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The 20 fastest-growing skills in the freelance job market, according to Upwork — and the online courses you can take to learn them

  • Freelancing is a competitive field, and without face-to-face interactions, it can be disproportionately difficult to discern what employers want from you.
  • Upwork, the world's largest freelancing site, compiled a list of the 20 fastest-growing skills in the freelance job market in Q2 2019.
  • Below are the 20 top skills accompanied by online courses you can take to develop and demonstrate your ability.
Working as a freelancer can be exciting, liberating, and convenient, but getting a firm foothold in the space can be especially difficult. Without face-to-face contact and feedback, it can be increasingly hard to discern what employers are looking for in the slew of applications they receive. And as time is limited, no one wants to waste time padding their resume with skills they only believe to be relevant.
But a recent Future Workforce Report from the world's largest freelancing site makes the process more transparent. Upwork released a quarterly Skills Index that highlights the top 20 fastest-growing skills in the US freelance job market as a way to highlight and anticipate trends. The company calculates year-over-year growth using freelancer billings. Upwork has not yet released data for 2020, but looking at the trend data from 2019 is a useful way to make sure your skills are up to date.
While the application and hiring process can seem opaque, for the first time ever Upwork compared generational differences in hiring managers. Notably, the study found that 48% of younger generation managers (composed primarily of Millennials, with early Gen Z managers included as well) are director-level or higher already, showing they have a huge influence on workforce planning.
"As younger generations ascend in the workforce and become the majority of managers in corporate America they'll reshape work as we know it," said Stephane Kasriel, CEO of Upwork. "For example, the youngest generations are most likely to freelance. And professionals craving flexibility will increasingly have managers who not only understand this priority but will themselves expect it. We see this clear trend towards more flexible, remote work on the hiring side already based on this year's Future Workforce Report."
Another major find of the study was that younger hiring managers are nearly three times more likely to say that individuals should be responsible for their own reskilling as compared to Baby Boomers, which means that learning new skills on your own is becoming increasingly important.

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The skills highlighted by Upwork experienced a significant boom — more than 120% year-over-year growth in demand. In fact, the top 10 skills experienced more than 400% growth in comparison to this time last year.
You can find the top 20 fastest-growing skills in the freelance job market below, alongside courses you can take (for free or for much less than the cost of a degree) to support claims of aptitude and separate yourself from the pack of applicants.
The online-learning options we included — LinkedIn Learning, Udemy, edX, and Coursera — are among the most popular and inexpensive.
Coursera allows you to take classes from the top universities in the world, nearly all of which are free to audit with a fee of $29 - $160 to add a verified certificate that you can include in your resume and LinkedIn profile. Udemy houses over 65,000 courses and 15 million students in areas such as programming, marketing, and data science most prominently and frequently discounts courses worth $200 by up to 90% off. LinkedIn Learning specializes in software, creatives, and business skills, and comes with a free one-month trial. After that, access is $29.99/month.

Below are the top 20 fastest-growing skills for Freelancers according to Upwork, the world's largest freelancing site.

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1. ServiceNow

  • ServiceNow: Basic Administration, available at LinkedIn Learning
  • The Complete ServiceNow System Administrator Course, available at Udemy
  • ServiceNow Certified Administration for Beginners, available at Udemy

2. DaVinci Resolve

  • Learning DaVinci Resolve 16, available at LinkedIn Learning
  • DaVinci Resolve: The Complete Video Editing Course, available at Udemy
  • DaVinci Resolve Editing Basics, available at LinkedIn Learning

3. Social video marketing

  • Social Media Video for Business and Marketing, available at LinkedIn Learning
  • Strategic Social Media Marketing, available at edX
  • Digital Media and Marketing Strategies, available at Coursera

4. Highcharts

  • Rapid Highcharts, available at Udemy

5. PyTorch

  • Deep Learning with Python and PyTorch, available at edX
  • PyTorch Essential Training: Deep Learning, available at LinkedIn Learning

6. Keras

  • Deep Learning Fundamentals with Keras, available at edX
  • Complete Keras Bootcamp For Deep Learning in Python, available at Udemy

7. Caspio

  • How to Migrate Your Access Database to the Cloud With Caspio, available at Udemy
  • How to Build Different Type of Web Forms With Caspio, available at Udemy

8. LearnDash

  • Learn how to Create Learning Management System (LMS) with WP, available at Udemy

9. Kendo UI

  • Kendo UI Training, available at Progress

10. Technical recruiter

  • Technical Recruiting, available at LinkedIn Learning
  • IT for IT Recruiters Mini Course, available at Udemy

11. Neo4j

  • Database Clinic: Neo4J, available at LinkedIn Learning
  • Neo4j: GraphDB Foundations with Cypher, available at Udemy

12. Statistical modeling

  • Understanding and Visualizing Data with Python, available at Coursera 
  • Statistical Modeling, available at LinkedIn Learning
  • Data Science: Inference and Modeling, available on edX

13. Salesforce Lightning

  • Salesforce Lightning: Learn about Salesforce Lightning, available at Udemy

14. Relational databases

  • Learning Relational Databases, available at LinkedIn Learning
  • Relational Database Systems, available at Coursera

15. d3.js

  • D3.js Essential Training for Data Scientists, available at LinkedIn Learning
  • Information Visualization: Programming with D3.js, available at Coursera
  • Mastering D3.js, available at Udemy

16. Motion graphics

  • Become a Motion Graphic Artist: The Complete Course, available at Udemy
  • Become a Motion Graphics Artist, available at LinkedIn Learning


  • MATLAB Master Class: Go from Beginner to Expert in MATLAB, available at Udemy
  • Learning MATLAB, available at LinkedIn Learning
  • Introduction to Programming with MATLAB, available at Coursera
  • MATLAB and Octave for Beginners, available at edX

18. Packaging design

  • Learning Package Design, available on LinkedIn Learning
  • Product Packaging & Labels Design in Illustrator & Photoshop, available at Udemy

19. SEOMoz

  • SEO Training Course by Moz, available at Udemy

20. Microsoft Azure

  • Microsoft Azure - Beginner's Guide + AZ-900 preparation, available at Udemy
  • Getting Started with Azure, available at Coursera
  • AZ-900: Microsoft Azure Fundamentals, available at LinkedIn Learning

* This article was originally published here

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