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These Are The Most In-Demand Freelancing Skills Right Now4 min read

March 7, 2017
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These Are The Most In-Demand Freelancing Skills Right Now4 min read

In a rapidly evolving technological landscape, keeping up with the Joneses can feel like a full-time job. New platforms emerge daily, and along with their immediate adoption and overnight indispensability come a host of associated skill-sets and required continuing ed.

Because we’re only human, Upwork has compiled its Skills Index, featuring the top 20 most in-demand freelancer skills, from Instagram marketing and brand strategy to Bluetooth. With 65 percent of the list in the technical sphere, we’ve teased out and explained the highlights below.

Sprechen sie computer?

The top two spots in the skills hotness chart are two sides of the same linguistic coin. Natural Language Processing, the technology enabling the interaction of spoken human language with computers, is behind the rise of virtual assistants like Siri and Alexa, and ranks as the most sought-after skill.

As we dutifully push modern home life ever closer to its Jetsons-esque destiny, the need for folks who can usher NLP through its awkward, occasionally defiant, and often racy growing pains is on a steep upward curve.

The second-highest demand increase is in Swift, the preferred Apple language powering most apps. With 90 percent of time spent in-app versus in mobile web, Swift becomes a non-negotiable among technical skills. To put it in perspective using economic terms, in-app shopping is the preferred method for one in three millennials, and mobile influences a staggering $1 trillion in in-store sales.

The cloud that makes it rain

With cloud-based solutions becoming the norm, the colossal Amazon Web Services (AWS) owns 40 percent of the cloud. Its Simple Storage Service known as S3 hosts more than 3 trillion pieces of data for nearly 150,000 internet-based services like Netflix, Dropbox, Slack, Pinterest, and Tumblr.

AWS ranks fourth on the Upwork in-demand skills index, followed by Stripe, an online payment technology powered, unsurprisingly, by AWS.

If AWS and S3 sound familiar, it may be that you saw them lambasted on Twitter on Feb. 28 while you were unable to load your favorite websites, your mobile boarding pass, or buy anything online during a widespread AWS outage. To contextualize the scale of AWS and why you should acquaint yourself with it, the five-hour outage caused north of $300 million in lost revenue between e-tailers, m-tailers, and financial services companies.

You can find a compelling offer on an AWS certification course here.

Rounding out the top five in third place is Tableau, a business intelligence, data visualization, and analytics service running in large part on AWS. Literacy with Tableau will build your resume, but consider also leveraging it to make data-driven decisions for your own business.

The Hustle&Co Skills Index

In the spirit of advancing the freelance sister- and brotherhood, we’ve listed our own top five soft skills below:

  • Teach Yo’self: The art of being a perennial student. Learn from the greats, understand the innovations in your industry, and regularly refresh your skill-set* to stay competitive. *See above.
  • Network Bearer: As a solopreneur, the burden of building a robust Rolodex of clients, collaborators, partners, and mentors lies solely with you. The ability to seek out the right people and maintain business relationships critically influences your potential for success. From meet-ups and conferences to coffee shops and spin class, any social activity is an opportunity to build your network.
  • Literally Being Your Own Boss: Expense-tracking, structuring your time, and creating rock-solid service agreements are essential freelancing skills. Like any good boss, this includes celebrating your wins and honestly navigating improvement opportunities along the way.
  • Call it a Comeback: Setbacks are inevitable, but can feel magnified when you’re a team of one. Building resilience, perseverance, and occasional self-forgiveness by playing your own coach and cheerleader are part of the recipe for long-term growth and success.
  • Being a Good Hombre: In addition to cultivating an ethical approach to doing business, it’s important to establish a policy and protocol for handling your goof-ups, as well as snafus falling within the force majeure category. They happen to the best of us, but the exceptional freelancer knows how to be transparent with partners and clients, proactively suggest solutions, and offer the right make-goods when applicable.

What skills are you working on to up your game? Drop us a note in the comments below.

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Emily Friga is a contributor for Hustle&Co, the leading publication devoted to educating and empowering the future workforce. Beyond offering up insights here, Emily is an Account Manager at Ibotta, where she is responsible for growing partnerships with top brands in the retail and restaurant verticals. In Emily’s free time, she enjoys running, drawing, playing the violin, and hiking.

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