With the rise in freelance activity in the United States and across the world, it has become truly important to understand what skill sets are the most popular. Companies should understand what skill sets the most commonly sought when a company seeks to hire freelancers, and at the same time, freelancers should likewise be aware of what skill sets are most in demand.
We believe the below skills and roles are the most in demand amongst the freelance community, spanning 7 broad categories: freelance developers, freelance web designers, freelance digital marketers, freelance photographers, freelance accountants, freelance data scientists and freelance sales specialists:
1. Freelance Developers
Companies hire freelance developers on a regular basis to launch an MVP (Minimum Viable Product), work on one-off projects, fix bugs, enhance existing products, and/or to manage an existing product on an ongoing basis. Companies hire freelance developers or coders across a variety of front-end and back-end languages for both web apps and mobile apps:
a. Front-End Freelance Developers
b. Back-End Freelance Developers
These developers should have experience in coding in back-end languages for creating web-based apps. Some of the most popular back-end languages today are Java, PHP, and Ruby. Companies that hire freelance developers in this category typically have a large budget they can allocate exclusive to back-end development.
c. Full Stack Freelance Developers
These are developers who are proficient at both front-end and back-end coding. Companies that hire freelance developers in this category are typically short on budget and hence need a developer to wear multiple hats, specifically that of a front-end and a back-end engineer simultaneously
d. Mobile Freelance Developers
These developers are skilled in iOS and Android mobile languages such as Swift and Objective-C for iOS and Java for Android. There are certain ‘hybrid’ languages that allow developers to code across iOS and Android platforms. Examples of these include React and RubyMotion.
e. Quality Testers
These freelancers are experts in unit and regression testing using QA tools like Selenium. They are generally responsible for designing and implementing test plans to improve the usability of web- and mobile-based products. A QA Tester works with the development team to debug code, correct errors, and troubleshoot any issues with software code. A successful QA Tester should have a strong working knowledge of software code and testing methodologies.
2. Freelance Web Designer / Mobile Designer
Companies hire freelance web designers to create UI/UX designs, graphics / infographics, and conduct user experiments, all with the goal of enhancing a product for it to fit a market need. UI/UX Designers are skilled at conducting user interviews, creating high-level and low-level wireframes and working with developers to implement product features as per their design. There are different types of freelance web designers:
a. Graphic Designers
These types of freelance web designers are greatly proficient at using graphic tools such as Illustrator and Photoshop, and can create still graphics, tables, charts, illustrations, and infographics for companies. Amongst the hundreds of places where a company can use such assets, these graphic assets are typically used by companies in marketing collateral, in social media posts, or in web and mobile applications.
b. UI/UX Designers
These types of freelance web designers are research-driven. They first try to understand what the market wants, create an ideal “customer persona,” and then design website and mobile app pages to help the user navigate through the application in the most efficient way possible. UI/UX Designers use wire-framing tools such as Balsamiq and Sketch to create high- and low-level designs, and then work with a developer to implement their designs. Once the designs are implemented, they do a great deal of user testing and iterations to ensure that the user interface and user workflow are as optimized as possible.
c. Architectural Designers
These types of designers are great at using architectural tools such as Revit, InVision, AutoCAD, and Rhino. They design and develop multi-program spaces, prepare architectural documentation, and create 3D rendering to communicate design to relevant stakeholders. They are also frequently responsible for coordinating with engineers and general contractors and collaborate with development teams to procure items, supervise construction, and to style projects on-site.
3. Freelance Digital Marketers
Companies hire digital marketers to grow their business through both organic and paid methods. Digital marketing has become one of the most common functions for companies to hire freelancers in, and has a wide variety of categories:
a. SEO Specialist
b. Content and Blog Writers
These freelancers are experienced writers who create engaging, informative content for blogs, client websites, and third-party platforms like social media platforms. These freelancers are typically an integral member of the brand and communications teams of companies. They have a proven track record of creating compelling copy that increases engagement and drives the reader to take a desired action. These types of freelancers have a high level of creativity and also have the ability to use data-driven insights to create captivating content that converts.
c. SEM/PPC Specialist
These types of freelancers have experience in running paid digital ad campaigns on search engines, social media platforms, and other platforms outside of social media. They manage the daily execution of paid search campaigns that drive revenue or increase the user base while maintaining the target Cost-Per-Acquisition (CPA) or Return on Ad Spend (RoAS). These freelancers develop and implement performance driven campaign strategies and optimizations for their clients, and research and understand client business models, products/services, verticals, and competition to create and manage campaigns that drive true business profitability and growth. These freelancers are also data-driven and use analytics and insights to drive campaign strategies and optimization.
4. Freelance Accountants
Many modern companies have a need for freelance accountants who can support month-end close processes and the preparation of financial statements. Freelance accountants can also be responsible for the preparation of journal entries, the reconciling of balance sheets and relevant supporting schedules, and performing working capital and relevant financial and KPI analyses. These accounting freelancers should also be able to support the accounts payable function and often work closely with department leaders to manage vendor invoices. They should be able to assist with accounting and financial inquiries by researching and interpreting data, helping with preparing year-end audits, and work closely with the audit team to provide accurate supporting schedules. Freelance accountants are generally Certified Public Accountants (CPAs) who are able to not only manage typical accounting functions for a company but are also able to create scalable accounting procedures for their clients. QuickBooks is a popular accounting tool used by thousands of companies and learning this tool can put accounting freelancers at a significant advantage.
5. Freelance Photographers and Videographers
Many companies require photographers and videographers for managing and executing photo and video shoots, editing content, and for post-production activities. Freelancers in this category are proficient in using tools such as Adobe Final Cut Pro, Premier Pro, Illustrator, and Sony Vegas. They are required to enhance existing photo and video assets, define and recommend photo and video resources, and organize and maintain digital photos. Freelancers in this category are required to have a strong grasp on filming, composition, and the final delivery of video in keeping with corporate branding standards.
6. Freelance Data Scientists
These types of freelancers are experts in Machine Learning and Artificial Intelligence (AI). They use tools like R and Python, are experienced in database tools like SQL and have a solid statistical, computer science, and/or math background. With the ongoing revolution in AI, these types of freelancers are in very high demand. Popular use cases for this type of role include building a training corpus for model deployment, converting a rule-based prediction algorithm into a machine learning based algorithm, predicting outcomes based on visual and voice recognition, and building data pipes and neural nets. Most freelancers belonging to this category are either fresh graduates with relevant project experience, data science bootcamp graduates, math majors, or PhDs.
7. Freelance Sales Specialists
Many companies are on the lookout for effective sales specialists at each step of the sales funnel and are increasingly seeking sales freelancers who can manage the entire sales funnel. Key experiences required in this category are experience in cold emailing tools such as Mailshake, Constant Contact, and Mixmax, experience in newsletter marketing tools including MailChimp and Sendinblue, as well as experience with CRMs such as HubSpot and Salesforce. Successful freelancers in this category are required to have experience as inside or outside sales executives and being able to help with prospecting and lead generation efforts. They are also often responsible for scheduling demos and bringing in new logos, cold calling and cold emailing, bringing in new client logos, and/or managing existing clients and cross-selling new business to existing clients.
If you are experienced in any of the above seven categories, you can submit your profile on SkillSoniq, and start doing local freelance projects in your city. Once you submit a profile on SkillSoniq, your profile gets screened and once approved, SkillSoniq automatically sends you offers for interviews and projects in your city. Additionally, any of the clients with which you work can then convert you into a full-time employee based on performance! Get started today!