10 Jobs That Could Make You a Billionaire

sexy man and woman on boat Chic Metropolitan

If, as many of us do, you’re hoping to become a billionaire like Warren Buffet, Bill Gates, Carlos Slim, Liliane Bettencourt or Mark Zuckerberg, then look no further; we’ve put this little guide together to help you kick-start your journey to ultimate financial success.

Billionaires’ Degree Backgrounds

The first question that you might ask is whether you need a degree to become a billionaire. The short answer is: no, you don’t.



While most fat cats have obtained some sort of higher educational qualifications, like a bachelor’s or a master’s degree, a 2015 study by Approved Index found that one third of the world’s top 100 billionaires had made their fortunes without a tertiary education.

Look at Microsoft founder-cum-philanthropist Bill Gates, for example, who dropped out of Harvard in 1974. Then there’s Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg who also dropped out of Harvard, and Amancio Ortega (the man behind Zara) who left school at age 14 and never looked back.

If you’re still bent on going to uni, though, the best degree to pursue is one in engineering – not least because it leads to the highest salaries.




Average Wealth (in billions)


32 per cent

$24.03 (£19.55)


22 per cent

$25.77 (£20.73)


12 per cent

$22.50 (£18.10)


9 per cent

$20.51 (£16.50)


8 per cent

$22.10 (£17.78)


3 per cent

$15.83 (£12.73)


2 per cent

$12.50 (£10.06)


2 per cent

$17.75 (£14.29)


2 per cent

$13.20 (£10.63)


8 per cent

$19.66 (£15.83)


Other Highlights of the Study

  • 39 per cent of billionaires come from the USA; the next top billionaire producer is Germany with 8 per cent, followed by China and Russia (6 per cent each). UK makes up just 2 per cent of the top 100 billionaires.
  • 19 per cent made their fortune through tech; 15 per cent made it through retail
  • 68 per cent are currently married
  • An arts degree has created more billionaires than STEM subjects like maths and science

Top 10 Jobs to Become a Billionaire


The next question you’ll probably have is: ‘how do I become a billionaire?’

Though there is no set path to becoming a real-life Charles Foster Kane or Tony Stark, there are some professions that could potentially help you to build a fortune in the 10-figure (or more) range - as evidenced by some of the world’s richest people.

Here are 10 jobs that could make you a billionaire:


1. Investment Banker

Jorge Paulo LemannForbes

Case Study: Jorge Paulo Lemann

Country of Citizenship: Brazil, Switzerland

Net Worth: $30 billion (£24.1 billion)

How does the Brazilian son of of a Swiss immigrant become one of the wealthiest people in the world? Well, you move to Switzerland, start your career as an investment banker at Credit Suisse in Geneva and then co-found one of Brazil’s most prestigious and innovative investment banks, Banco Garantia. Simple, right?

Lemann received a bachelor’s degree in economics from Harvard University in 1961 and, perhaps most interestingly, won the Brazilian national tennis championship 5 times.


2. Author

JK RowlingUrbanette

Case Study: J.K. Rowling

Country of Citizenship: United Kingdom

Net Worth: $1.2 billion (£965 million)

A single mum who barely made ends meet each month, Rowling came up with a story about a boy wizard on a crowded train in 1990. She completed the manuscript for Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone in 1995 and, after being rejected by 8 other publishers, it was finally picked up by Bloomsbury in 1997.

An estimated $160 million (£128.7 million) in charity giving, combined with Britain’s high tax rates, briefly caused Rowling to lose her billionaire status in 2012. The New York Times, though, recently ran a story estimating her fortune to be worth $1.2 billion after the success of Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them and a series of stage productions, making her the richest author on the planet.



3. Athlete

Michael JordanESPN

Case Study: Michael Jordan

Country of Citizenship: USA

Net Worth: $1.3 billion (£1 billion)

Michael Jordan is considered to be the greatest basketball player of all time, while his leaping ability has earned him the nicknames Air Jordan and Air Highness. He briefly retired from basketball in 1993 following the murder of his father James Snr, returning in 1995 and starring in the feature film Space Jam in 1996. He retired again in 1999 and permanently in 2003.

Jordan is also known for his product endorsements which include Nike’s Air Jordan sneakers. In 2006, meanwhile, he became part-owner and head of basketball operations for the then Charlotte Bobcats, buying a controlling interest in 2010. He is currently the third richest African American in the world, while many of his successors in the NBA are among the highest paid athletes on the globe.


