The 20 fastest-growing skills for online jobs

Upwork, a freelancing website, has released its ranking of the fastest growing skills for freelance workers over the past few months. 

According to Upwork, freelancers made up 35% of the American workforce in 2016, approximately 55 million people. Layoffs during the recession and the growth of technology pushed more people into freelance work, Entrepreneur magazine reported. In total, freelance workers made $1 trillion in wages last year, according to Upwork.

Each quarter, Upwork releases a skills indexthat ranks the fastest growing skills for freelance workers. The list is made by calculating billing growth rates for projects completed by the website's freelancers. Here is the list of fastest growing skills for the first quarter of 2017:

  1. Asana work tracking
  2. Artificial intelligence (Al)
  3. Rapid prototyping
  4. Immigration law
  5. Natural language processing
  6. Instagram marketing
  7. A/B testing
  8. Twilio API development
  9. C++ development
  10. Swift development
  11. Brand strategy
  12. Marketo marketing automation
  13. Penetration testing
  14. Docker development
  15. Relationship management
  16. Application security
  17. Angular JS development
  18. Accounting (CPA)
  19. Machine learning
  20. JIRA administration

The fastest growing skill, Asana work tracking, is the first non-technical skill to ever top the ranking. The top ten skills all grew over 400% since last year, the company wrote. In addition, each of the skills has seen 140% growth year-over-year.  

Some of the skills, like accounting, are cyclical, because more people hire freelance accountants in the first quarter of the year due to tax season. Others, such as artificial intelligence, represent a broader economic shift. "As AI continues to shape our world and influence nearly every major industry and country, companies are thinking about how to incorporate it into their business strategies, and professionals are developing skills to capitalize upon this accelerating tech trend," the company wrote (Leadem, Entrepreneur, 8/19/16; Upwork site, 10/6/16; Upwork press release, 5/3).

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