Upwork, 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, nearly half (48%) of hiring managers agree that the increased specialization of skills is disrupting their business.
“In booming cities like Boston, Denver, San Francisco and San Jose, the unemployment rate has fallen below three percent, which makes finding qualified and highly-specialized talent more challenging than ever before,” said Stephane Kasriel, CEO of Upwork and co-chair of the World Economic Forum’s Global Future Council on the New Social Contract. “As a result, for more and more skills, businesses are relying on nontraditional talent sources to effectively engage the best workers, no matter where they live.”
The 20 fastest-growing skills on Upwork.com in Q2 2019 experienced more than 120 percent year-over-year growth, while demand for the top 10 skills grew more than 400 percent year-over-year.
The top 20 fastest-growing skills, Q2 2019:
ServiceNow (#1), a digital workflow company that simplifies the complexity of work with an enterprise cloud platform, was the fastest-growing skill in Q2 out of more than 5,000 available on Upwork.com. Its growth reinforces that digital transformation is a real and strategic imperative for businesses as developers who can build integrations for the platform are in high-demand. Experts familiar with Microsoft Azure (#20), a set of cloud services that allow you to build, manage and deploy apps on a global network, were also highly sought after as companies seek professionals who can design solutions that run on Azure. This further underscores that C-Suite leaders are embracing cloud-based platforms as a critical component of their strategy.
Big data, big data, big data
As the volume of data grows exponentially and becomes more complex, businesses are investing more in solutions that help ingest, store and analyze it in order to optimize how they derive meaningful insights that inform business decisions. Forty-four percent of CIOs cite big data and analytics as the most scarce tech skill, according to a recent survey by Harvey Nash Inc.; as a result, experts familiar with relational databases (#14), which structure data in a way that helps recognize how different data points or sets are related to each other, were in high-demand in Q2, along with neo4j (#11), a graph database that helps developers harness connected data and simply express complex systems. By 2022, IDC expects worldwide big data and business analytics (BDA) will be a $274.3 billion industry. Data visualization skills also made the list with Highcharts (#4), d3.js framework (#15) and MATLAB (#17) all appearing on the Index for the first time.
Video content boosts customer engagement
Eighty-seven percent of online marketers use video content; with video being one of the most effective methods of engagement, both DaVinci Resolve (#2), a video-editing application, and motion graphics (#16) saw an uptick in demand as companies hire specialists to create compelling video content. Social video marketing (#3) also appeared on the list, showcasing demand for experts who can develop social media marketing strategies that leverage video to increase customer engagement with a brand. Consumer-generated video content such as unboxing videos are also becoming more popular as consumers showcase the products they love, accounting for growth in packaging design (#18), part of a growing $900 billion market, highlighting brands’ increased emphasis on aesthetics.
Open-source artificial intelligence (AI) solutions spur growth
A growing number of organizations have strong feelings that AI will be essential for our future, according to a recent study by Deloitte Insights. As businesses invest more in AI, they’re increasingly relying on independent talent to explore its applications and use cases. PyTorch (#5), an open source deep learning platform that provides a path from research prototyping to production deployment, appeared on the list for the first time, as did Keras (#6), an API used to build and train deep learning models.
Low-code development solutions gain popularity
Tech talent shortage impacts approaches to hiring, L&D
Hiring has become harder, and access to skills and talent scarcity are the biggest hiring challenges, according to a new report. As a result, businesses are leveraging independent professionals adept in technical recruiting (#10) to source talent. Organizations are also doubling down on learning and development, and a greater desire to train workers spurred demand for LearnDash (#8), a WordPress Learning Management System (LMS) plug-in that developers can use to build LMS systems.
Relevant Course List
According to a recent report, younger generations are more than twice as likely than Baby Boomers to have increased their usage of freelancers in the past three years and are projected to continue increasing their usage in 2019. At the same time, a study shows freelancers are more proactively updating their skills to remain marketable as the workforce evolves compared to non-freelancers with 70 percent of full-time freelancers participating 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, PluralSight, Skillshare, Udacity and Udemy for the top 20 fastest-growing skills on Upwork in Q2 2019:
The Upwork Skills Index calculates year-over-year growth rates based on freelancer billings through Upwork in Q2 2019 versus Q2 2018. The next quarterly Upwork Skills Index will be released fall 2019.