21 Earning a 6 Figure Income in Information Technology

Prompted by a question on Spiceworks – an IT management software and community online. I’ve provided a link to the community. It’s a good place for IT professionals to get advice and meet other IT pros.

Episode 21: How to make a 6 figure income in IT.

Listen below or download the episode here.


Episode 21: Summary

  • Where have you been Matt?
  • Software projects and focus
  • Dental work and a warning
  • A writing/video project – The Profitable IT Consultant’s Toolkit
  • BHAG – Big Hairy Audacious Goal or Big Hairy Ass Goal
  • Tech/Software startup
  • If Mom Were President

The Spiceworks question/conversation

Look, I know this sounds ridiculous but seriously, we all want to make 6 figures eventually and we all have some sort of plan. Me being a college student would like to know what yours is.

Also tell me what you think of my plan:

  • Complete the 2 Internships required by my school
  • Graduate With BA in Comp Sys Tech (Includes classes in Business Administration)
  • Get Certified in this order : CCNA >> CCNP >> CCNA Security >> CCNP Security >> CCIE >> CCIE Security
  • Experience Experience Experience… Get as much experience as possible because as Scott Allen Miller has taught me, nothing beats experience
  • Use my degree to move up!!


An edited version of my response is below. I unpack these in the podcast audio.

Agree/disagree… let me know.

My response – summarized

“Use my degree to move up!” is not really a plan as much as a hope. The same is true for degrees or certs in general. The application of the knowledge acquired to high-value projects is what you need to focus on.


  • $100,000.00/year is not that challenging. $50/hr just about puts you there.
  • Application/Database development will earn more than being a system engineer most of the time
  • Learn to manage projects & people. Soft skills and leadership are the highest value talent. Couple that with technical knowledge and you are in the driver’s seat.
  • The is a difference between expected and valued. ie: security tasks and procedures are critical but have very little perceived value. Server upgrades, infrastructure, the same. They are expected – and critical – but not valued.
  • Avoid help desk jobs as much as possible. They slow your career down.
  • Avoid IT chop shops. IT department’s whose focus is infrastructure and user support. Again, build solutions for users and management… much higher perceived value.
  • Consider smaller organizations. They are less siloed  and allow broader movement across projects and solutions. I favor them and departmental technology over big organization IT. With that said, I think it is good to have some large IT organization experience.
  • Break rules: There is no such thing as a linear career path. I say break rules facetiously.. but what I mean is that you don’t need that cert or degree to start working in a new area of IT and to master it.
  • Learn how to self-promote effectively. DO NOT work in the corner and complain that your boss doesn’t notice all the great stuff you do. Weekly and monthly status reports are a good exercise for you. They’ll let you see what you’ve accomplished and learned and let management see the same.
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  1. Hi Matt,

    I think that you’re spot on with you response to these questions. I learned these things which is a great strategy. That’s what most of these new comers to IT miss, STRATEGY!. There’s a misconception that if you learn how to configure a router or switch in your sleep you will be a God.

    Listen to Matt, I bought his book over 5 years ago and went from help desk to IT Director to business owner.

  2. Matt, I am teaching Professional Development for IT students again and we just finish listening to your PodCast. Thanks because you “ROCK!!!”

What do you think?