The 11 Best Nerdy Jobs for the Geek in You

Illustration of a man playing a video game on his computer

A great student? Check. A career-minded individual? Check. Bullied in school? Check.

See, you meet a lot of the prerequisites of being classified as a nerd!

But being a nerd is no longer an insult. It’s a compliment, considering how many of the world’s wealthiest people likely place themselves in the nerd category, whether it’s Elon Musk or Bill Gates.

If you possess many of the hallmarks of nerds, perhaps it’s time to select a career that is tailored to your characteristics, intelligence and skills, whether you’re changing careers or embarking upon a new one. And remember: it isn’t all software programming and working on Silicon Valley. Many of today’s best employment opportunities for nerds involve everything from artistic talent to scientific prowess – and everything in between.

So, tap into your inner nerd, put on your pocket protector, shine your glass-bottle glasses and take a look at the 11 best nerdy jobs around.

1. Comic book illustrator

Salary: $36,500 (£27,895)

Who doesn't love a good comic book? Red SonjaThe Avengers and Superman – there are so many classic comic books out there. If you have a talent for drawing and sketching, and you love this type of reading material, why not combine the two and become a comic book illustrator?

This position consists of creating drawings and coming up with artistic concepts either for a one-frame picture or an entire comic book.

2. Video game animator

Salary: $51,295 (£39,174)

Video games are big business. What started from Atari and Nintendo is now a multibillion-dollar industry, and there are plenty of good jobs around for die-hard gamers. To name one: a video game animator.

These multimedia artists produce interactive animated images and character movement and behaviours using artistic tools and technological equipment for video games for personal computers, mobile phones and standalone consoles.

3. Technical writer

Salary: $50,647 (£38,706)

If you've ever read IKEA instruction manuals or the user guide for a smartphone, then you can only imagine how hard it is to write these things. But writers are up for any task, no matter how easy or hard it is.

Technical writing is tasked with translating intricate and technical information into easy-to-understand articles and manuals. Technical writing can also include developing, gathering and sharing technical information with designers and manufacturers.

4. Video games tester

Salary: $53,030 (£40,528)

Wait a minute. You can get paid to play video games? Where do you sign up? Unfortunately, it’s not that easy, and you can imagine how competitive these jobs are. That said, with a college degree in the video games field, expertise in programming and a knack for understanding what customers would want in a game, you can become a video games tester.

It may sound like a simple position, but it involves complicated tasks like detecting bugs, finding errors, determining difficulty levels in games and ensuring these games are flawless before designers and programmers give the final approval to ship these games out.

5. Science teacher

Salary: $60,899 (£46,542)

It has never been harder to be a science teacher. Because of this, when you can get your students excited about science and ready to become the next pioneer, you’re the superhero in those comic books you love reading.

A science teacher's job is self-explanatory: you prepare lessons, teach classes, participate in extracurricular activities, engage in group meetings and spend some time after class to tutor students.

6. Ethical hacker

Salary: $71,331 (£54,515) 

Getting paid to hack a company's database or a government system? Yeah, but it's ethical. Pinky promise! Indeed, ethical hacking is a niche industry for entities that want to ensure their security apparatuses are fully secure and don’t contain bugs.

A certified ethical hacker is essentially a cybersecurity expert who is tasked with verifying and improving the security of a corporation's computer system by running advanced penetration tests and identifying weaknesses in an overall IT system.

7. Graphic designer

Salary: $43,317 (£33,094)

A graphic designer is one of the most popular career choices today, especially for those professionals who are becoming entrepreneurs online. But you can find a full-time position at a company as a graphic designer.

What exactly does the position entail, though? Well, there are plenty of day-to-day chores that graphic designers need to do, such as planning concepts, illustrating these concepts for clients and management, preparing finished copy, and completing projects with your team. Of course, it’s also important to maintain your technical knowledge by attending continuing education courses.

8. Forensic Science Technician

Salary: $59,150 (£45,190)

If you were a high school student during the craze of CSI, then you probably wanted to go into forensic science. There’s actually a term for this: the CSI effect. Well, as long as somebody utters a witty line before The Who begin to play. Years later, when the CSI craze has died out, forensic science is still a field that needs people. Are you up for it?

Forensic science technicians are in one of the most compelling areas of criminal justice, as you collect and analyse evidence from a crime scene investigation for laboratory analysis.

9. TV/Movie news writer

Salary: $54,006 (£41,260)

Do you love television? Do you love motion picture? Can you write? Well, how about a job in television or movie news writing?

What makes this an intriguing job is that you have the option of either being self-employed or employed full-time by a publication. Ultimately, your job is to disseminate the latest news in the world of film and television, utilising the style guidelines by the publication.

10. Archivist

Salary: $28,880 (£22,070) 

Is the job of an archivist dead? Not quite. Before the ongoing coronavirus pandemic transformed the global economy, it was estimated that employment of archivists was forecast to grow about 9% by 2028. The idea is that demand will continue to balloon as both the public and private sector desire greater volumes of records and information be organised and made accessible.

And that is the primary function of an archivist: assemble, catalogue, preserve and manage historical information for businesses, governments and nonprofit organisations.

11. Engineer

Salary: $73,358 (£56,060)

Indeed, there are all kinds of engineers: aerospace, chemical, civil, electrical, mechanical, and the list goes on.

Whatever industry you enter, the role of an engineer is an important and lucrative position because it is your responsibility to analyse, develop and assess various systems and infrastructure. Your role is to design and draft blueprints and manage projects. This is typically the go-to career for any self-professed nerd who is good at STEM.

In this economy, finding a career is certainly not easy. At the same time, the difficulty of locating a position could be what sends you into an entirely different direction, whether it’s a new industry or a new job.

It’s often said that you should follow your passion, presumptively abandoning a practical occupation. But why can’t you integrate the two? For nerds, this is a real possibility, because many of the employment opportunities in their field are in demand and pay well, from the STEM field to ideal art and entertainment gigs. Not all superheroes wear capes – they just earn a handsome paycheque.

Can you think of any other nerdy jobs? Let us know in the comments section below!