Which degrees make the most millionaires?

Olivier Guiberteau
Olivier Guiberteau

31 July 2020 • 5 min read

I know, I know - it’s not all about the money. But getting a degree is invariably about finding a good job and part of a good job is naturally about a good salary. Here are the 5 degrees that produce the most millionaires.  

Engineering

Coming in at the top is engineering - which might surprise you, but the scope of engineering is huge and widening all of the time. 22% of the world’s top 100 billionaires studied some kind of engineering. Mexican entrepreneur Carlos Slim, who is worth around $52 billion studied civil engineering. Larry Page, co-founder and CEO of Google, has a bachelor’s in Computer Engineering and a Master’s in Computer Science - and is currently worth $40.7 billion. 

Then there is, of course, a certain Jeff Bezos, founder and CEO of Amazon.com, who has a bachelor’s in Electrical Engineering and Computer Science from Princeton University - and is worth today a staggering $178 billion.

And it would seem that most engineers agree. A study from 2014 showed that 56% of engineers believe they will become millionaires at some point, while 69% say their role is “recession-proof”, meaning that they are some of the most secure kinds in the long term that you are likely to find. 

Economics/Finance

It’s probably no surprise to hear that studying economics or finance can help to fast track you towards being a millionaire. But it’s not quite as easy as simply studying how to make your fortune, with economics in particular often seen as more theoretical and behind the scenes. It might not be a get rich scheme, but a background in how the financial world works is invaluable in almost anything that you do later in life.  

Then, of course, there are the actual jobs in finance. According to Business Insider, the highest paying finance jobs on Wall Street can earn you over $20 million, while working in the banking sector can also bring in a truly handsome salary. These kinds of jobs often come with long hours and typically high amounts of stress, but the rewards can be eye-boggling.   

Computer Science

This is a sector that has been booming for a decade now. The rise of technology, social media, algorithms and just about everything else computer-based has created a demand that far outweighs the supply. But luckily for those of you graduating with a computer science degree, this means that you can often walk into a high paid job from the get-go. 

The average starting salary for graduates in computer science degrees is roughly $61,000, which is second only to engineering graduates. That is incredibly high for a first job, and things can really take off from there. Software developers at Google or Facebook can make up to $120,000 a year. 

But where the money really lies within computer science is through the development of your own software and apps. The top 200 apps in the world today generate on average $82,500 daily - yes I said that right, daily. If you have a computer science degree, and a great idea - the world can be your oyster.     

Law

Now for one of the more traditional courses. Studying law can be a long, difficult process but still has the potential to make you considerable amounts of money. But again, this is not a get rich quick scheme. The path of a successful lawyer is often one of long hours while slowly moving up through a company. 

The average mean salary of a lawyer in the UK for the first 5 years is between £30,000 and £54,000 - which doesn’t exactly set the world alight. But this climbs steadily the more years you put in and lawyers with over 15 years of experience can command salaries of £180,000 a year or more. The lucrative term, ‘partner’ of a law firm is likely to not only make you a millionaire but essentially set you up for life.  

MBA

A little different to the others on our list. A master’s in business administration, which will typically take 1-2 years has the potential to super-charge your salary - and the beauty is that it can be incorporated into almost any field. 

In the U.S, the average increase, in salary before an MBA to after is a huge 50%, while those working in architecture, customer support or medicine saw increases of above 80%. The downside of this is that it needs to be done on top of another degree, which takes time and can add plenty of cost to your higher education. But the evidence is clear here, the short term extra work can have a huge impact on the rest of your career. 

 

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Olivier Guiberteau
Written By
Olivier Guiberteau

Oli lives in London and is a writer and photographer.


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