7 High-demand Freelance Skills for 2021 & Beyond

Published by Simon Elstad on


Freelancing is on the uptrend with one estimate putting the number of freelancers at 35% of the workforce. Being your boss, ability to set your hours and the potential to work from anywhere are some of the enticing perks to most freelancers. Advances in technology and globalization are also pushing businesses to rethink their employment policies.

With that in mind, some skills have emerged as the most sought after. The pay is reasonably better, and the demand for professionals in these fields is relatively high and expected to grow. Whether you are a newbie freelancer or a seasoned expert, check out these high-demand freelance skills to tailor your strategy and ensure you’ll continue to thrive.

Top High-Demand Freelance Skills

1) Programming

programming - high-demand freelance skills

Software is eating the world. Companies continue to move their operations online and to the cloud in droves. Nowadays a business without a web presence is almost unheard of. Enterprises need tech-savvy oriented freelancers to develop the software and other automation tools that support growth

Additionally, new platforms and programming frameworks crop up each day putting pressure on businesses to adapt and remain relevant. Coding and programming knowledge will put you ahead of the curve in when looking for freelance gigs. The demand for talented programmers is high and likely to grow.

Programmers also command better pay packages. Some of the high-demand freelance programming skills include a knowledge of popular programming languages like Python, Java, MySQL, PHP, R, Swift etc. Others include expertise in data science, manipulation and analysis.


2) Content Creation

content creation

Content is king. Great content is queen.

Content makes up the bulk of how we consume information on the internet. Be it videos, graphics or written material. Somebody has to create that content. Businesses and companies require content creators to put together compelling stories, graphics etc. to promote their brands while educating and entertaining readers.

Writing has emerged as one of the most effective ways to create content. Companies need good freelance writers to help them craft content that engages and connects with customers.

It’s ever more urgent since 74% of Gen Z, and Millenials are tired of being social ad targets according to one survey.

Put your content creation skills to use in this high-demand freelancing field. Narrow down your niche to increase your chances of making more money and never running out of work.


3) Social Media Marketing

social media marketing

Marketing freelancers are always in demand. Any business worth its salt requires marketers to devise strategies that connect with customers and pulls them in.

Nowadays, every brand is expected to be on social media. Be it on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Pinterest, Snapchat etc. 71% of customers who have a positive experience with a brand on social media tend to recommend it to the friends and peers.

This makes social media marketing one of the most high-demand freelancer skill in the market today. Businesses need socially savvy freelancers, and professionals to engage, interact and build positive an image for their brands.


4) Admin Support

social media marketing

Companies are moving away from retaining full-time secretaries and admin staff instead opting for virtual assistants and other freelance staff. Budget considerations coupled with advances in technology that make it easy to work and collaborate from anywhere fuel this trend.

Admin support is a high-demand freelancer skill with companies paying a premium for capable administrators. To succeed in this field, you must be:

  • Highly organized
  • Resourceful and detail oriented
  • Reliable
  • Experienced in managing schedules and overseeing staff
  • Capable of making perfect travel arrangements etc.


5) Customer Service

customer service

Customer service freelancers connect with prospects and clientele through chat, email, social media on behalf of businesses and companies.

You must be attentive, resourceful and a problem solver to cut it as a customer service rep. You also need a sunny disposition and tonnes of patience to deal with customers. You’ll be the point of contact for customers and crucial to how they experience a brand or business.

A thorough understanding of your company’s product or service puts you at the forefront of this high-demand freelance skill boosting your freelance income.


6) Design

design - high-demand freelance skill

Design is the art of combining images, text and other media to create finished products that convey a message. It encompasses a broad swath of the visual market and makes it one of the most sought out freelancer skills since we tend to consume most media visually.

Some of the popular design sub-fields include:

  • Web design
  • UX/UI design
  • Product design
  • Brand design (logos, brochures etc.)
  • There are also emerging fields like 3D design.

You’ll need a solid grasp of aesthetics, and proficiency in software used for design such as Adobe Illustrator etc., to succeed as a freelancer in this field. Additionally, having a website with your portfolio boost your chances of clinching high paying clients.


7) Accounting

customer service

Cash is the lifeblood of any business. Without it, companies go belly up. Bookkeeping and accounting are some of the oldest and yet high demand fields. That’s because proper financial management is crucial to smooth business running.

Accounting freelancers tend to command better incomes and are always in demand, especially during tax season. Businesses need them to manage income, expenditure, inventory and help in tax preparation. A solid understanding of the popular accounting software like QuickBooks, Freshbooks, Sage & Xero is a sure fire way of ensuring you get hired in this high-demand freelance field.


Final Thoughts

Having one of these high-demand freelance skills puts you ahead of the pack. However, don’t get comfortable. The business and the freelance landscape is continually shifting. What’s hot now might be less trendy tomorrow. Keep learning and most especially, focus on your niche. Be the go-to freelancer for a specific skill. That’s how you command higher rates and become a highly sought out freelancer.

What other freelance skills do you think are highly sought after in 2021? What about future skills? Please share in the comments below and Tweet @Simonelstad

Simon Elstad

Simon Elstad is a freelance writer/editor, digital strategist & all-round online business operations ninja. For work and collaborations, or to just give feedback (or buy him coffee), reach him at: simon [at] simonelstad.com or Twitter @Simonelstad