing strategies to adopt. Rather, their role is to thoroughly analyze the data they’ve gathered, then present their findings clearly and accurately to managers in the company’s marketing team. 

Depending on the position, companies recruiting new market research managers may greatly value applicants with these degrees:

  • Business management

  • Mathematics

  • Statistics

  • Sociology

  • Psychology

  • Anthropology

In practice, though, a professional with impressive soft communication skills, a strong attention to detail, and a knack for problem-solving and number crunching has a good chance of getting hired to be a market research manager. The average market research manager annual salary of $89,445 annually is also nothing to sneeze at, making it a generally good promotion opportunity for professionals to pursue within their current workplace. 

HR manager

Human resource managers, true to their title, are in charge of creating and maintaining their company’s workforce. On the hiring side of things, a capable HR manager oversees the process of sorting through resumes/applications, interviewing applicants, and deciding who to hire. On the maintenance side of things, HR managers have duties such as mediating disputes between workers, addressing grievances, enforcing codes of conduct, and making sure everyone is paid well and on time.

Degrees in fields such as human resources or business management are highly prized by HR departments looking for a new addition to their ranks. At the same time, many companies will appreciate HR applicants well versed in interpersonal communication - professionals who hold degrees in psychology, education, computer technology, etc. 

Besides earning a respectable median salary of $113,300 annually, human resource managers are in high demand among businesses in practically every industry. Additionally, you can qualify for some HR manager openings if you have practical experience with skills such as data management, customer service, or career counseling. 

Data scientist

As the job title suggests, data scientists are responsible for sorting through all the data a business has concerning their products, customers, services, popularity, profits, and so on. In the modern information age, data scientists are often responsible for cataloging this information, analyzing this data for useful trends, and coding a digital database system where this information can be easily accessed and compared.

Expert Tip

Practically all of the (potentially midlife) career change options described in this article make use of information technology, software, or digital databases in some way. If you’re interested in quitting your old job and applying to a job centered around programming, sign up for online courses or short-term boot camps to gain proficiency in one of these programming languages:

  • Java

  • Python

  • C++

  • Rust

  • HTML (specialized for website design)

  • SQL (specialized for database access/management)

Read this linked article to learn more about computer programming and other looked after top freelancing skills.

Professionals with educational backgrounds in statistics, economics, or computer science can transition from their old jobs to a career in data science. Even professionals without specific degrees can qualify for data scientist job openings if they’re experienced at spreadsheets and data collection. Seeking work as a data scientist is a particularly practical career choice these days thanks to the ubiquity of the job among modern businesses and its above average median annual salary of around $100,560.

Technical writer

The core responsibility of a technical writer is practically spelled out in its own title: write about technical topics. More specifically, the role of a technical writer is to create content that explains complicated fields of knowledge in clear terms for customers, students, or other professionals. 

Modern businesses might hire a technical writer to create these or other similar materials:

  • User manuals for machines, tools, or other consumer products.

  • How-to-guides for procedures or delicate crafts

  • FAQs and articles for websites

  • Software documentation

  • Scripts for tutorials and demo videos

  • “White Paper” research reports

A technical writer, categorically, needs to be proficient in writing, making degrees in creative writing, English, or journalism a valuable asset for professionals seeking a new job as a technical writer. Practical knowledge related to industries such as engineering, electronics, chemistry, manufacturing, or computer science is also an attractive quality for hiring managers looking for a new technical writer.

Statistical Insight

According to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics website, the country’s employment of technical writers is projected to grow six percent from 2021 to 2031. With this average growth rate, roughly 5400 new technical writer openings will become available every year during this time.

In short: if you’re an expert in a specific technical field, you can parley your knowledge into a thriving technical writer career, earning a respectable median annual income of $75,000. Technical writing is also a great career change option for professionals interested in working for new companies in their old industry, giving them a way to apply their old work experiences while still working at a new, more interesting job.

User experience researcher

User experience researchers are hired by modern companies to help their designers create hardware and software that is intuitive and easy for customers to use. Often hiring managers will look out for user experience researchers with educational backgrounds such as anthropology, sociology, computer science, statistics, or human relations.

Besides lending their own perspective on whether a product is “fun to use,” user experience researchers collect the perspective of potential customers through interviews, surveys/questionnaires, and experimental lab sessions. After analyzing this data, most user experience researchers will then share their findings with design teams, who will use this information to improve the feel and functionality of their creations.

Even if you don’t have prior experience in the field of UX design, you could qualify for user experience research positions if you have practical skills related to data collection, data analysis, interviewing, website design, app design, computer programming, or customer interaction. Switching over to a career in user experience research is also a sensible choice for many thanks to the growing demand for UX experts (by any company with a digital presence) and a solid median annual income of around $100,600.

Making a quick career change

These are just a few of the careers out there that could be suitable for a career transition. If you are looking for a career change, do some research and find a career that is a good fit for your skills and interests. Here are some tips for making a successful career change:

  • Do your research - Before you make any decisions, it is important to do your research and learn as much as you can about the career you are interested in. This includes researching the job market, educational requirements, and skills and experience that are required.

  • Network - Networking is a great way to learn about job opportunities and to meet people who can help you in your career search. Attend industry events, join professional organizations, and connect with people on LinkedIn.

  • Get certified - If you have the skills and experience, getting certified can help you make yourself more marketable to employers. There are many different certifications available, so be sure to choose one that is relevant to the career you are interested in.

  • Don't give up - Changing careers can be a challenge, but it is important to stay positive and persistent. Don't give up if you don't find a job right away. Keep networking, keep learning, and keep applying for jobs. Eventually, you will find the right job for you.

Key takeaways

  1. When switching careers, many people pursue roles that offer high salaries, engaging responsibilities, and flexible job requirements. 

  2. Some professions that might be good for career changers include social media manager, project manager, HR manager, and data scientist, among others.

  3. Do some research and stay positive to find the best option for you. 

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