Top Tech Skills to Have as a Freelancer in 2023
Now is a great time to be an on-demand professional. Given a turbulent start to the first quarter, 2023 is shaping up to be the year of the freelancer. Between layoffs, budget cuts, and slashed bonuses, workers are sharpening their skills to pursue a freelance career instead of full-time work. In fact, many freelancers believe freelancing is a less financially risky option as opposed to full-time work. It’s no wonder then that the number of full-time freelancers grew by 59% from 2020 to 2022! The flexibility of freelancing allows skilled workers to gain autonomy over their careers and finances on shaky economic grounds.
If you’re looking to transition to full-time freelance work, the jump can be intimidating. Ease your fears by learning what top tech skills companies are looking for in freelancers right now.
Website design and maintenance are monumental tasks for business owners. That’s why the ubiquity of a full-stack developer’s skillset is such an asset. Even though plenty of beginner-friendly website creation tools exist, many upcoming companies seek propriety websites.
Full-stack developers work on the front and back end of websites. By combining both creative and technical work, full-stack developers create the backbone of a website while simultaneously making it look attractive. Freelancers interested in coding and design might consider a lucrative path in full-stack development.
If full-stack development seems like too heavy of a workload, that’s ok. Web developers are also in demand for their skills! Web developers might specialize in only the front or back end of the website. Whether it’s making the website look attractive on the front end or speeding up the website on the back end, web developers are integral freelancers to businesses.
Starting as a web developer is similar to front-end development. But instead of mastering five programming languages at once, you might want to specialize in one. From there, you decide your path on the front or back end. Maybe your interests align better with front-end development. Your specialty can be technical SEO, UX design, and visual design. Carve out your specialty based on what you gravitate towards most and start creating your portfolio!
If you’ve worked on a chaotic project during your career, you know the importance of a skilled project manager. Project managers keep technical teams on task while juggling the expectations of stakeholders. An excellent project manager communicates well and finds ways to improve existing processes. Conflict resolution skills, time management, and a high capacity for stress are helpful soft skills for project managers.
Although certain personalities gravitate towards project management due to their soft skills, hard skills are necessary to do the job well. Familiarize yourself with in-demand methodologies. The hard skills you need will also depend on your niche. From IT departments to nonprofits, project managers are needed across industries. Good project managers are able to lead highly technical meetings. If you’re working on a web development project, you should understand some programming and development yourself before instructing the team.
As you gain experience in your industry, begin compiling your portfolio. Since project managers are people-focused, testimonials and case studies of your work from previous teams will help bolster your resume.
When it’s time to upgrade business software, companies want a professional in charge. If you’re looking for a mix of project management and software expertise, look no further than ERP work. Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) specialists help plan and implement new software for businesses, saving companies time and money from attempting to do so internally. As companies modernize their workplace technology to streamline operations, e-commerce sales, and more, ERP specialists will be in high demand.
For those interested in becoming an ERP specialist, understanding business software is essential. Oracle, Microsoft, and ServiceNow are all big players. Some workflows may be more advanced and require ERP Specialists to think outside the box. Competitor analysis and an understanding of the broader software market are major functions of an ERP specialist’s job. ERP specialists should be prepared to provide consultant work by understanding the business software ecosystem. Both technical software skills and project management skills will help ERP specialists recommend and implement complex software solutions.
In 2023, an intuitive app and website are integral to a business’s online presence. UX and UI designers play essential roles in application design and function. User experience (UX) refers to all experiences a customer has with the entire company. Meanwhile, user interface (UI) focuses on the digital interactions a customer has with your website, app, etc. UX/UI work alongside one another to create a user-friendly business presence.
If you have an analytical and solution-oriented mind, freelance analyst work is appealing. There are several types of analysts that are conducive to freelance work. Business analysts may work to improve a business’ particular service or product. Data analysts gather and interpret data to make improvements, suggestions, or market analyses. While an analyst’s job description may sound general, the dynamic and sometimes complex work will keep the job exciting. One project might be a market analysis of diaper sales for a major company while the next is predicting a store’s sales once introducing a new style of shoe.
No matter what type of analyst you are, data will be an integral function of the role. Data illiteracy is a major hiring roadblock for tech companies. As an analyst, your knowledge of SQL, Tableau, and Python will become paramount to a business in need of a data expert. Business analysts may benefit from education like an MBA or real-world experience in business management as well. Any type of analyst should also know how to communicate complex data methodologies succinctly to stakeholders. Your skill set and business experience will sway you towards business or data analysis.
Where Freelancers Fit into the Tech Hiring Crisis
You likely feel a sense of anxiety watching full-time tech workers get laid off. But with strife comes opportunity. Freelancers have the edge as tech companies scramble to find staffing on a contract basis. As economic uncertainty grows, up to 75% of businesses prefer to hire a skilled freelancer over a full-time employee.
The tech hiring market is in a precarious predicament. Layoffs are rampant. Yet, when tech companies do wish to hire, they struggle to find qualified candidates. Janco, a consulting firm, reported that over 109,000 IT jobs are unfilled due to a lack of skilled workers. Skilled freelancers with high-demand skills like data analysis and project management are a golden recruitment opportunity for tech companies.
Freelancers help tech companies fill skill gaps and provide expertise to existing teams. As the workforce enters the Fourth Industrial Revolution, freelancers will only play a bigger role alongside automation and new technology. No matter how rising technology like ChatGPT affects the future of work, freelancers can sleep easily. As contracts end, freelancers maintain flexibility and highly sought-after skills for the next opportunity.
Build your Network to Bolster your Portfolio
You can become the best freelance UX designer in the healthcare niche. But if you can’t network well, companies looking to hire won’t know that. Up to 85% of positions are filled through personal or professional connections. The odds are in your favour once you start networking and growing your connections. The more eyes on your impressive portfolio, the better opportunities for freelance work!
While your portfolio is a fundamental key to getting referrals, so is your personal brand. You’ll want to establish your place in your niche. Whether it’s web development for ad tech startups or project management for law firms, this should be crystal clear to employers. Carving out a specific niche focuses your portfolio and helps you pin down which companies you should network with. Reach out to connect with related businesses in your niche that could benefit from your expertise. Building a community as a freelancer is important, and one way to do that is to join relevant online communities and platforms.
At Oomple, our marketplace empowers seamless connections between freelance professionals and companies. And, you can start building your community by connecting with other on-demand professionals in the platform.
Create your free profile today and start building your connections and growing your career!