4. Entrepreneur

Bill GatesEntrpreneur

Case Study: Bill Gates

Country of Citizenship: USA

Net Worth: $86 billion (£69.1 billion)

Chances are you’re reading this article while using Windows OS, and if you are, you’ve got Bill Gates to thank for that. Gates dropped out of Harvard back in 1974 to co-found Micro-Soft a year later with Paul Allen, a company which later dropped the hyphen and eventually became the world’s largest software maker by revenue.

Gates is the richest man in the world with a net worth estimated at $86 billion, a title he has held from 1995 to 2007, again in 2009, and since 2014. Although, he stepped down as chairman of Microsoft in February 2014, he continues to inspire a new wave of successful entrepreneurs.


5. Lawyer

Wichai ThongtangWTH Holdings

Case Study: Wichai Thongtang

Country of Citizenship: Thailand

Net Worth: $1.5 billion (£1.2 billion)

‘I’m low profile but high profit,’ Winchai Thongtan once joked. And it’s completely true: the lawyer who represented the former prime minister of Thailand, Thaksin Shinawatra, has been quietly accumulating assets for decades – mostly from his stake in hospital operator Bangkok Dusit.


6. Real Estate Developer

Lee Shau-KeeSouth China Morning Post

Case Study: Lee Shau-Kee

Country of Citizenship: Hong Kong

Net Worth: $24.4 billion (£19.6 billion)

A career in real estate is no doubt a safe route to wealth. Just ask Lee Shau-Kee, the founder of Henderson Land Development, who has been dubbed ‘one of Hong Kong’s richest landlords’. Lee grew up in a poor family that could only afford to eat meat or fish twice a month but by 1997 (and prior to the handover of Hong Kong to China) was the fourth richest person in the world.



7. Surgeon

Patrick Soon-ShiongForbes

Case Study: Patrick Soon-Shiong

Country of Citizenship: South Africa, USA

Net Worth: $8.6 billion (£6.9 billion)

Becoming a surgeon is no walk in the park, especially when you consider the time and money you’ll need to invest in education and training. However, the silver lining is that doctor salaries are high almost wherever you go.

Some surgeons, meanwhile, make a hell of a lot more than that. Case in point: Patrick Soon-Shiong, who is known for co-discovering the orphan drug Abraxane and for developing the experimental Type 1 diabetes treatment known as encapsulated human-islet transplant.


8. Inventor

James DysonDigital Trends

Case Study: James Dyson

Country of Citizenship: United Kingdom

Net Worth: $4.2 billion (£3.3 billion)

Born in Cromer, Norfolk, James Dyson helped design the Rotork Sea Truck, a flat-hulled, high-speed watercraft in 1970 while studying at the Royal College of Art. His first original invention, meanwhile, was the Ballbarrow which was a modified version of the wheelbarrow. Dyson, though, is probably best known for inventing the Dual Cyclone bagless vacuum cleaner and the Airblade hand dryer. He is living proof that if you've got a strong product and you know how to market it, then there's nothing keeping you from the "three comma club".


9. Hedge Fund Manager

Case Study: Steve Cohen

Country of Citizenship: USA

Net Worth: $13 billion (£10.4 billion)

The stock market is an important part of the economy, and it can also be an important source of income – especially if you’re someone like Steve Cohen. He attended the prestigious Wharton School - home to one of the best MBA programmes in the world - where he obtained a degree in economics, before landing a job on Wall Street in 1978, where he eventually managed a $75 million portfolio and 6 traders. Cohen later went on to found Point72 Asset Management and S.A.C. Capital Advisors.


10. Accountant

Denise CoatesCharity Today

Case Study: Denise Coates

Country of Citizenship: United Kingdom

Net Worth: $3.6 billion (£2.8 billion)

The founder and CEO of online gambling company Bet365, Denise Coates started her career as a humble cashier at the family’s bookmaking firm, Provincial Racing. She went on to attend the University of Sheffield, where she achieved a first class degree in econometrics, and then trained as an accountant in the family business.

In 2000, Coates purchased the domain Bet365.com and has since turned it into an online gambling empire operating in almost 200 countries and serving millions of customers.



It’s important to understand that no two success stories are the same and that there is no set recipe to becoming a billionaire. One move could make someone the richest person in the world, seemingly overnight, but the same move could be your undoing.

It often takes years of hard work and dedication (and quite a bit of luck) as well as taking risks, failing and learning from your mistakes, before being anywhere close to joining the likes of Jeff Bezos, Bill Gates and Mark Zuckerberg on the list of the world’s billionaires.

If all else fails, though, keep trying your luck at the lottery or consider marrying a billionaire instead of becoming one.

Can you think of any other jobs that could make you a billionaire to add to the list? Join the conversation below and let us know!


This article was originally published in April 2015.