4 Skills for Freelancers That Are Highly in Demand in 2020

Upwork CEO says employers are increasingly hiring freelancers with these four skills this year


Wajeeh Khan

3 years ago | 5 min read

The Coronavirus pandemic has radically changed the global job market this year. Millions have already lost their jobs, and yet uncertainty remains at unprecedently higher levels as the new COVID-19 cases continue to surge across the globe.

To that end, now is the perfect time for you to explore your prospects in the freelance industry. If you’ve been laid off from the conventional job market, it’ll help you establish a new source of income. If not, you’d be able to prepare ahead of time for a securer financial future.

As a beginner, the best way for you to go about freelancing is to find out what skills are greatly in demand, and then commit to improving your proficiency in one of these areas that most closely relate to your academic or professional background.

That way, you’d be able to land jobs more efficiently and at a lucrative hourly rate via an online marketplace like Upwork.

So, today I’ll talk about the top four skills that employers are increasingly looking for in a freelancer this year, according to CEO Hayden Brown of Upwork. In a recent interview with Business Insider, Brown said:

“Companies are adopting dynamic ways of flexing with their teams, figuring out how to bring full-time employees and skilled, independent workers together for projects. People are starting to break down those old barriers of how they use to hire, or who they use to hire.”

I’d also give you an idea of what you can expect to make at each of these freelance jobs, and a few reliable resources to polish your skills. So, without further ado, let’s dive in.

1. Email And Marketing Automation

If you have a background in sales and marketing, email and marketing automation would be a suitable place for you to start as a freelancer.

The job entails extensive research that helps design an intelligent email marketing campaign and its effective execution for maximum results. To further boost your prospects, it’s a good idea to also familiarize yourself with automation software like HubSpot and Marketo.

You can expect a median rate of $50 per hour as a freelancer who handles email and marketing automation for an employer. Although, for the first few months, you might be pushed into working at a relatively lower rate.

But you’ll get to build your portfolio during this period, as you land your initial clients and accumulate positive feedback. It’ll pave the way for you to regular work at a higher rate later on.

If you’re interested in sharpening your email and marketing automation skills to launch a successful freelance career, both HubSpot and Marketo have a collection of educational resources to get you started.

2. Ecommerce Development

The Coronavirus pandemic has opened new doors for eCommerce with businesses from several sectors reporting exponential growth in digital sales this year.

But running a successful eCommerce store is not all about the product. There are several other processes like software integration, digital marketing, and even web development, that together determine the overall revenue and profit that an eCommerce business gets to generate.

Business owners usually prefer to outsource such tasks to freelancers, so that they can focus entirely on the product. If you’re proficient in skills like web development, software integration, digital marketing, etc., you can expect to make $54 per hour on average in the freelance market.

If not, it is never too late to learn. You can head on to online resources like Allison and Skillshare to take the first step towards a freelance career in eCommerce development. Ideally, the job is well-suited to someone with a background in information technology.

3. Marketing Strategy

As the name suggests, the role doesn’t include execution of the marketing plan but only strategizing for it — that makes it perfectly suitable for freelancers.

Remember that the beauty of the freelance industry is that it doesn’t necessarily require you to have a relevant academic or professional background on your resume.

So, while marketing strategy is a role ideally suitable for freelancers with experience in hardcore marketing, it is still open for you, even if you don’t — as long as you’re willing to put in your time into learning the relevant skills.

If you’re proficient in creating marketing campaigns that help businesses use their marketing budgets to maximize profitability, you can expect to make roughly $60 per hour as a freelancer in this niche.

Personally, I’ve found Udemy and edX as the finest online resources for someone interested in learning marketing strategy. There’s a bunch of paid courses on the platforms that will prepare you for a successful freelance career as a marketing strategy expert.

4. Network Security

With the COVID-19 crisis having pushed companies into work from home arrangements, there’s hardly a skill more in demand in the freelance market this year than network security.

But network security is a relatively broader term that is used for all processes aimed at securing a computer network against threats that could potentially affect its integrity and usability.

As a freelancer, you can specialize in a single component of network security like network architecture or cybersecurity.

Remember that this job requires technical acumen, so I would recommend opting for network security only if you already have an academic or professional background in this niche.

Otherwise, you’d be better off investing your time in honing one of your other skills.

Nonetheless, network security is one of the highest-paid freelance jobs in 2020 that could make you $65 per hour on average. You can scroll through edX and Coursera if you wish to learn these skills.

Freelancing Is a Journey

I’d like to conclude with a word of caution, though. Keep in mind that freelancing is not a highway to success. Much like a regular job, it’ll take some serious time and effort to land a suitable job.

Even if you have academics and years of experience on your portfolio, as long as you’re not willing to reach out to clients with proposals that tap on the pressure points, the odds of a successful freelance career for you will remain slim.

So, it’s a good idea to start freelancing as a side hustle. Just make sure that it’s not pushed too much to the side that it eventually moves out of the picture.


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Wajeeh Khan

Khan has an experience of over eight years in blogging. He specializes in writing content for several niches, including healthcare, business, tech, finance, and life coaching. Follow me on Medium:







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