With the tech unemployment rate notably low (hitting 1.8 percent in December, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics), employers everywhere are turning to freelance talent for help with their tech needs. But which tech skills are in highest demand among freelancers?
Upwork, a freelancing marketplace, recently crunched data from its own platform and found that employers need all kinds of developers to build and maintain everything from mobile apps to the front- and back-ends of websites. Based on that data, here are Upwork’s top 10 most in-demand tech skills for 2023:
- Full stack development
- Front-end development
- Back-end development
- Mobile app development
- Web design
- E-commerce website development
- UX/UI design
- CMS development
- Manual testing
- Scripting and automation
According to Upwork’s data, around 60 million Americans engaged in some kind of freelance work in 2022, or roughly 39 percent of the U.S. workforce.
If you’re a freelancer, this is a good time to consider raising your rates. Late last year, Upwork’s Freelance Forward 2022 report found that 43 percent of freelancers said they raised their rates during the past year. Some 39 percent said they did so because they had earned more professional experience, while 37 percent said economic conditions (such as inflation, presumably), and 36 percent indicated higher demand for their services.
“Freelancing continues to grow as a viable career choice for many U.S. professionals, especially those seeking greater flexibility and control,” read that report. “It also bodes well that younger generations are embracing freelance work en masse. In 2022, 43 percent of all Gen-Z and 46 percent of Millennial professionals freelanced.”
If you’re dipping your toe into the freelancing waters for the first time, it helps to keep some key tips in mind. Understanding the client’s needs is critical—the more time you take at the beginning of the process to break down their goals and requirements, the more pain you’ll save yourself during the actual implementation phase.
Second, don’t be afraid to charge full price for your skills. Employers really need specialized tech assistance right now. If you possess in-demand tech skills, there’s no need for you to accept a “bargain” price. Lurk in freelancing forums and talk to other freelancers for a better idea of what the market is charging for certain tasks and projects. (Signing onto a freelance platform can streamline this part of the process.)
If you feel the need to give clients a “value add,” consider something other freelancers aren’t offering, such as credits toward future site updates. Landing a great client is just the first part of the process—by providing great service and a few strategic extras, you can build a relationship that’ll (hopefully) result in a constant stream of business for years to come.