15 Technology Skills That Employers Want Freelance Developers to Have

A huge number of software developers and engineers work in a freelance capacity. Some contract their services to a single company, while others perform a variety of jobs for many clients. Whatever pathway they choose, though, their finances depend on having the tech skills that employers need. 

With that in mind, massive freelancing platform Upwork recently broke down the most in-demand tech skills among freelancers. The COVID-19 pandemic has made freelancers with these skills particularly valuable, the company insists: “Many organizations are navigating new business demands and, as a result, they are experiencing difficulty finding and retaining talent with the technical skills required to keep up with the pace of digital transformation.”

Upwork also cites a survey that found that 51 percent of hiring managers “plan to engage independent web, mobile, and software developers this year and nearly half (49 percent) cite needing access to skills and expertise as their reason why.”

As you can see from Upwork’s list, some enormously popular languages and disciplines top the list of most in-demand skills among freelancers:

What jumps out at us here? It should come as no surprise that the most in-demand programming languages among freelancers are also the most popular programming languages in postings for full-time positions. We recently turned to Burning Glass, which collects and analyzes millions of job postings from across the country, for a breakdown of the latter; as you can see, JavaScript is also prominently featured, along with languages that form the backbone of website and software development (including Python and Java):

What’s clear from Upwork’s list is that employers hunger for technologists who are capable of building and maintaining websites—tasks that require extensive knowledge of CSS, HTML, JavaScript, WordPress, and more. That especially makes sense for smaller companies that might not have the resources to hire a web developer, but nonetheless need to keep their web properties in good working order.

Earlier this year, when the COVID-19 pandemic started, many businesses also rushed to update their websites with additional e-commerce options, especially brick-and-mortar stores that had to temporarily shut down. With resources and personnel thinly stretched (and figuring out how to work from home), many businesses turned to freelancing technologists for this vital task.

As we move forward, it seems unlikely that the need for technologists who specialize in web technologies will abate. Indeed, Burning Glass predicts that the need for web developers will grow by 14.9 percent over the next decade. The median web developer salary is $80,978, although six-figure salaries are obtainable with the right mix of experience and skills. If you’re heading into an interview for a full-stack web developer position, keep in mind that many questions will focus on your previous work and projects, so make sure you’re able to discuss in detail everything you’ve done before.  

5 Responses to “15 Technology Skills That Employers Want Freelance Developers to Have”

  1. If all of these companies were paying so much money then why aren’t they pushing (no demanding) that the politicians create minimum salary cap? Wouldn’t it make for easier recruiting the so-called talent that they are paying a premium for?

    If something doesn’t smell right then there’s something else going on. This article fails the smell test.

    • Bob Wilkerson

      Let’s keep the politicians out of it. Whenever the government starts trying to regulate wages it results in more problems than solutions. The relatively free market is much more efficient.

  2. Russ Whiteman

    I’m wondering if you (or the website) connected your post to the wrong article or something similar. I went back and looked, and I couldn’t find any direct reference to the companies paying “so much money”. I don’t know that the article passes the smell test, but it seems more likely to do so right now than your comment itself.

    I’m not looking to be mean, I’m more curious than anything.

  3. The funny thing is, I mostly don’t use anything on that list of ‘languages’. The first language they want me to use is C. Sometimes C++. Occasionally some assembly language. I “like” coding in C# with WinForms and use it for writing test drivers, and loathe that I can’t use it for production code. And something a client said to me recently: “Steve, your the only person we have ever found that would/could/does work on these things.” Now that’s really sad. So the rest of the world is stuck coding in slow-as-molasses scripting languages and the accompanying poor performance interpreters with poor performance.