To remain competitive, freelancers should constantly look into expanding and upgrading their skills. In the ever-changing job landscape, adaptability is the key to remaining an in-demand hire.
Upwork recently released a new study that indicates how the cooperation between businesses and freelancers will change in the next few years and what skills will remain in high demand. According to the study, the majority of respondents state that solid talent is hard to find, especially in certain specific areas.
The need for skills is becoming far more specialized. Businesses no longer seek to hire just a “good developer”. They look for candidates with specialized skills – data science, AI, robotics, blockchain technology, etc.
Companies are developing far more flexible attitudes toward the use of remote workers, teams and freelancers, both for short and long-term needs. Fifty-nine percent of hiring managers stated that they are currently using what they call “flexible” talent – freelancers and other temporary talent supplied by agencies. And most of them believe that this trend will significantly increase over the next decade.
While companies are obviously thinking “outside the box” (i.e., their offices and their cities), freelancers must also gear up to meet the newer needs of businesses and enterprises, if they intend to remain competitive.
The rising challenges for freelancers
As a freelancer specializing in design, programming, and development, you have a couple of choices.
- You can remain in more generic areas of your craft and continue to seek clients who want websites designed, who want basics of development (e.g., shopping carts, customer service automation, etc.)
- Or you can make the decision to specialize, based upon what research says will be in demand moving forward.
Here’s the thing: generic design, programming and developing are functions that most businesses (unless really small) have in-house. Your client base will continue to dwindle as businesses discover that technology and tools allow them to perform the functions that you perform – website design and development, videos, AR/VR experiences, etc. You will become a dinosaur.
Option two seems to be in your best interest, and it will obviously involve a commitment to significant education/training. If you are motivated and “up” for it, you can gain a competitive advantage with marketable skills that are and will be in high demand.
Skills that will be in demand
As we move forward over the next decade, freelancers in these high-tech areas will be in high demand. If you’re a tech freelancer, your challenge will be to develop your skills in one or more of these specialized areas. A word of caution here: focus on one area for training and development at a time. They are complex, and you want to ensure your expertise if you are to be successful.