Nerds rule the world. It wasn’t always like this. Not too long ago it was nerdy to know your way around a computer. Now everyone carries one around in their pocket. I’m talking about your smartphone.
That huge demand for shiny new phones and the massive data networks that power them also creates a huge demand for skilled workers in those fields.
Below are 10 conventional and unconventional ways to make a living being a nerd.
1. eSports Player
Your parents might laugh in your face if you told them you wanted to play video games for a living. But the joke would be on them. eSports is a big deal these days and it’s dumbfounding parents.
Just last year a Dota 2 team known as ‘Evil Geniuses’ took home nearly 7 million dollars at The International, the largest Dota 2 tournament in the world.
Don’t get too excited. It’s not all fun and games. To win that 7 million dollar prize requires a lot of work.
Take the legendary Counter-Strike team SK for example. It was beautiful to watch them play. They knew precisely where to aim their gun for a headshot. They knew how to control their guns recoil. They knew the best places to hide. And they knew exactly when to throw their grenades. SK knew all of this because they practiced hours on end each and every day. It was their job, not a game.
2. Trading Card Game Player
To be a professional trading card game player is not so different than being a professional poker player. In either game, you need to know your cards and your odds.
You might have heard of the trading card game Magic: The Gathering by Wizards of the Coast. You might even play it. As of 2015 it had approximately twenty million players worldwide.
In a game of Magic, you are called a Planeswalker, a fearsome mage armed with a deck of Magic cards. The goal is to knock your opponent down from 20 to 0 life by summoning creatures and casting spells.
There is the chance that winning tournaments doesn’t pan out for you. But if you’re lucky you might come into possession of the fabled Black Lotus, a Magic card worth 2-3 thousand dollars.
You’re reading a blog right now. While I’m not currently making a living from this blog, many other bloggers do like Darren Rowse of Problogger.
To turn blogging into a living will require a lot of time and effort. The most successful bloggers post regularly. We’re talking 5 or more posts per week.
They also must have passion. Nerds have this naturally, you should be all set. So get to writing.
Bloggers made all the money online a few years ago and now it’s YouTuber’s raking in the cash.
Why? Because videos can reach new demographics that blog articles cannot, little kids for example. It would be impossible for a 3 to 4-year-old to read a blog post, but they can easily watch and understand a video. This is why channels like EvanTubeHD are extremely popular.
The other niche that is extremely popular is video games. You might have seen a video or two by PewDiePie. He owns the most subscribed channel on YouTube with over 43 million subscribers! This college dropout has made a pretty good living so far by taping him playing indie games and being funny.
5. Software Engineer
‘Software engineer’ is the new hip name for a ‘computer programmer’. The term engineer better portrays a sense of expertise.
If you’re a nerd and want to get into the computer field that might sound a little cliche. But there really is no better field to be in. The need for software engineers alone is expected to grow by 22% by the year 2022.
By focusing your studies on the top 3 programming languages of 2015 and learning about cloud-based technologies, you will have a good leg up on the competition.
What are you waiting for? Go get that dream job at Google and come back here to let me know how kick-ass their benefits are.
6. Web Developer
The service you use every day like Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and YouTube were all created by web developers. They are talented people who know the languages the internet is built on like PHP, MySQL, C#, and much more.
If you are looking for job security. Web development is the beez neez. The Bureau of Labor Statistics projects about 27 percent employment growth for web developers by 2024.
There is an enormous amount of online resources that will teach you how to be a web developer. Codecademy, for one, is great place to learn web development.
7. Game Tester
Like to break things? A career in game testing might be for you.
A normal day at the office will require long hours playing a game to find defects. Once you are done playing through every scenario you will send your findings to a developer so they can squash the bugs before launch.
Don’t expect to make a fortune as a game tester. If you have ever seen Grandma’s Boy, the lifestyle he lives isn’t far from the truth.
8. Comic Book Illustrator
Are you great at drawing? Take that natural talent and go get a job at Marvel Comics or DC Comics.
It’s nice to know that some things in this world never change. Comic book illustration is one of them. It has, for the most part, remained pure over the years. Rarely does it require digital intervention.
If you have the skills, the only thing you have to ask yourself is, Ironman or Superman?
9. Ethical Hacker
Want to hack without the chance of a prison sentence? An ethical hacker knows how to look for weaknesses and vulnerabilities in computer systems and they use the same knowledge and tools as a malicious hacker but instead works with a corporation to tighten their security.
In the past couple years the likes of Target have had major security breaches. You might have even been one of the affected.
Be an angel and use that gorgeous brain of yours for good instead of evil.
10. Special Effects Makeup Artist
Shows like Face Off on the Syfy channel brought this field into the limelight. The show goes a little something like this:
Contestants are given a challenge such as creating a Cenobite-inspired demon like the one to your right. They are then scored by a panel of three or more judges. If they are safe or win the challenge they move on. If not… adios. For the lucky one who wins the finale, it usually means the chance to work on a film with the renowned Ve Neill.
How great would it be to put your mark on the world of Star Wars?
It’s worth pointing out that many of the jobs listed above do not require a college education. That’s a huge plus when the average student loan debt for the graduating class of 2015 was upwards of $35,000.
This is just a tiny look into all the great jobs that are out there for nerdy folk. Do you have a nerdy job that isn’t on this list? Leave me a comment below telling me all about it.