Have you ever wondered which freelance skills will remain in demand?
If so, you might be going through a temporary work slump or maybe you're just curious about your future employability prospects.
Whatever your rationale is, we’re here to give you some data-backed answers!
Successful freelancers are so-called T-shaped professionals. You should have a broad spectrum of organizational and people skills paired with a “depth” of hard skills — aka your core professional competencies such as web design, app development, SEO, or photography.
Sample freelance skill-set
(time management, negotiation, customer listening, adaptability, etc.)
Additionally, most freelancers have (or develop) general business acumen skills.
Business acumen (also known as business savviness) is your knowledge of when, how, and why various business tasks need to get done. In other words, business acumen is the ability to understand how different organizations operate, combined with the experience of operating a solo business.
Examples of business acumen skills include:
The above may sound like a proper MBA, but don’t worry! You don’t need to have executive-level knowledge of all of these processes. Just a basic grasp of how your clients’ companies operate, paired with some basic business administration for running your own shop. Pst, this is an area where Xolo can help you a lot.
In short: strong digital literacy, people skills, and creativity, paired with continuous learning, are essential for future employability. Combined these can help you master emerging professions or upskill to command higher rates within your chosen field.
Knowing how the world of work is changing will help you determine which freelance skills will be in high demand in the future. Here’s what we’re seeing:
Combined these trends set the backdrop for the future of freelancing, where people with in-demand freelance skills can find meaningful and well-paid work, plus empowered to do so with great business tools and relevant legislation.
The world of work is changing fast thanks to sweeping digitization, increased levels of connectivity, and the booming freelance economy. But all of these are good things because they are creating new employment possibilities for independents and regular workers alike.
Here are some of the best freelance skills to learn (or dust off) to stay employable now and in the future:
Amidst this data boom sit savvy data scientists, who can comb through all the scattered insights to uncover valuable business insights. Not only do they gather, organize, and pre-cleanse available data, but they also build advanced statistical and predictive models for operationalizing the available intel. Then present important findings such as insights on trends and areas where there is room for improvement to other team members.
In 2021, the demand for data science roles increased by a whopping 295%. And it’s likely to remain in the double (or perhaps even triple!) range onward as there is too little available talent in the hiring markets.
Six in ten hiring managers said data science and analytics roles will be the hardest to fill in Q42022 and Q12023.
This makes data mining, data science, and big data visualization some of the most in-demand and highest-paying freelance skills
No business, large or small, is safe from cyberattacks. Hackers get more creative all the time, and their schemes are at times even more sophisticated than the technology they exploit.
By 2025, global cybercrime could inflict $10,5 trillion in losses for businesses (which is slightly more than Japan’s current GDP!).
So companies are actively investing in better cybersecurity technology and talent. Specialists are needed to protect sensitive information, expose system weaknesses, create protocols for the event of a breach, and train employees on cybersecurity awareness.
Somewhat counterintuitively, qualified hackers are in high demand. Ethical hacking is a burgeoning field in which the "good guys" imitate black hatters and attempt to breach systems. Armed with their on-the-job insights, they can then advise companies on how best to patch holes in existing security systems while building even better ones in the future.
Yet, since everyone’s on a hiring spree, not enough full-time talent is available on the market. By 2025, as many as 3,5 million cybersecurity jobs may be left unfilled.
So if you already have a knack for fiddling with software and meticulous attention to detail, consider picking up some cybersecurity skills for freelance such as:
There’s plenty of boot camps and professional certification programs (e.g., Certified Ethical Hacker (CEH)) that teach you this cool craft!
Cloud computing continues to occupy a bigger line in corporate budgets. Gartner estimates that 50% of IT spending will shift from traditional software to the public cloud by 2025. Also, two-thirds of all spending on apps will be directed toward cloud technologies by the same year.
So cloud computing will remain one of the top freelance skills for the foreseeable future. If you already know your way around AWS, Azure, or GCP, there are a couple of lucrative freelance opportunities here:
If you are an entry-level coder, don’t despair either. Remote jobs for cloud engineers are now aplenty — with most offering on-the-job training. Moreover, you can learn new cloud engineering skills on Coursera or Udemy.
Programming is one the most lucrative freelance skills, but it’s also a hard one to learn. If coding doesn’t sound like your jam, how about low code?
Low code is a method of developing applications that uses visual, drag-and-drop tools, instead of textual commands.
Think of low/no-code platforms as a LEGO pack. You get a bunch of pre-made application components to combine into a custom app. The simplest examples of low-code tools are apps like Zapier and IFTTT. Both let you build simple process automation workflows between popular business products.
Next, there are more advanced low-code platforms like
Think of it this way: Low-coding skills can help you automate mundane business admin tasks and leave you with more time on your hands. In fact, over 50% of EU workers believe that automation will help improve the quality of their work and provide them an opportunity to develop new skills. This fact alone makes low-code development one of the best freelance skills to learn today.
