Upwork releases latest Skills Index, ranking the 20 fastest-growing skills for freelancers

Employee training highlights importance of reskilling in the face of
rapid change

75% of the Top 20 fastest-growing skills were new to the index in Q4

(NASDAQ: UPWK), the largest freelancing website, today released its
newest quarterly index of the hottest skills in the U.S. freelance job
market. The Upwork Skills Index ranks the site’s 20 fastest-growing
skills in a quarterly series. It sheds light on new and emerging skills
and provides real-time validation of current trends in the labor market
and tech industry. According to a new report,
staffing firms believe talent scarcity is the biggest inhibitor to their
business today and will still be the biggest inhibitor 10 years from now.

“Businesses are placing a greater emphasis on skills
, investing in the workforces they have today and the one
they will need tomorrow,” said Stephane Kasriel, CEO of Upwork and
co-chair of the World Economic Forum’s Global Future Council on the New
Social Contract. “Freelancers know that skills are what matter most and
are more likely than traditional employees to participate in
skills-related education. As technological change keeps accelerating,
they’re more likely to have the in-demand skills businesses need but
might not be able to train up their workforce on quickly enough.”

The 20 fastest-growing freelance skills in Q4 2018 experienced more than
175 percent year-over-year growth, while demand for the top 10 skills
grew more than 600 percent year-over-year.

The top 20 fastest-growing skills, Q4 2018:

  1. Hadoop
  2. Dropbox
  3. Genetic
  4. Microbiology
  5. Computational
  6. Certified
    Information Systems Security Professional (CISSP)
  7. Digital
    signal processing
  8. Intercom
  9. Interactive
  10. Invision
  11. Employee
  12. Kubernetes
  13. OAuth
  14. Autodesk
  15. App
    store optimization
  16. App
    usability analysis
  17. Vue.js
  18. Learning
    Management Solution (LMS) consulting
  19. 3D
  20. React.js

Key Insights

Investments in big data solutions are increasing

Hadoop (#1), an open source software used to store, process and
analyze big data applications, was the fastest-growing skill out of more
than 5,000 skills freelancers provide on Upwork.com in Q4. This was the
same quarter that Cloudera and Hortonworks, the two largest players in
the space, announced
a merger; and other open source software companies such as Databrick and
Confluent have also recently raised capital. Businesses are continuing
to invest in solutions that allow them to capitalize on the value of
their data, specifically leveraging freelance Hadoop experts. According
to a report,
the global Hadoop market is expected to grow an average of 29%
year-over-year for the next five years, reaching $38 billion by 2023.

New, nontraditional education options are proliferating

Among freelancers with a four-year college degree, ninety-three
say skills training was useful versus only 79 percent that
say their college education was useful to the work they do now. As
companies realize how critical reskilling is for their workforces,
they’re turning to freelancers adept in employee training (#11) and
Learning Management Solution consulting (#18) to help create
programs that encourage cultures of continuous learning. Growth in this
area suggests an emerging trend where more people are getting training
on the job.

Mobile optimization is imperative in meeting customer expectations

Consumers now spend more than five hours a day on their smartphones, and
apps account for more than 90
of internet time on those devices. Businesses are doubling
down on their mobile efforts in order to meet consumers where they are,
as evidenced by a spike in demand for app store optimization (#15) and
app usability analysis (#16) in Q4.

A superior customer experience is key to success

As more companies undergo digital transformation, they’re realizing that
design can not only create value and better business outcomes but also
help them survive. According to a recent report,
organizations who experience the highest ROI instill a data-driven
design approach and successfully integrate design into their business
strategy. This is underscored by high growth in demand in Q4 for Invision
a digital product design platform. Intercom (#8), a
customer messaging platform that makes apps for sales, marketing and
support, also appeared on the index for the first time. Businesses use
the tool to more effectively acquire, engage and retain customers and
are hiring freelancers with platform knowledge to help take their
customer support to the next level.

Rise in cybercrime spurs growth in security skills

Cyber crime is predicted to cost the world $6
annually by 2021 yet the number of cybersecurity job
openings is expected to reach 3.5
globally by the same year. To access seasoned professionals
who have a comprehensive understanding of the IT landscape and can help
mitigate risk, businesses are hiring Certified Information Systems
Security Professionals (#6)
to design, implement and manage
cybersecurity programs. Another precaution businesses are taking is
beefing up security through OAuth (#13), which enables
token-based authentication and authorization online and gives employees
a safer and more secure way to access data.

Relevant Course List

Freelancers are more proactively updating their skills to remain
marketable as the job market evolves compared to non-freelancing
workers. Seventy
of full-time freelancers participated in skills training in
the past six months, compared to 49 percent of full-time non-freelancers.

Here is a list of relevant online courses from online learning
platforms, including Coursera, edX, Lynda.com, PluralSight, Simplilearn,
Udacity and Udemy for the top 20 fastest-growing skills on Upwork in Q4

  1. Hadoop: Hadoop
    platform and application framework
  2. Dropbox API: Cloud
    Computing Applications, Part 1: Cloud Systems and Infrastructure

  3. Genetic algorithms: Introduction
    to Genetic Algorithms: Theory and Applications
  4. Microbiology: Introduction
    to Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis
  5. Computational linguistics: Natural
    Language Processing
  6. Certified Information Systems Security Professional (CISSP): CISSP
    Certification Training
  7. Digital signal processing: Digital
    Signal Processing
  8. Intercom: Digital
    Marketing Course: Learn Digital Marketing Automation
  9. Interactive advertising: Digital
    Marketing Trends
  10. Invision: Diving
    In with InVision Studio
  11. Employee training: e-Learning
    Ecologies: Innovative Approaches to Teaching and Learning for the
    Digital Age Financial aid available
  12. Kubernetes: Learn
    DevOps: The Complete Kubernetes Course
  13. OAuth: Getting
    Started with OAuth 2.0
  14. Autodesk Revit: CAD
    and Digital Manufacturing Specialization
  15. App store optimization: Mobile
    App Marketing 2019: ASO, Advertising & Monetization
  16. App usability analysis: Mobile
    Design and Usability for iOS
  17. Vue.js framework: Vue.js:
    Getting Started
  18. Learning Management Solution consulting: Learning
    Management Systems (LMS) Quick Start
  19. 3D scanning: Learning
    3D Printing
  20. React.js framework: Introduction
    to ReactJS

The Upwork Skills Index calculates year-over-year growth rates based on
freelancer billings through Upwork in Q4 2018 versus Q4 2017. The next
quarterly Upwork Skills Index will be released spring 2019.

About Upwork

is the largest freelancing website. It enables businesses to find and
work with highly skilled freelancers. As an increasingly connected and
independent workforce goes online, knowledge work — like software,
shopping and content before it — is shifting online as well. This shift
is making it easier for clients to connect and work with talent in near
real-time and is freeing professionals everywhere from having to work at
a set time and place. Our company’s mission is to create economic
opportunities so people have better lives.

Upwork is headquartered in Mountain View, Calif., with offices in San
Francisco and Chicago. For more information, visit our website at www.upwork.com,
join us on Twitter,
and LinkedIn.


Christina Schultz