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10 of the Highest Paying Gig Economy Jobs of 2018

Thinking about joining the gig economy? Here are some top-notch jobs.
10 of the Highest Paying Gig Economy Jobs of 2018
Image credit: Maskot | Getty Images
6 min read

From flexible hours to being able to work from anywhere, it's no wonder people are opting to join the gig economy. There are more than 57 million freelancers in the U.S., contributing nearly $1.4 trillion to the economy every year. While the U.S. workforce continues to see growth, with an average of 2.6 percent each year, the country's freelancing growth rate is rapidly exceeding it, averaging 8.1 percent growth every year.

Related: Top 5 Ways Freelancers Can Stay Competitive in the Gig Economy

If you want to be successful as a freelancer or gig economy worker, you've got to cultivate the right skills. Many of those skills revolve around technology. To pinpoint the most highly sought-after skills that companies look for in their contract workers, Fit Small Business analyzed data from freelancing websites including Upwork, Freelancer, People Per Hour, Hubstaff and Guru to uncover the highest-paying gig economy jobs of 2018. Here are the top 10. 

10 of the Highest Paying Gig Economy Jobs of 2018

Deep learning jobs, $115.06/hour

Deep learning jobs, $115.06/hour
Image credit: MF3d | Getty Images
With the rise of AI, it's no surprise that deep learning jobs take first place for the highest-paying gig economy jobs. Deep learning is a category of machine learning that entails the development of neural networks that are inspired by and similar to those of the human brain, without needing labeled or structured data to function. Freelancers in this area typically have skills in algorithms and programming languages such as Tensorflow, Python, R, Java, Matlab, Perl and C++. On average, deep learning freelancers make $115.06 an hour.
10 of the Highest Paying Gig Economy Jobs of 2018

Blockchain jobs, $87.05/hour

Blockchain jobs, $87.05/hour
Image credit: MF3d | Getty Images
With the massive rise of cryptocurrency over the past year, it's no surprise that blockchain jobs are the second highest paid in the gig economy, with an average hourly rate of $87.05. Blockchain, the technology used to power cryptocurrencies, holds major opportunities for tech-savvy people. On top of the highly popular Bitcoin, Ethereum and Monero, more and more digital currencies are popping up every day. To join the cryptocurrency revolution, blockchain freelancers should have backgrounds as developers or digital architects. Their primary tasks typically consist of designing and developing blockchain technology for new cryptocurrencies, helping build exchanges and helping businesses set up cryptocurrency transactions for customer purchases. Blockchain freelancers should be experts in C++, Python and Solidity.
10 of the Highest Paying Gig Economy Jobs of 2018

Robotics jobs, $77.46/hour

Robotics jobs, $77.46/hour
Image credit: Daniel Ingold | Getty Images

People often fear that a robot will come in and take their job -- and unfortunately, that fear might not be so far-fetched. More and more robotics and technology companies are revealing advanced robots and automated technologies to help streamline tasks and make operations more efficient. However, while robots might take some jobs, there is still a need for people to fill robotics jobs. That's why this area is the third-highest-paying gig economy job, with an average hourly rate of $77.46. Robotics freelancers are typically responsible for building and designing mechanical elements and machinery, and have skills in mechanical engineering software such as SolidWorks Professional, Photoview 360, Simplify3D and eDrawings.

Related: Think Freelancers Have Easy, Flexible Lives? Think Again.

10 of the Highest Paying Gig Economy Jobs of 2018

Penetration testing jobs, $66.44/hour

Penetration testing jobs, $66.44/hour
Image credit: Petri Oeschger | Getty Images
Penetration testers, also known as "ethical hackers," are incredibly helpful to companies in checking their systems for potential security vulnerabilities and protecting them from criminal hackers. These freelancers typically have a strong background in coding and programming, are certified systems security professionals and are familiar with common attack vectors, mitigation techniques and web application vulnerabilities. The average hourly pay for freelance penetration testers is $66.44.
10 of the Highest Paying Gig Economy Jobs of 2018

