As someone who admittedly started a marketing agency by hiring freelancers from Upwork, I wanted to share some of the insight I’ve gained over this last year from the freelance world. I really think it’s the way of the future and hope that all of you reading this will be lucky enough to find work you love doing on your own terms.

There’s going to be two parts here. I want to talk about what job postings I see most on the freelance sites, and also what trends we’re expecting to see grow in 2019.

If you want to find freelance or contract work now, as in yesterday, here are the skills you’ll find the majority of the freelance sites are looking for:

Data Entry + Admin

This section covers a few types of work, but the main jobs seem to be data processing, web search, virtual assistance, and transcription services. The virtual assistance (VA) industry poses a major opportunity for anyone with a particular set of skills — and the cool thing is as a VA, you can decide where you want to specialize. Businesses are realizing they can get help on a small scale that is tailored to their needs. Some VA’s specialize in reception and administrative work, while others focus on social media marketing.

Design + Media

This is a huge one. Many, many businesses need design services for everything from their websites to logos to internal materials. There are lots of jobs specifically requesting the use of Adobe, and also plenty that involve video production and editing.  

Writing + Content

With the upswing of content marketing, there is a massive demand for online writing. Businesses need blog posts, editing, ghostwriting, eBooks, copywriting, and more for their websites. If you can write better than I can, you can find work on these sites. This is one area where it’s hard to find well-paying contracts, but you’ll find them if you keep digging.

Websites, IT + Software

There are endless businesses out there looking for website and software development. Whether it’s website design or the development of an app, the opportunities are endless. If you can code or develop, you will be able to find ample work. A lot of the jobs are very specific, as the employer knows exactly what they need to have created.

Now, if you’re looking to do more than moonlight and really want to focus on specializing and learning new skills that will be in high-demand these upcoming years, here is where the big opportunities appear to be.

1. Robotics and internet of things (IoT)

Can you program the millions of IoT devices and their remote counterparts? What about learning to program robots for the healthcare industry? There is an endless opportunity if you choose to specialize in robotics and IoT.

2. AI and machine learning

Machine learning and AI are being used in countless ways already, and it’s exciting to look at where this industry is going. If you’re in the marketing industry, get ahead of the curve now and start educating yourself. In the future, using AI to determine blogging trends won’t just be for the world’s giant entities.

3. Blockchain technology

I’m a self-proclaimed Crypto nut, but Blockchain has gone far beyond what any of us could have predicted. Pilot blockchain projects are being found in nearly every industry so freelancers who learn these skills now will have their pick of work in the future.

4. Data science

Big data analysis is here to stay and data science carries across countless business practices today. Organizations are on the hunt for data integration and algorithms that will help them make sense of the data tsunami coming their way. The need for this will continue to grow as businesses in every industry realize the value of predictive analytics solutions.

If working a 9-5 is no longer doing it for you and you want to pursue your own passions, freelancing is an awesome way to get started down the path to professional freedom!