The Most In-Demand Freelance Skills For 2019

A big part of your success as a freelancer will depend on the skills you have. The right skills will significantly improve your earning potential, and allow you to work on projects you’re passionate about.

In this post, I’ll cover some of the most commonly sought-after freelance skills for 2019, and share some resources worth exploring to learn more about each one.

7. Software Development

Software development has only become more important in the past two decades. With the advent of smartphones, the cloud, and big data, the demand for skilled programmers has skyrocketed.

Of course, the programming language you specialize in can make a huge difference in the quality of the work you find. The chart below shows a list of the most popular programming languages on GitHub, ranked according to pull requests. Pull requests are an indicator of the amount of code being written.

While a degree is usually required to get a job in this field, there are plenty of online courses you can use to teach yourself how to program. The two most popular resources are Treehouse and Codecademy. Once you become proficient at a programming language, you can offer your services to clients as a freelancer.

Earning Potential: ★★★★☆

6. Blockchain Development

Bitcoin didn’t just revolutionize the digital payment and currency industry, it ushered in a completely new framework for doing business, keeping records, sending information, and staying anonymous. Seemingly overnight, a whole new industry was born.

Why is blockchain gaining so much attention? Because it’s a completely decentralized way of generating records and retaining anonymity. That means no third-party bank to delay your funds or review your personal information.

We’re still in the early stages of seeing a total blockchain revolution, so now would be the best time to learn. I recommend the BlockGeeks guide for a good intro and overview of what blockchain development looks like.

Earning Potential: ★★★★★

5. Content Writing

Most companies rely on high-quality content to grow, which means that the demand for content writers will continue to increase. A recent survey by Hubspot found that 60% of businesses placed blog content writing as their top marketing priority.

Source: Hubspot

Writing also remains one of the most vital skills for anyone to have. There are so many different kinds of writing you can do, including:

  • Article/Blog Writing
  • Research/Grant Writing – to secure funding for universities and other institutions
  • Communications Writing – press releases, direct mail
  • Copywriting – ads, flyers, billboards, promos, ebooks, white-papers
  • Technical Writing – manuals, instructions, guides, documents

Of course, if you know how to write, you aren’t just limited to writing. In other words, you can use your talents to proofread and edit if needed.

If you want to improve your writing skills, start by reading some well-written books. Check out On Writing by Stephen King for a master class on sharpening your craft.

If you’re interested in copywriting, check out Ogilvy on Advertising by David Ogilvy, one of the original ad men. Finally, I always recommend a copy of Elements of Style by William Strunk Jr.

Earning Potential: ★★★★☆

4. Search Engine Marketing

The number of people using internet search engines is increasing every year and there are no signs that this trend will stop any time soon. In 2018, 48.9% of the global population accessed the internet and by 2021 this figure is projected to grow to 52.4%.

Image sourse: Smart Insights

If a business is serious about expanding online operations, everything starts with search engine marketing or SEM for short.

SEM involves using paid advertising to increase visibility and engagement on search engines or put simply, to drive more traffic to the website.

Search marketing industries continue to generate billions each year, but with the rise of programmatic ads, search marketers will need to find innovative ways to incorporate AI into their workflow.

While there are plenty of great guides on the web for how to become a good marketer, the best way to learn is to set up an ad campaign yourself. If you want a great walkthrough, take a look at Google’s own Academy for Ads.

Earning Potential: ★★★☆☆

3. UX and UI Design

The demand for UX and UI Designers has grown significantly over the past couple years. UX Design is short for User Experience Design, while UI Design stands for User Interface Design. These two roles work closely together, but there are few differences between them.

UX design refers to the process of researching, developing, and refining all aspects of a user’s interaction. The role of a UX designer is to ensure that users find value when they interact with a company’s products or services both on and offline.

UI design, on the other hand, is all about making the products look good. UI designers are responsible for the visual elements you see on a website, such as buttons and icons, page alignment, and graphics.

A great place to learn about UX and UI design is Design Lab. They offer several online courses where you can learn UI/UX design skills with the help of an expert mentor.

Earning Potential: ★★★★☆

2. Social Media Marketing

Just think about it–two decades ago, this position didn’t even exist! Nowadays, a business that doesn’t have a social media profile may as well be invisible. Social media can act as a customer support service, a user interaction tool, or simply a storefront for the business.

Don’t expect to know everything there is to know about social media marketing just from your experience having a Facebook account. Social media marketing is far more exhaustive–involving advertising, managing business accounts, and developing unique outreach strategies.

You can learn more about social media marketing best practices by reading The Ultimate Guide to Social Media Marketing Campaigns from Hubspot.

Earning Potential: ★★★★☆

1. Machine Learning Engineering

Machine learning is the science of getting computers to act without being explicitly programmed. Similar to the blockchain, this field is still new, and there’s plenty of opportunity available.

Check out these introductory guides from Moz and from Google to get acclimated. To get a feel for just how influential machine learning will become, watch this video on YouTube.

Perhaps the most accessible way to learn for yourself is to try TensorFlow, an open source framework for Machine Learning developed by Google. TensorFlow is already being utilized by companies such as Uber, SAP, eBay, Snapchat, Intel, and Qualcomm.

The learning curve may be steep, but the resulting pay makes up for it.

Earning Potential: ★★★★★

Takeaway

These are just a few of the most valuable skills to learn but by no means the only ones. No matter which skills you have, it’s important to focus on one and then specialize.

Don’t try and be a jack of all trades. Find one thing you enjoy doing, or that you excel at, and stick with it.

Jerome Okutho
Jerome Okutho
Jerome helps freelancers succeed online. He has a passion for everything technology, marketing, and blogging. He currently resides in Ottawa, Canada.
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