Bitcoin jobs, $65.37/hour

Bitcoin jobs, $65.37/hour
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Bitcoin's been all the rage over the past year, with the price of a single Bitcoin going from $900 at the beginning of 2017 to $20,000 by the end of the year -- now its value is about half that. It's an extremely volatile market, with some people predicting it will crash and others betting on a positive future. Initially launched in 2009, Bitcoin became the first-ever cryptocurrency and the first time people began using blockchain technology. Whatever the future of Bitcoin might be, the skills surrounding it are highly sought after and entail building automated tools for trading and exchanges, developing market charts, automating sending and receiving of altcoins and setting up Bitcoin payments on apps and websites. Bitcoin freelancers typically make $65.37 an hour and have expertise in Python, Javascript (Node.JS), Ruby, PHP and other programming languages.
10 of the Highest Paying Gig Economy Jobs of 2018

Amazon Web Services Lambda jobs, $51/hour

Amazon Web Services Lambda jobs, $51/hour
Image credit: Amazon
Unlike traditional servers that run all the time and charge for the space an application takes up even when not in use, Amazon Web Services Lambda only runs code when an event triggers it and only charges for the time that the code runs. This is becoming a popular area for freelancers because businesses are beginning to opt for AWS Lambda over traditional servers because of its low costs. Freelancers who specialize in AWS Lambda know how to write and load code for Lambda, and are proficient in Node.js, Python, Java and C#. The average hourly pay for freelance AWS Lambda jobs is $51 per hour.
10 of the Highest Paying Gig Economy Jobs of 2018

Virtual reality jobs, $50.18/hour

Virtual reality jobs, $50.18/hour
Image credit: Westend61 | Getty Images

As the seventh-highest-paying gig economy job, with an average hourly rate of $50.18, virtual reality freelancers are typically responsible for developing algorithms and have backgrounds in 3D modeling and scanning. To excel in these roles, freelancers must also be fluent in C#, C and C++.

Related: Everything You Need to Know About Hiring a Freelancer

10 of the Highest Paying Gig Economy Jobs of 2018

React.js jobs, $40.75/hour

React.js jobs, $40.75/hour
Image credit: React.js
React is a JavaScript library for creating user interfaces, primarily used by front-end software developers. React provides developers templates and resources that already have written codes that contain operations, functions, classes and data structures so developers don't have to start from scratch when building UIs. A number of major businesses such as Airbnb, American Express and Yahoo rely on React, so it's a great area to get into. To excel as a React.js freelancer, you should have a background in software development and be fluent in JavaScript, HTML5 and CSS. The average hourly pay for React.js jobs is $40.75.
10 of the Highest Paying Gig Economy Jobs of 2018

Final Cut Pro X jobs, $37.12/hour

Final Cut Pro X jobs, $37.12/hour
Image credit: Apple
Entertainment, production, marketing, advertising and other major industries rely on Apple's Final Cut Pro X for video editing. The software is incredibly helpful in creating and editing movies, videos and advertisements. Freelancers looking for Final Cut Pro X jobs must be able to cut video clips, use transitions, integrate background music, use cut and motion techniques to engage audiences and edit scenes using multiple angles. The average hourly pay for these types of freelancers is $37.12.
10 of the Highest Paying Gig Economy Jobs of 2018

Instagram marketing jobs, $31.23/hour

Instagram marketing jobs, $31.23/hour
Image credit: David Paul Morris | Getty Images
Instagram is one of the most popular social platforms, so it's no wonder Instagram marketing is one of the highest-paid freelance gigs of 2018. With 800 million active users and 70 percent of businesses using the platform for advertising purposes, Instagram marketing jobs are in high demand. To be a freelance Instagram marketer, you should understand the platform and its algorithms, be able to create engaging content, build a brand's voice, analyze growth and performance metrics and run paid Instagram campaigns. Instagram marketing freelancers typically make $31.23 an hour.
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  • 10 of the Highest Paying Gig Economy Jobs of 2018
  • 1. Deep learning jobs, $115.06/hour
  • 2. Blockchain jobs, $87.05/hour
  • 3. Robotics jobs, $77.46/hour
  • 4. Penetration testing jobs, $66.44/hour
  • 5. Bitcoin jobs, $65.37/hour
  • 6. Amazon Web Services Lambda jobs, $51/hour
  • 7. Virtual reality jobs, $50.18/hour
  • 8. React.js jobs, $40.75/hour
  • 9. Final Cut Pro X jobs, $37.12/hour
  • 10. Instagram marketing jobs, $31.23/hour
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