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Sophie DesmaraisJan 5, 20214 min read

The Most In-Demand Professional Freelance Skills

Experts estimate that by 2027, the majority of the workforce will be freelancers. Expanding your skillset as a freelancer is the best way to stand out from the rest and propel your success forward. That’s why 66% of full-time freelance workers update their skills regularly to ensure that they stay competitive with their peers as the markets evolve and advance.

You can learn a new skill to complement your current freelance expertise. For example, as a graphic designer, it would be valuable to learn how to code since website design and development are a very attractive combo. You can also enhance your current expertise and learn skills that will lead you to become more specialized in your field. “The more specialized you are, the more premium you’re going to command.” – Rich Pearson.

In this article, you’ll learn about the hard skills and soft skills that are in high-demand and seen as most valuable to hiring managers. We’ll also go over the top skills to add to your freelance resume or Oomple profile based on different roles and some general skills you can quickly obtain (we’ve provided some excellent resources too!).

As a freelancer, you probably already know this, but technology skills dominate this workforce. Expertise in artificial intelligence, programming, and cloud computing make up 75% of the list.

Let’s explore the most sought after hard skills by companies. We’ve also added links to online courses and resources you can access to gain these skills (some of which are quick and inexpensive or free!).

Top 10 skills companies need the most now

  1. Blockchain
  2. Cloud computing
  3. Analytical reasoning
  4. Artificial intelligence
  5. UX design
  6. Business analysis
  7. Affiliate marketing
  8. Sales
  9. Scientific computing
  10. Video production

Next comes soft-skills. But this doesn’t mean they are of less importance. In fact, 94% of occupations rate social skills as essential to success. Soft-skills can be the determining factor of getting hired over someone else who possesses similar hard skills.

5 most attractive soft skills

  1. Creativity
  2. Persuasion
  3. Collaboration
  4. Adaptability
  5. Time Management

Now, if you’re in finance, for example, video production may be an unnecessary (albeit fun) skill to learn.

That’s why we’ve also made a list of 3 desirable hard skills and soft skills for specific industries.

Top Skills Per Industry


Hard skills 
  • Cybersecurity
  • AI and augmented reality
  • Cloud computing
Soft skills
  • Communication
  • Critical thinking
  • Teamwork



Hard skills 
  • SQL
  • Java
  • Software development & engineering
Soft skills
  • Problem-solving
  • Adaptability
  • Creativity


Project Management

Hard skills 
  • Cost management
  • Data analysis
  • Kanban
Soft skills
  • Leadership & decision making
  • Team building
  • Communication & conflict resolution


Media/ Design 

Hard skills 
  • HTML & CSS
  • UX Design
  • Prototyping
Soft skills
  • Creativity
  • Active listening
  • Time management



Hard skills 
  • SEO & data analytics
  • Social Media
  • Content marketing
Soft skills
  • Curiosity
  • Adaptability
  • Persuasion



Hard skills 
  • Accounting
  • Mergers & acquisitions
  • Financial analysis
Soft skills
  • Negotiation
  • Flexibility
  • Collaboration


More useful skills you can learn online

1) Coding 

Even if you don’t want to be a full-time programmer, knowing coding is a major asset. Among free online coding resources is CodecademyCourseraEdXUdemyGitHub, and Khan Academy.

2) Leadership 

Leadership is essential to both individual and company-wide success. Adding leadership course completions will help you stand out for management roles and accelerate your career growth. EDX provides free online leadership courses.

3) SEO 

There’s a lot to learn when it comes to search engine optimization, and it seems to be the “it” word in marketing. But it’s no wonder since it’s crucial to any business looking to rank higher up the list of search results. This Udemy free course will take you through strategy, keyword research, link-building and help you boost your resume skills.

4) Data analytics

Turning data into actionable information is, and will always be, a vital skill for any business. Additionally, approximately 44% of CIOs have said that data and analytics are the “most scarce tech skill.” So, it’s no doubt that it would be a smart move to add this skill to your repertoire. You can check out Coursera or Brainstation for some great data analytics courses.

Bonus tip: Look for Keywords in the job description

If you’re still unsure if any of these skills are right for the freelance role you want, one quick way to find out which skills an employer is seeking is to check the job description. Read through it a few times, and you’ll likely spot a few key skills mentioned throughout the application. Take note of these. If you possess these skills, emphasize them on your resume and if you lack them, then find resources to help you learn these skills. You can also explore their website and social media to find their core values, mission and keywords there as well. By appealing to these words on your resume, hiring managers are more likely to see you as an excellent fit for the role.


Companies need more specialized skills and are more likely to leverage freelance professionals since they proactively take reskilling upon themselves. Freelancers will find themselves more in demand in the future, with 47% of hiring managers more likely to hire independent professionals since the COVID-19 crisis.

So now it’s time to put your skills to work! A great way to start is by signing up for our freelancer platform, Oomple, to find quality and professional roles. You can create your profile and search for top contracts, or get matched through our Ai tech. You can even talk to one of our awesome experts by emailing They would be happy to help guide you in the right direction. Let’s find you the perfect opportunity that best suits your skillset!


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