What are the fastest-growing freelancer skills right now?
The latest Upwork Skills Index shows that the top 10 fastest growing skills are all newcomers.
Freelancers are fast becoming one of the largest groups in the job market and with a significant number of freelancers and contract jobs for tech professionals, the group is on an upward trend.
But as in all sectors, it comes down to the skills you bring with you. This becomes even more important for tech freelancers as you find your next job based on your skills.
Upwork is one of the world’s largest freelance websites. According to the latest skills index, there has been a dramatic change in what is currently the hottest skills for freelancers.
The website’s index for the third quarter of 2018 shows all new additions to the top 10 slots for freelance skills, with additional additions in the next 10. In particular, skills in the areas of biotech, software development and mixed reality (MR) recorded high growth .
Rich Pearson, Upwork’s senior vice president of marketing, said the rapid pace of technology is the main driver behind these changes. “The World Economic Forum predicts that by 2020 35 percent of the need for skilled workers will change. To fill these new, specialized positions, companies are increasingly turning to freelance workers. “
At this level of skill turnover, Pearson said, freelancers need constant training and stay on top of trends. “Areas such as Artificial Intelligence (AI), biotechnology, green tech, and aerospace engineering will evolve among many others, and it will be critical for freelancers to keep pace with skill needs, regardless of the industry.”
However, freelancers seem already aware of this requirement and it will pay off in the job market. “With 70 percent of full-time freelancers having completed training in the past six months (compared to just 49 percent of full-time non-freelancers), companies are increasingly turning to freelancers to access the skills they need when they need to they need, ”said Pearson.
Trends in freelance skills
The most popular skill among freelancers in the third quarter was the Dropbox API. Companies are looking for developers who can leverage the API to programmatically manage and control their content.
This trend also shows the increasing investments in public cloud services and infrastructure. As companies seek flexibility and agility, the need for capabilities in cloud services will grow rapidly. Because of this, the Google Cloud Platform, Kubernetes, and the Google App Engine API are all in the top 20 fastest growing freelance skills.
The need for MR skills is also growing, with Oculus Rift just below the top 10 freelance skills. This is impressive growth given that Oculus only launched its professional bundle, Oculus for Business, last year.
While blockchain skills were once considered a hot trait, the latest skills index is showing a dramatic decline.
In fact, blockchain was the fastest growing capability in the first quarter of this year and featured on three of the last four quarterly lists. However, it didn’t make it into the top 20 this time around. This is borne out by recent statistics which show that 75 percent of Irish people would not consider a career in the blockchain.
However, Pearson said the demand for blockchain capabilities has not completely gone. “Demand for blockchain was still high in the third quarter, with more than 1,000 jobs on Upwork, and the capability grew 63 percent year over year in terms of billing for US freelancers.”
More than technology
While the latest Freelancer Skills Index reveals a number of key technology trends, an interesting new entry to the list is molecular biology. Science skills aren’t often available for freelancers, but it’s the third fastest growing skill this quarter.
According to Pearson, this is because companies are leveraging freelance talent for high-quality, strategic work beyond traditional areas like software development and marketing.
“Companies are hiring independent professionals to study the biology of the body, especially genetics,” he said. “We strive to understand biological evolution on a deeper level, and natural selection is under constant scrutiny. We see related job postings on Upwork – from paternity to genealogy (family trees) to general DNA testing. “
Top 10 Fastest Growing Freelance Skills in Q3 2018
1. Dropbox API
2. Stock research
3. Molecular Biology
4. iPhone UI design
5. Salesforce Marketing Cloud
6. Genetic Algorithms
7. Vue.js framework
9. Social customer service
10. Personnel advice