But there’s more. Low-code development can be a nice add-on to your client-facing skill set, which you can market alongside your core competencies in design, marketing, sales, or project management.
If you are looking for a creative future-proof freelance skill to learn, take a closer peek at voice user interface design (VOI).
Voice user interfaces (VUIs) allow the user to interact with an application using spoken commands. Virtual assistants, such as Siri or Google Assistant are popular examples of VUI. But these can also include voice chatbots and intelligent auto-respondent apps, which many businesses now employ.
The global voice user interface market is set to hit $45,94 billion by 2027 as new voice-enabled apps hit the mainstream such as in-car voice assistants, retail voice-enabled apps, and more!
As it’s easy to imagine, someone will need to design those guided experiences — and it could be you. You can already find VOI training materials on platforms like Udemy, Careerfoundry, or LinkedIn Learning. Premium certification programs are also available with Conversation Design Institute.
For those with an interest in cryptocurrencies and blockchains, a new interesting profession is coming to town — digital currency developer.
Nearly every central bank in the world is researching the possibility of launching a national central digital bank currency (CBDC) such as a digital Euro or sterling. Among them, 60% are already working on the “proof of concept” testing — aka analyze the legal and technical feasibility of minting digital currency.
The European Central Bank, for example, is evaluating different options for introducing a digital euro in the near future. The US Federal Reserve teamed up with MIT to design a blockchain-based dollar.
At present, the above may sound futuristic. But hey, did you think that Bitcoin is going to be a thing back in 2010? Probably not. If you have a working knowledge of blockchain protocols and economic background, you may be able to capitalize on this upcoming trend by offering advisory services to financial institutions and blockchain-curious businesses.
Did you know that video uploads grew by 263.4% over the past 5 years? Between social media content and on-demand streaming, that’s hardly surprising because our video viewership time grew at an equally staggering pace.
Americans alone clock in 6.8 billion hours of mobile video watching each month.
What’s in it for freelancers? Heightened demand for all sorts of videography services:
Businesses have recognized that video has become the new medium for engaging with target audiences. 56% plan to launch a video marketing program for 2022 and onward. So if you aren’t contemplating a good freelance niche, this might be the one for you!
Don’t knock it 'til you’ve tried it! Voice-over acting is a fun, fast way to make extra cash. Moreover, this can turn into a long-term lucrative freelance career if you lend your voice to
Also, voice-overs are used in video games, audiobooks, podcasts, webinars, cartoons, documentaries, and much more.
The good news is that you needn’t have a voice like James Earl Jones to be successful, but your voice should be a versatile instrument that can convey an array of messages and emotions. Also, voice-over actors, much like singers, continually train and practice to expand their vocal range.
Audio and video are emerging mediums, but written content isn’t losing any popularity points.
E-books might be the first example that comes to mind, but someone also has to write all the content for digital news publications, e-magazines, corporate newsletters, business and personal websites, business profiles, blogs, advertising copy, video scripts, and technical manuals. The list goes on and on.
Many successful freelance writers specialize and become authorities in one niche such as law, parenting, gardening, classic car restoration, or ancient Roman history. For internet content writing, it pays to learn freelance skills like search engine optimization (SEO), conversion rate optimization (CRO), and content marketing.
Writing also has several sub-specialties like editing, copywriting, and proofreading. If you’re a stickler for grammar and like working independently, writing is the way to go.
Web design and development continue to be mainstay high-demand freelance skills for the forseeable future.
Freelance developers can focus on front-end, back-end, or full-stack specialties. Front-end is basically anything on a website that users can see and interact with. Back-end developers concentrate on all the inner workings that are invisible to the average visitor. They’re also the troubleshooters that fix bugs and glitches. And full-stack developers are able to do it all.
When a website is successful, word spreads, and more clients flood your inbox.
Web designers, in turn, focus primarily on designing graphical user interfaces, better known as web pages and app screens. You should be experienced in front-end coding languages, but this job also involves creative thinking and an eye for design.
If you want to settle in this niche, here are in-demand freelance skills to learn:
Yes, and it’s called metacognition.
An OECD report about the necessary skills for the future defines metacognition as the skill of “thinking about thinking.” Ahem, and what does that mean?
Your ability to understand your own learning patterns and thought processes, which you can then translate into specific learning techniques for different situations.
In other words: If you know how to best teach yourself new freelance skills, you’re going to always stay in high demand!
Elena Prokopets writes content for tech-led companies & software development businesses, marketing to them. Her empathy for the customer, expertise in SEO, and knack for storytelling help create content that ranks well and drives industry conversations.
Elena uses Xolo Leap so she can focus on her solo B2B content writing business without stressing over the compliance and admin overhead.
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