The 10 tech skills a freelancer needs to know

The freelance market is seeing an upturn, with employers looking for freelance professionals to fill talent gaps, according to platform Upwork.

Upwork’s latest “Freelance Forward Economist” report reveals that the share of American workers who classify themselves as permanent freelancers fell from 33.8% in 2020 to 35% in 2021.

More freelancers agree to work in skilled professions like computer programming, marketing and business consulting, rising from 50% in 2020 to 53% in 2021.

Website design and WordPress at the top of the list

The skills that grew the most in demand year over year on the Upwork platform were web programming (43%), web design (31%) and social media marketing (25%).

According to Upwork, this shift in the type of work freelancers do comes as companies struggle to find full-time staff in a fiercely competitive job market. Digital transformation is bringing new technical demands on businesses struggling to stay competitive, while full-time employees are leaving their jobs in record numbers, making it even more difficult to find and retain qualified personnel.

Companies recruiting for tech and IT roles have been hit hard, leading to a surge in demand for freelancers with web and programming expertise.

Here are the 10 most in-demand tech and digital skills on the Upwork platform:

  • website design;
  • WordPress;
  • Web programming ;
  • JavaScript;
  • CSS;
  • HTML;
  • PHP;
  • Shopify;
  • APIs;
  • graphic design.

Upwork says freelancers who can provide these skills will play a “critical role… in closing talent gaps and solving the most pressing business needs in 2022.”

Skills data is sourced from Upwork’s database and is based on gross service volume from 1er January to October 31, 2021. Each skill had a minimum of 500 projects posted during the period. Year-over-year growth was estimated by comparing gross service volume in 2021 to gross service volume in the same period of 2020.


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