Employers Are Paying Freelancers Big Bucks for These 25 In-Demand Skills
With the right skills and some hustle, freelancing pays like a full time job.
Want to join the freelancer revolution? Did you know that there are thousands of freelancer jobs that pay six figures?
Over the past ten years, I've both worked as a freelancer and hired countless freelancers, some for six-figure positions. And along the way, I've noticed that there are a few freelancer skills that pay more than others. Want to join the ranks of six-figure and other well remunerated freelancers? Here are the skills that hirers are looking for:
1. Natural language processing/Twilio API Development
Thanks to the emergence of voice-activated assistants, such as Amazon ($AMZN) Echo and Google ($GOOG) Home, natural language processing has become one of, if not the most in-demand freelancing skills.
This particular gig, in which you enable machines to understand human language, requires a background in computer science, artificial intelligence, and linguistics, and can command at its highest levels a salary of well over $100,000 annually.
2. Swift development
The Apple Watch was developed using the programming language Swift. Since sales for the Apple Watch broke records during the 2016 holiday season, demand for freelancers skilled in developing this iOS app is surging, with an average salary of $85,000.
3. Social media management
This one shouldn't come as a surprise. After all, businesses of all sizes are in need of talented individuals to implement and manage the day-to-day activities for their social media marketing campaigns.
While not as high-paying as more-tech related skills, social media managers average between $67,750 and $94,250 per year.
4. Amazon Marketplace Web Services (MWS)
Amazon Marketplace Web Service (Amazon MWS) is an integrated web service API that assists Amazon sellers to programmatically exchange data on listings, orders, payments and reports. Since this online ecommerce site is showing no signs of slowing, there's a need for freelancers with python skills. This also includes devops companies.
The amount freelancers can charge clients will vary depending on the scope of the project.
5. AngularJS development
With this skill, you can extend HTML vocabulary in order to build either mobile or desktop web applications. Since this is the framework for dynamic web apps, the demand for this skill should continue to increase.
6. MySQL programming
As the world's most popular open-source database, this skill -- which requires knowledge in web-scripting languages like PHP -- can earn freelancers between $45,495 and $99,187,depending on their experience.
7. Instagram marketing
Out of all the social media channels, Instagram is rapidly becoming the most popular. It's also underutilized for anyone wanting to grow a business. That's why the company is searching for marketers experienced with the Gram.
While there professional "Instagrammers" who are making six figures, the average Instagram marketer should expect around $15 per hour.
8. Twilio API development
Those who can build SMS, voice and messaging applications on an API -- specifically, Twilio's cloud-based communication platform -- are in high demand; and they can also earn up to a solid $35 per hour.
9. Brand strategy
Branding is all the rage these days, which is why both individuals and companies are searching for people who can develop positioning recommendations, guide market research analysis and define brand elements and tone.
The average pay for a brand strategist is $61,044 per year.
10. Business consulting
Business consultants work with clients on everything from strategy, planning and problem solving, to the development of business skills and knowledge. On average, a business consultant earns $71,254 per year.
Here are a few tips to becoming a better Instagram consultant.
11. Machine learning
According to Upwork, "data science is the fastest-growing category on its site for the second quarter in a row. Machine learning moved from Upwork's spot in Q3 to number 12 in Q4 "but continues to see rapid growth."
The average machine learning engineer salary is $114,826. I've found that some of the best engineers in machine learning are found on Toptal. It's another place where you can both hire and get six-figure jobs.
12. 3D rendering
In general, freelance designers are one of the hottest gigs around. Technology like 3D printing has become increasingly prevalent. In fact, it's anticipated to grow from $4.1 billion in revenue in 2014 to $12.8 billion by 2018. Currently, the average national salary is around $56,000.
13. Zendesk customer support
As support inquiries continue to skyrocket, customer-service software companies like Zendesk are looking for individuals to build customize experiences by placing products into existing APIs, apps and mobile SDKs. Software engineer salaries at Zendesk can range between $76,969 and $134,061. Another option would be to work with a company like Support Ninja. I've used that company and love its service.
14. Information security
Information-security analysts plan, as well as carry out, security measures to protect an organization's computer networks and systems, to thwart the increasing number of cyber-attacks.
Information security analysts can charge over $44 per hour.
15. R development
R is a programming language and software environment used for statistical computing and graphics, such as polls and surveys, which is commonly used by data miners. It's supported by the R Foundation for Statistical Computing. An R programmer can earn an average salary of $76,607 per year.
16. User experience design
Both website and app designers demand to be blown away whenever they land on a website or download an app. UX designers are responsible for these tasks through the creation of products that are simple and improve the experience of visitors.
17. Node.js development
18. Bluetooth specialist
Now that the iPhone 7 has eliminated the headphone jack, expect a rapid increase in the companies searching for people experienced with this ubiquitous technology.
IOS Bluetooth QA Engineer salaries at Apple, for example, range between $130,910 and $142,567.
19. Stripe specialist
As more and more businesses look for affordable and flexible options to accept payments, they're turning to freelancers to help them build a payment platform using APIs from payment infrastructures like Stripe. Stripe specialists can charge up to $95 an hour on freelance sites like Upwork. Looking for other options? Here is a list of the top payments companies, most of which have similar needs!
20. SEO/Content Writing
SEO and content writers help clients increase their visibility online, especially on search engines like Google or Bing, by creating engaging, relevant, and keywordoptimized content. The average salary, nationally, is $40,951.
21. Virtual assistant
Businesses are continuing to restructure and downsize. As such, everyone from business owners and managers to entrepreneurs is turning to virtual assistants to help manage administrative tasks, such as responding to emails, scheduling appointments and even handling public relations services.
The average salary is $15.56 per hour.
22. Immigration law
The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) expects a 6 percent job growth for all lawyers between 2014 and 2024. However, with the anxiety and uncertainty surrounding immigration under the Trump administration, immigration law is on a rapid rise. The median annual salary for lawyers as $115,820.
23. Accounting (CPA)
Despite the plethora of accounting software available, the freelancer generation is still in need of accountants to better understand complex issues like tax codes and deductions.
The average national salary is $65,940.
24. Photography/video editing
According to a report released by Freelancers.com, jobs for photographers have grown by about 22 percent, thanks to the fact that employers are "finally understanding the importance of high-quality pictures on their landing pages."
The demand for video editing, in particular, saw a 19 percent increase due to the same factors that caused the increase in photography jobs.
25. Voiceover artists
"While voiceover work has been around for decades, the move to digital is enabling talent to record from virtually anywhere," CNBC has noted. "Telephony, audiobook readers, dubbing work, e-learning instruction, animation dialogue and video game voices are just some of the jobs calling for voice actors."
A voice actor can charge such fees as $100 for a 15-second recording and $250 for a 30- or 60-second commercial, to about $3,000 per audiobook.
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