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UpWork Quarterly Index Reveals Top Skills in Demand from Freelancers



Blockchain Tops the Upwork Skills Index Q2 2018 Report

The freelancer market is maturing and businesses no longer have any misgivings about hiring someone from this workforce. The Q2 2018 Skills Index from Upwork has revealed the skill sets for freelancers are now more diversified and they are highly proficient.



Upwork Skills Index Q2 2018 Report

UpWork Blog managing editor Amy Sept writes, “The Upwork Skills Index sheds light on new and emerging skills and provides real-time validation of current trends in the labor market and tech industry.” This has led more than half or 59% of HR managers to use freelancer in 2017, and 57% said they are going to use even more freelancers in the coming decade.

For small businesses, the talent pool and the available skill sets mean they can afford to contract professionals for single projects without hiring someone full time. This gives owners the ability to temporarily acquire the services of highly talented individuals so they can compete in the marketplace and grow.

Stephane Kasriel, CEO of Upwork and co-chair of the World Economic Forum’s Council on the Future of Gender, Education and Work, explains the importance of freelancers in a rapidly changing world.

In the official release announcing the index data, Kasriel says, “As technological change and the knowledge economy continue advancing, so will work requiring more skills.”

He adds, “Many of today’s jobs will change as the world’s needs change and automation progresses, but shortages in local talent pools and the skills businesses need can be overcome with freelance talent, who are nearly twice as likely as traditional employees to proactively upgrade their skills.”





In Upwork’s 2017 top 20 freelance jobs, 16 of the top positions were technology related, and the latest list is also dominated by technology.

In the second quarter of 2018, skills in blockchain retained the number one position from the first quarter with a 2,000% growth year-over-year and 3,500% year over year growth in the second quarter.

Skills in Google Cloud Platform were second, followed by skills in Volusion (an ecommerce website builder), risk management and product photography, rounding out the top five.

Skills in the growing area of rapid prototyping associated with 3D printing came in at number six. And as the price of the printers keeps going down and different filaments can be used, such as metals, it will provide a great opportunity for freelancers with these skills.

Other skills in eCommerce, Google development and product integration also made the list.





Skills in these top 20 areas topped the list in Q2, according to UpWorks:

  1. Blockchain
  2. Google Cloud Platform
  3. Volusion
  4. Risk management
  5. Product photography
  6. Rapid prototyping
  7. Google App Engine API
  8. SCORM
  9. GitLab
  10. Go development
  11. Apple UIKit
  12. Enterprise architecture
  13. Tensorflow
  14. Atlassian Confluence
  15. Apple Xcode
  16. eLearning
  17. Customer retention
  18. Articulate storyline
  19. Node.js
  20. Scala development

Growth in Skill Enhancement

As workers evaluate their skill set in a changing technological environment, eLearning solutions are becoming more valuable too.

If you are a freelancer looking to improve your skill sets, Upwork has created a list of relevant courses by some online providers which correspond to the list of skill sets in growing demand.



  1. Become a Blockchain Developer (Udacity)
  2. Architecting with Google Cloud Platform Specialization(Coursera)
  3. How to Create an Online Store. Volusion eCommerce Scratch(Udemy)
  4. Risk Assessment and Management (Pluralsight)
  5. Product Photography that Sells: Product Shots for Video(SkillShare)
  6. Rapid Prototyping by Google (Udacity)
  7. Open APIs: Introducing Google Cloud Platform (Coursera)
  8. Learning SCORM and Tin Can API (Lynda.com)
  9. Mastering Git (Pluralsight)
  10. Web Development with Google’s Go (Golang) Programming Language (Udacity)
  11. UIKit Fundamentals: Learn the iOS User Interface Library(Udacity)
  12. Lean and Agile Enterprise Architecture: Getting Started(Pluralsight)
  13. Machine Learning with TensorFlow on Google Cloud Platform Specialization (Coursera)
  14. Intro to Confluence (Server Version) (SkillShare)
  15. Introduction to Xcode (SkillShare)
  16. e-Learning Ecologies: Innovative Approaches to Teaching and Learning for the Digital Age (Coursera)
  17. Customer Success: How to Reduce Churn and Increase Customer Retention (Udemy)
  18. Learn to create eLearning courses using Articulate Storyline(Udemy)
  19. Server-side Development with NodeJS, Express and MongoDB(Coursera)
  20. Scala for Java Developers (SkillShare)

Image: Upwork



3 Comments ▼

Michael Guta


Michael Guta Michael Guta is a Staff Writer for Small Business Trends focusing on business systems, gadgets and other small business news. He has a background in information and communications technology coordination.

3 Reactions

  1. Some of this stuff is incredibly specific and cutting edge. If you can learn fast, you can win.

  2. Michael Guta

    Hi Robert,
    Absolutely right.
    If you are part of that specific and cutting-edge workforce, you can definitely win and win big. And you can do it from the comfort of your home, where ever it happens to be on the globe.

  3. Aira Bongco

    It is important to consider current trends. I guess it is because these skills are hard to find but are very high in demand.

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