These Are the 20 Fastest Growing Digital Skills According to Upwork

One of the world’s biggest freelancing platforms, UpWork, has published a report on the fastest growing digital skills for the fourth quarter of 2017. Centered around the platform’s gig-based structure, the report takes a detailed look at what employers and contractors are looking for in today’s world.

A Major Shift?

The pace at which modern technology is changing is remarkable and so is the demand for digital skills, be it for programming, data analytics, or web design. With digital skills, you have to keep up with the new technologies and all the new breakthroughs that are happening every day.

As a result, almost all good developers have a thirst for learning. This pursuit of knowledge is an ongoing process — 73.7% of developers rely on self-learning, according to a recent survey of almost 40,000 developers on HackerRank’s platform


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UpWork’s report takes a look at the skills it finds are the fastest growing for freelancers on its platform. And while decades-old programming languages like Java, , and C# are still around and will continue to be so for years to come, most companies aren’t that interested in those skills anymore. Instead, there is a definite uptick in the need for people adept in new languages like Google’s Go, Apple’s Swift, Python, Scala, and more.

“The 20 fastest-growing freelance skills in Q4 2017 experienced more than 120 percent year-over-year growth.”

20 Fastest Growing Skills on UpWork

Bitcoin, a digital currency, may not be a skill in the literal sense, but given the recent hype around cryptocurrencies, a number of companies have jumped on the cryptocurrency and blockchain bandwagon. As a result, there is a lot of demand for developers who know their way around cryptocurrencies and how they work and you can find some of them on UpWork’s platform.

Meanwhile, Amazon’s DynamoDB is a fully managed proprietary NoSQL database service. It is offered by Amazon as a part of Amazon Web Services (AWS), one of the leaders in web services. The other fast-growing skills, like React Native and Go development reflect HackerRank’s survey for being the skills that most employers are looking for these days.

  1. Bitcoin
  2. Amazon DynamoDB
  3. React native
  4. Robotics
  5. Go development
  6. Forex trading
  7. 3D Rigging
  8. Augmented reality
  9. Computer vision
  10. Penetration testing
  11. Media buying
  13. Shopify development
  14. AngularJS development
  15. Swift development
  16. Video editing
  17. Influencer marketing
  18. Machine learning
  19. 3D modeling
  20. Motion graphics

UpWork also found an increase in the number of total freelancers — almost 57.3 million Americans (36 percent of the U.S. workforce) freelanced in the past year. The study, titled “Freelancing in America” surveyed 6,000 U.S. workers to analyze the size of the growing freelance economy and the major role freelancers play in the future of work.

“Not only does research show that the independent workforce is growing but we’re also seeing an increase in large-scale use of freelance talent by Fortune 500 companies,” said Stephane Kasriel, CEO of Upwork and co-chair of the World Economic Forum’s Council on the Future of Gender, Education and Work.

According to the study, freelancers contributed an estimated $1.4 trillion in freelance earnings to their economy.

They concluded that, at the current pace of growth in freelancers, a major part of the United States’ workforce will be freelancers by 2027.

You can read more about UpWork’s Skills Index report over here.

  • “new languages like Google’s Go, Apple’s Swift, Python, Scala”. Python isn’t a new language… LOL.

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