According to the 2018 report Freelancing in America , a survey of 6000 U.S. workers conducted by Upwork and The Freelancer’s Union, there are 56.7 million self-employed workers in our country, from Lyft and Uber drivers to public relations specialists, ballet dancers to home organizers. One in three (35%) workers in America participate in the Freelance gig economy either full-time or part-time.
As you might guess, not everyone is getting rich in the Freelance economy. High tech workers have the most earning power, by far. Fit Small Business, an online magazine that features articles targeted to small business owners and Freelancers, analyzed data from online job-finding sites including Upwork, Freelancer, Hubstaff and Guru to compile a list of what they predict will be the 10 highest-paying Freelance jobs of 2019.
- Data Scientist/ Machine Learning Engineer —Deep Learning S115/hour Deep learning is the specialty of these machine learning experts and it involves the development of neural networks that mimic the neural pathways in the human brain. These professionals possess advanced skills in algorithm and programming languages such as Tensorflow, Python, Java, Matlab and C++.
- Digital Architect —Blockchain $87/hour The technology that powers cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin, Ethereum and Monero is used to build new cryptocurrencies, cryptocurrency exchanges and helping businesses to set up cryptocurrency transactions for customers who want to buy in. Proficiency in C++, Python and Solidity is required.
- Robotics Engineer—Robotics $77/hour These Freelancers design and build the mechanical elements and machinery used by advanced robots and automated technologies that companies use to make certain repetitive tasks more efficient and less expensive to perform. Robots have moved into stockrooms to fulfill orders, pharmacies to fill prescriptions, banks to serve as personal teller machines (and let’s not forget ATMs) and even, God save us, into certain bars on the Royal Caribbean Cruise line, where the robots can make two drinks a minute. Talk about a speed bartender! High-level skill in mechanical engineering software, including SolidWorks Professional, Simplify 3D and Photoview 360 are required.
- Penetration Tester—Network Security $66/hour These professionals are good guy hackers. They investigate the potential vulnerability of a company’s computer network, so that the company will not fall prey to bad guy hackers who might infiltrate and sabotage its computer system. These Freelancers are certified systems security professionals.
- Code Writer/ Amazon Web Service (AWS) Lambda $50/hour AWS is unique among computer servers in that it’s only “on” when it’s needed and the customer pays for hosting space only when applications supported are in use. AWS runs code when an event triggers it (downloading the software program) and the customer pays only when the associated code runs. Freelancers must know C #, Java, Node.js and Python.
- VR Developer—Virtual Reality $50/hour Virtual reality experts develop algorithms that are mostly used in games like the blockbuster Angry Birds. Virtual Reality technology is increasingly used in healthcare and education. These professionals must be fluent in C++, C#, C, native iOS, Android and Java. Be advised that the required skillset is unique to the platform used to build the VR app in development.
- Video Editor—Final Cut Pro X. $37/hour Film studios, music video directors, wedding videographers and marketing/advertising companies are among the potential clients of these Freelancers. Freelancers who’d like to participate with the creative class must be able to not only cut video clips. but also use transitions, integrate music and edit scenes using multiple camera angles.
- Social Media Marketer/ Instagram $30/hour What a shame that jobs where creativity, judgment and the psychology of the end-user are so vital to the process of creating a memorable experience that builds brand loyalty and generates revenue, skills that cannot be learned in a series of online tutorials pay the lowest salaries? The automatons are making all the money, clicking away on their keyboards. Instagram active users numbered a billion in June 2018 according to Statista and that’s a whole lot of campaigns to create and manage. Freelance marketers must be able to create engaging content, build the brand voice, analyze performance metrics to monitor campaigns successfully, in consultation with the client.
Thanks for reading,
Photograph: Academy Award-winning actress Jane Fonda (Best Actress, Klute 1971 and Coming Home 1978) as Bree Daniels in Klute (1971)