Freelancer tech skills
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These are the hottest tech skills for freelancers right now

13 Nov 2017

With freelancers expected to make up more than half of the US workforce by in the next decade, what are the fastest-growing skills for those workers?

There’s a ripple effect when it comes to skills. As industries grow and change, new needs surface. This brings about a need for talent to upskill to fill those needs.

In order to stay ahead of the game, freelancers need to be hot on the heels of trending skills. And, in the ever-changing world of tech, needs change fast, so skills grow fast, too.

According to freelance website Upwork’s quarterly skills index, some of the fastest-growing skills for Q3 2017 made the top 10 for the first time.

According to Upwork’s report, the fastest-growing skill in the US freelance job market is robotics. As major companies, including Amazon and Toyota Research Institute, pursue initiatives around robotics, it’s no surprise that skills in the robotics sphere topped the list.

In fact, robotics made the list for the first time this quarter and went straight to No 1. Following robotics were fintech skills around blockchain and bitcoin, both of which were new additions to the list, coming in at No 2 and 3, respectively.

Freelancers need fintech skills

Blockchain and bitcoin have been a hot topic for a while now, as more financial institutions and tech giants are going into the cryptocurrency business.

Earlier this year, Microsoft and Intel announced a new blockchain collaboration, set to make serious waves in the fintech space.

Meanwhile, bitcoin’s skyrocketing price is only generating more of a need for workers skilled to work within the industry.

Skills further down the list included penetration testing, augmented reality, deep learning and machine learning.

According to the report, the 20 fastest-growing freelance skills in Q3 2017 all experienced more than 100pc year-on-year growth.

Meanwhile, the top 10 grew more than 200pc compared to the same time period last year.

The growing gig economy

The most in-demand freelance skills are becoming increasingly important every year. New data shows that more than 57m Americans are now freelance.

Stretching further out, Upwork’s latest freelance report predicts that more than half of the American workforce will be made up of freelancers in the next decade.

Upwork CEO Stephane Kasriel said freelancers recognise the importance of upskilling.

“Freelancers realise how quickly the skills needed are evolving, and are the most proactive members of the workforce, reskilling much more frequently than traditional employees,” he said.

“Because of this, they will play a major role in guiding the future of work – something we all have a responsibility to do.”

Jenny Darmody
By Jenny Darmody

Jenny Darmody became the editor of Silicon Republic in 2023, having worked as the deputy editor since February 2020. When she’s not writing about the science and tech industry, she’s writing short stories and attempting novels. She continuously buys more books than she can read in a lifetime and pretty stationery is her kryptonite. She also believes seagulls to be the root of all evil and her baking is the stuff of legends.

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