The future is freelance tech skills, and it is now. The tech of the internet has enabled us to work from wherever we please, which has boosted the gig economy. The rise of tech has also created a huge demand for various tech skills. As a result, the freelance market is booming at an unprecedented rate.
The demand for freelance tech skills is rising, but not as fast as supply. This kind of climate entices freelancers to go an extra mile in order to acquire hot skills and separate themselves from the competition. Indeed, studies have shown that they are twice as more likely to reskill on their own when compared to traditional employees.
As a freelancer today, you would naturally wonder into which tech skills you should invest your limited time, energy, and money. Here are some of the essential ones that will empower you to get ahead of the pack.
Mobile & App Development
Smartphone use is reaching ever new heights and the app market is expanding beyond imagination. With the strong demand in place and average salaries close to $100K, developers are certainly in a good position to build lucrative careers. Those who stand to profit the most are seasoned pros fluent in multiple programming languages, including Java, C++, Python, C#, and Swift. One can also gain an edge in the gig market by honing UX and UI design skills.
Spectacular twists and turns of the cryptocurrency market have pushed the blockchain technology right into the spotlight. What many are not aware of is that this decentralized, public-ledger-based framework can be applied to much more than just Bitcoin transactions. Tech industry giants in the league of IBM are already experimenting with this tech and using it in new ways. Besides, Upwork has declared blockchain the fastest growing skill out of 5,000 other skills.
Augmented Reality (AR)
The dazzling success of apps like Pokémon Go has demonstrated what AR is capable of and that is just the beginning. It is going to gain traction in other sectors, such as home improvement and retail. Moreover, it will profoundly affect professions like journalists, producers, and teachers. Finally, in the next few years, this trend will prompt a greater demand for mobile app development that uses Mixed and Augmented Reality (MAR) technologies.
It is estimated that around 14,000 new websites come into existence every day. Businesses across all industry sectors are looking to establish a strong online presence and nobody is more qualified for that task than web designers. To rise above, they have to follow trends such as mobile-friendly design and taking care of UX. There are many great online places where they can see latest trends and find inspiration such as 99designs, Awwwards and DesignRush. This knowledge comes in extremely handy when fleshing out site layouts, capturing the visual identity of a brand, and creating animations and effects.
Cybersecurity is one of those fields where demand is predicted to surpass the supply. After all, the digital revolution has transformed the way we live and do business. Almost everyone uses a variety of online services to transfer data. This creates new security issues that make headlines on a daily basis. Hence, more and more cybersecurity experts will be tasked with weeding out network infiltration, identifying trackers, assessing vulnerability, and thwarting hacker attacks.
Search engines are tumultuous highways of the internet and every business wants to drive some of the traffic its way. It is up to SEO marketers to optimize web pages and boost online visibility. They are also under increasing pressure to link their efforts to increased conversions and revenue. This can only come through constant testing, measuring, and experimenting based on KPIs. A nice thing is that you can also employ SEO skills to optimize your own profiles on social media and freelance hubs.
AI & Machine Learning
Industries are being hit by a new wave of straight-out-of-a-SF-movie innovation, which is introducing the wider public to trends like chatbots, digital assistants, and self-driving cars. All these products are powered by AI and machine learning, which creates a wealth of opportunities for experts in the field. This year, demand is expected to increase by a staggering 60%. And if you manage to land a position such as a machine learning engineer, you can count on around $135K coming in every month.
With such a strong push coming from surrounding sectors, business intelligence is generating immense demand for data scientists. These tech wizards handle a variety of tasks, from priming raw data for analysis to visualizing it in order to support business decision making. Superior mathematical and analytical skills are paramount to career success and specialization is the name of the game. For the trouble of learning the ropes, you can be well rewarded with an income of over $115k.
This is another design skill to make the list, and to nobody’s surprise. Demand is on the roll in the design of logos, business cards, social profiles, and other areas. That being said, creative individuals among the ranks of freelancers will have to push harder to find well-paying gigs. What is more, they will need to think twice before picking their weapon of choice. Tools like Adobe InDesign are some of the fastest-growing right now, so do yourself a favor and keep a close eye on those.
Time to Maximize your Marketability
The freelance economy is heavily focused on tech and it is growing more digital with each passing day. This is both a great opportunity and a challenge for aspiring freelance professionals. There is not much room for drifting around aimlessly — you need to know that you are focusing on the right skills. The ones we covered are at an all-time high and only poised to grow in 2018 and beyond.
Use them as a roadmap: consider yourself invited to join the elite and climb up that career ladder.
Nina is a digital nomad and a blogger. She loves to share her experiences and meaningful content that educates and inspires people. Her main interests are web design and marketing. In her free time, when she’s away from the computer, she likes to do yoga and ride a bike. You can find her on twitter.