Upwork: Top Freelance Skills Include Development, Content Marketing (Infographic)



Upwork: Top Freelance Skills Include Development, Content Marketing (Infographic)

Freelancers are in demand. Especially those who possess good development or content marketing skills. That’s what the Upwork Skills Index, a new study conducted by freelance website Upwork has found.

The study highlights 20 skills that grew fastest in Q2 2016. The top fastest-growing skills include user experience design, ASP development, Shopify development, English proofreading and SEO writing.

The 10 fastest-growing skills all experienced more than 125 percent year-over-year growth.



Freelance Skills in Demand

It’s interesting to note that development skills account for one-third of the top 20 fastest-growing skills. Whether it’s mobile development or user experience design, developers are in higher demand than ever.

Freelancers specializing in future technologies such as data mining, MongoDB and Java are not far behind. With artificial intelligence, robotics and virtual reality technologies gaining rapid momentum, businesses are looking for freelancers who can help them get an edge.

Content marketing freelance skills are also in demand as businesses continue to look for ways to generate high-quality content and drive online sales. SEO writing, video editing and lead generation are some of the fastest-growing content marketing skills.

“We’re releasing this freelance skills data to serve as a resource for professionals, educators and policymakers,” said Upwork CEO Stephane Kasriel. “As skills gaps persist, this information can be leveraged by smart professionals who continue to educate themselves in order to capitalize on market demands. Information about emerging skill demands may also be useful for those seeking to bolster our education system and economic competitiveness.”

Pros and Cons of Hiring Freelancers

Flexibility and cost savings are the top reasons why many small businesses are opting for freelancers today. Freelancers are preferred also because they offer quick turnarounds and solid work experience.

On the flip side however, not all freelancers are reliable and it’s not uncommon for some of them to prioritize other better paying jobs. Another disadvantage is the inability to monitor their work and get revisions done on time.

Finding the right freelancer can make a big difference. It therefore makes sense to spend enough time identifying professionals who have the skills and experience to complete tasks with accountability. You should review their profiles, look for key skill sets and check out testimonials to establish their credentials.



Upwork describes itself as the world’s largest freelancing website. Headquartered in Mountain View, California, Upwork helps freelancers earn more than $1 billion annually.

The top 20 freelance skills that grew fastest in Q2 2016 are:

  1. User experience design
  2. ASP development
  3. Shopify development
  4. English proofreading
  5. SEO writing
  6. Animation
  7. Virtual assistant
  8. Lead generation
  9. Data mining
  10. Video editing
  11. WordPress development
  12. AngularJS development
  13. Java development
  14. Accounting
  15. Android development
  16. iOS development
  17. Zendesk
  18. MongoDB
  19. Data visualization
  20. AutoCAD

Image: Upwork More in: 3 Comments ▼


Shubhomita Bose


Shubhomita Bose Shubhomita Bose is a Staff Writer for Small Business Trends. She covers key studies and surveys about the small business market, along with general small business news. She draws on 8 years of experience in copywriting, marketing and communications, having worked extensively on creating content for small and medium sized enterprises.

3 Reactions

  1. Aira Bongco

    I think that programming is the most in-demand. I was surprised with content marketing but maybe it has something to do with the fact that the Internet is fueled with it.

  2. I can see why SEO writing is up there Aira. Content is what drives customers to a site, engages them, and keeps them coming back for more. And, fresh content has to be added constantly; that’s why it’s such an in-demand skill. It’s not like you can “set it and forget it.”

    This is why skilled online (SEO) writers are in such demand — which is great news for freelancers like me who are content providers. 🙂

  3. Re: the other two comments, it’s definitely not too surprising to see content marketing and SEO towards the top of the list. Having properly written content on a site, which is both optimised and engaging for users, is vital, as it’s there to connect with the user, and help towards a conversion.

    Freelancing is particularly great for fields like this, where people tend to shy away from the 9-5 office work, and want to operate on an individual level.

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