Building a slide deck, pitch, or presentation? Here are the big takeaways:
- Blockchain, Tensorflow, and Amazon DynamoDB were the fastest-growing and most in-demand freelance skills in Q1 2018. — Upwork, 2018
- The 20 fastest-growing freelance skills experienced more than 130% year-over-year growth in demand. — Upwork, 2018
Freelance work has exploded in recent years, thanks to talent shortages faced by many enterprises and the rise of the gig economy. More than half (53%) of hiring managers cite access to skills as their biggest hiring challenge, and the majority (59%) are already tapping flexible talent, according to a recent report from freelancing website Upwork.
"As skills become more specialized, companies either need to invest in reskilling to prepare workers for the jobs of tomorrow or leverage freelance professionals who are nearly twice as likely as traditional employees to proactively take reskilling upon themselves," Stephane Kasriel, CEO of Upwork and co-chair of the World Economic Forum's Council on the Future of Gender, Education and Work, said in a press release. "Many of today's Fortune 500 companies are already doing this, and adoption of flexible workers will increase as hiring gets harder."
But what skills are most in-demand when it comes to freelance work? On Tuesday, Upwork released its Q1 2018 Skills Index, ranking the 20 fastest-growing skills for freelancers. The 20 fastest-growing freelance skills experienced more than 130% year-over-year growth in demand, the report found. Demand for the top 10 skills grew more than 400% compared to the same time last year.
SEE: IT jobs 2018: Hiring priorities, growth areas, and strategies to fill open roles (Tech Pro Research)
Here are the 20 fastest-growing skills for freelancers in Q1 2018.
Blockchain's growth puts it on the path to become what the cloud was back in the mid-2000s, the report found. In Q1, blockchain saw 6,000% year-over-year growth, making it the fastest-growing skill out of more than 5,000 skills on Upwork.
While initially hyped up, several major enterprises including IBM and Samsung are already leveraging the technology. "As more executives try to navigate this technology, there is soaring demand for talented experts familiar with it who can help demystify it and explore potential uses," the report stated.
Google's Tensorflow is being used in machine learning to solve challenging problems worldwide.
3. Amazon DynamoDB
Companies are seeking talent that can work with Amazon's NoSQL database service.
4. Voice over
As 67% of CMOs say they are planning to increase their digital advertising spend in 2018, according to Gartner, demand for voice over talent has risen as companies shift away from traditional agencies and towards freelance talent, the report noted.
Similar to voice over, companies are turning to freelancers for subtitling work in marketing content.
6. Art direction
Core marketing functions like art direction were also in demand in Q1, as companies seek experts to ensure consistency for their brand's look and feel across all platforms, the report found.
7. Content strategy
As with art direction, marketing departments are seeking professionals who can plan, develop, and manage content across all of their channels.
8. Computer vision
Increasing demand for AI-related skills like computer vision, augmented reality, chatbot development, and machine learning (all found lower in the list) suggests that companies are embracing freelancers to find emerging skills, but also that freelancers are preparing themselves for work in a future with more automation, the report noted.
9. Microsoft Power BI
Companies are looking for people skilled in Microsoft's suite of business analytics tools to better glean insights from their data.
10. Augmented reality
Augmented reality is beginning to infiltrate the enterprise, with some companies using the technology for training or demonstration purposes.
11. Chatbot development
Organizations must know how to properly implement chatbot APIs through text or voice if they want to succeed in today's customer service landscape.
12. React native
React native is a development framework used to build native apps using React. This is the second consecutive quarter that the skill has landed on the list, demonstrating companies' desire to build mobile apps that use the same UI for iOS and Android.
13. Media buying
Companies are looking for freelancers who can help them purchase advertising from websites, newspapers, magazines, and other outlets.
14. Go development
Go is a programming language created by Google in 2009. It also appeared on the list for the second consecutive quarter. Go is the No. 1 language that developers said they plan to learn, according to HackerRank.
15. Information security
With the EU's General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) coming later in May, companies are seeking information security specialists to provide guidance on how to retrofit privacy policies to comply.
16. Scala development
Scala development combines object-oriented and functional programming in one high-level language. It appears on the list for the first time this quarter. Scala developers in the US are among the highest-paid, according to Stack Overflow.
17. Instagram API
18. Adobe Premiere
Many companies are turning to Adobe's video editing software for marketing materials, training videos, and other purposes.
19. Machine learning
From Apple to Google to Toyota, companies worldwide are pouring resources into developing AI systems with machine learning. Google is also offering a free 15-hour machine learning crash course for those interested in picking up some skills in the area.
20. AngularJS development
AngularJS development has been included on the fastest-growing skills list for seven consecutive quarters, more than any other skill in the index's history.
- Special report: IT Jobs in 2020: A leader's guide (free PDF) (TechRepublic)
- No, AI won't eat your job, say tech chiefs, and here's why (ZDNet)
- Blockchain: A cheat sheet (TechRepublic)
- Five tech jobs that AI and automation will make radically more efficient (ZDNet)
- Report: Why women work in the gig economy (TechRepublic)
- The 10 highest-paying gig economy jobs are all in tech (TechRepublic)
Alison DeNisco Rayome is a Staff Writer for TechRepublic. She covers CXO, cybersecurity, and the convergence of tech and the workplace.