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How much do you want to make in your first job?

While the answer may seem easy, millions, being realistic about it requires you to do some thinking about how much you can realistically expect to make, and what kind of personal investments you can make to get you to an income that can fund your life, and your lifestyle, sooner rather than later.

It’s been estimated that Microsoft created 3 billionaires and 12,000 millionaires by 2005. Some of those millionaires were secretaries when they joined the company.

So, if your answer to the question, “How much do you want to make in your first job?” is “millions” bear in mind that it is possible, it has been done, and it’s still being done today as more tech companies make their initial public offerings (IPO). Mark Zuckerberg was in college when he created Facebook, as was Michael Dell when he founded Dell.

There are also untold thousands of people making hundreds of thousands of dollars per year who started out in lower-level tech jobs. If you’re thinking that could never happen to you, you’d be surprised by how many of them thought the same thing.


Your entire career, in fact your entire life, is guided by your series of choices. You’ll make some good ones, and you’ll make some bad ones. If you learn something valuable from the bad ones that you put to good use later, that’s good!

The key is to make informed choices. Carefully considered choices. Many people, some of them possibly friends of yours, default into their decisions. They fall into them. They find an available job and take it immediately because they need a job. Ultimately they fail miserably because they neither know nor enjoy the business they fell into. Or they stay forever, never really succeeding. Just marking time in place.

Thoreau said, “Most men live lives of quiet desperation.” Is that what you would choose?

One Potential Choice

Over the past few decades, technology has become completely pervasive in our lives. We spend unbelievable amounts of time watching television, texting or “facetiming” on our phones, streaming videos, and maybe even using tech to get some work done. Some are very comfortable with their tech. Others are not.

Some find it easy to figure out how to use tech to get more done faster, better, and less expensively. Others do not. This is what created the information technology (IT) industry which just keeps on growing and growing.

If you are one of those people who is really comfortable with tech, likes to find new ways to use it to make their lives better, perhaps one of your better choices is to pursue a career in tech.

Actually, there are many choices. Some problem-solvers just like to make tech work when it doesn’t. They delight in troubleshooting and restoring systems to full function. Others love to attack business challenges by applying tech. They may end up as system architects or consultants. Still, others just love to convince people to trust them with their tech. These may find great success and fortune selling tech solutions.

Tech is more than just one good choice, there are many great choices to choose from.

Making Your Choice

This is not something you want to decide on quickly, or by wetting your finger and sticking it up in the air. You need to seek the advice of people you trust, and who know you well. Many who went before you are living “the life” thanks to the time they spent in tech. Some owned their own companies. Some sold for companies. Others were marketers. Still, others were architects, consultants, engineers, technicians, developers, and more.

The trick is to find which choice suits you best. Figure out your preferences. Figure out what you can be best at. What you can be passionate about. What can pay you well? In chapter 5 of his book “Good to Great” Jim Collins describes this as the Hedgehog Concept. Everyone has one. You just have to figure out the path to yours. Your New Horizons counselor can help you get started on this path.

How much money do you want to make five years in?

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