10 Most In-demand Tech Skills for Freelancers on Upwork in 2024

Full-stack development is the most highly sought tech skill among freelance talent, according to Upwork’s March list of the most in-demand skills for freelance professionals in 2024. Among Upwork’s list of most in-demand skills for independent talent, the fastest-growing skills in data science and analytics were generative AI modeling, machine learning and data analytics. Generative AI modeling in particular saw a 70% year-over-year increase in the fourth quarter of 2023.

Below, we list the most in-demand skills for freelance professionals based on what businesses are looking for in tech, marketing, customer service, accounting and consulting, and design and creative categories.

SEE: Hiring kit: Data scientist (TechRepublic Premium)

Top 10 most in-demand data science and analytics skills for 2024

  1. Data analytics.
  2. Machine learning.
  3. Data visualization.
  4. Data extraction.
  5. Data engineering.
  6. Data processing.
  7. Data mining.
  8. Experimentation and testing.
  9. Deep learning.
  10. Generative AI modeling.

Top 10 most in-demand coding and web development skills for 2024

  1. Full-stack development.
  2. Front-end development.
  3. Web design.
  4. Mobile app development.
  5. Back-end development.
  6. E-commerce website development.
  7. UX/UI design.
  8. Scripting and automation.
  9. CMS development.
  10. Manual testing.

Top 10 most in-demand marketing skills for 2024

  1. Social media marketing.
  2. SEO.
  3. Sales and business development.
  4. Lead generation.
  5. Telemarketing.
  6. Search engine marketing.
  7. Marketing automation.
  8. Email marketing.
  9. Marketing strategy.
  10. Campaign management.

Top 10 most in-demand customer service and admin support skills for 2024

  1. General virtual assistance.
  2. Data entry.
  3. Digital project management.
  4. General research services.
  5. Dropshipping and order processing.
  6. Market research.
  7. Executive virtual assistance.
  8. Manual transcription.
  9. Development and IT project marketing.
  10. Medical virtual assistance.

Top 10 most in-demand accounting and consulting skills for 2024

  1. Accounting.
  2. Bookkeeping.
  3. Recruiting and talent sourcing.
  4. Financial analysis and modeling.
  5. Management consulting.
  6. Instructional design.
  7. HR administration.
  8. Business analysis and strategy.
  9. Tax preparation.
  10. Financial management/CFO.

Top 10 most in-demand design and creative skills for 2024

  1. Graphic design.
  2. Video editing.
  3. Presentation design.
  4. Illustration.
  5. Image editing.
  6. 3D animation.
  7. Video production.
  8. Product and industrial design.
  9. Cartoon and comic illustration.
  10. Logo design.

Why is freelance work so popular now?

Even during economic uncertainty and with many professionals reevaluating their work priorities, companies continue to face a persistent talent shortage. Recent Upwork data indicates 64 million Americans performed freelance work in the 12 months before the polling dates of October 24, 2023 and November 9, 2023. That represents 39% of the U.S. workforce, an all-time high.

When asked their reasons for freelancing, respondents often cited, “to have flexibility in my schedule,” “to be in control of my own financial future,” and “to work from the location of my choosing.” Of freelancers, 60% work remotely, compared to 32% of the non-freelance professionals polled.

“In 2024, emergent technologies like generative AI are having a major impact on the skills-based economy,” wrote Kelly Monahan, managing director of the Upwork Research Institute, in the 2024 report on in-demand skills. “Of course business demand for these types of skills is increasing, but we’re also seeing a complementary impact, whereby AI technology is driving greater demand for all types of work across our marketplace.”

Methodology of the Upwork survey

Skills data was sourced from the Upwork database and is based on U.S. freelancer earnings from January 1, 2023 to December 31, 2023, Upwork said. Each skill had a minimum of 250 projects with active work during the period. Year-over-year growth was estimated by comparing the freelancer earnings in 2023 to freelancer earnings in the same period in 2022.

Note: This article was updated from the original version, which covered the same report from last year.

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