The Most In-Demand Freelance Skills for 2019

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Whether you’re an aspiring freelancer or an existing freelancer looking to gain new skills, a hot topic is always “Which freelance skills are in-demand at the moment?” In 2019, there are a range of freelance skills that clients are seeking, so today we’ll look at what those skills are. But we’ll also consider whether choosing your freelance career based on what’s in demand is the best option.

What are the top skills in 2019?

Depending on which website you look at, the most in-demand freelancing skills for 2019 vary.

Entrepreneurship.com lists the top 10 freelance skills as:

  1. Virtual assistant
  2. Writing & editing
  3. Graphic design
  4. Spreadsheets
  5. Accounting & bookkeeping
  6. Customer service
  7. Sales
  8. Social media marketing
  9. E-commerce
  10. Web development

USA Today has a similar list, albeit a different order and a few varying skills:

  1. Marketing
  2. Blockchain
  3. Writing & editing
  4. Graphic design
  5. Web design
  6. Photography
  7. Accounting
  8. Customer service
  9. Excel
  10. Virtual assistant

Freelance platform Upwork lists very different skills:

  1. Dropbox API
  2. Equity research
  3. Molecular biology
  4. iPhone UI design
  5. Salesforce
  6. Genetic algorithms
  7. js framework
  8. Kubernetes
  9. Social customer service
  10. HR consulting

And so on…

What does this mean?

There are some evergreen skills that pop up on almost every list—web design, marketing, and writing. The fact that these appear on most lists suggest they really are in-demand, and the nature of them suggests they are likely to be for the foreseeable future. However, their order of “in-demand” changes from site to site, so take that with a pinch of salt.

Importantly, some new and different skills pop up on various sites, particularly on freelancing platforms. The prevalence of say Vue.js on Upwork might be particular to that site, whereas a different skill might top the list on Freelancer.com or PeoplePerHour. The fact that each list varies implies that no site knows for certain which the top skills are, and these lists can only ever be limited estimates.

Is demand a good way to choose a freelance career?

Of course, you need client demand to be successful as a freelancer. But using demand as a primarily choice factor can be a very limited and short-term approach. Just because a skill is in demand this year doesn’t mean it will be in 12 months’ time. Experts estimate that by 2020, 35% of the skills needed in any industry will be different. In fact, Upwork’s top 10 on the skills index are all new to the list from the previous quarter. If you’re not skilled in the in-demand areas right now, the skill might be obsolete or oversaturated by the time you’ve developed those skills.

What is a good way to choose a freelance career?

If you want a successful long-term freelance career—not just one for 2019—then it’s better to find the intersection between:

  • What you’re already skilled at
  • What you enjoy doing and are passionate about
  • What there is a good level of ongoing demand for

These three factors combined give you a better chance of success than choosing an in-demand area that you’re not skilled or interested in. It’s also worth noting that the best and most promising job is personal to you. It depends on your individual skills, interests, knowledge, qualities, and experience. As such, the best skill for one freelancer won’t be the best for someone else, regardless of what a top 10 skills list tells you.

Does anything on these lists surprise you? How did you choose your freelance skill? What factors are you considering in your freelance career choice?

We’d love to hear from you, so comment below or get in touch.

Plus, stay tuned and follow A Freelance Life for more tips and freelance advice every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday…

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