The 10 Most In-Demand IT Skills For Freelance Jobs In 2023

From back-end and front-end developers to e-commerce website design and manual testing, here are the top 10 most in-demand IT skills in 2023, according to new data from Upwork.

Upwork recently unveiled the top 10 most in-demand IT skills that organizations are seeking from independent technology professionals in 2023. From back-end and front-end developers to mobile application and web designers, there’s a huge demand in the market for skilled technology professionals for many jobs and projects needed from startups to Fortune 100 companies.

For example, one of the most highly in-demand IT skills in 2023 is a full stack developer that requires skills around everything from HTML, Python and JavaScript to frameworks like NodeJS and C++, to even database management systems like MySQL and PostgreSQL.

“The uncertain economic environment is pushing businesses to explore new solutions to stay competitive and they’re finding unlocked potential in the growing pool of skilled independent professionals,” said Margaret Lilani, vice president of talent solutions at Upwork in a statement.

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IT freelance jobs are opening up for highly skilled tech professionals in today’s market more than ever before, according to Upwork.

In fact, data from Upwork shows that 60 million Americas performed freelance work over the past 12 months, representing roughly 39 percent of the U.S, workforce, according to data from the San Francisco-based company.

Upwork connects millions of businesses with independent professionals and agencies around the globe via its marketplace for freelancers in fields including technology. The company’s skills data was sourced from Upwork database and is based on U.S. freelancer earnings from Jan. 1, 2022 to Oct. 31, 2022. Each skill had a minimum of 500 projects with active work.

CRN breaks down the 10 most in-demand tech skills based on Upwork data that IT job seekers are looking for in technical talent for 2023.

No. 10: Scripting and Automation

Skilled scripting and automation professionals know how to use automation software to leverage the current scripts within a company’s framework. These IT professionals help automate tasks for a business, such as sending emails to customers, by writing codes in languages such as JavaScript and Python.

Some of the top automation and scripting skills needed today include expertise on tools like ActiveBatch, Atera, Microsoft Power Apps and NinjaOne.

Organizations use automation scripts to reduce the time that businesses spend on automating tasks because they don’t need to recompile files or restart a server. Automation scripts are small pieces of code that can extend the product.

No. 9: Manual Testing

Ranking No. 9 on Upwork’s top 10 IT skills in-demand in 2023 is manual testing, which has professionals testing the functionality of software or product without the help of automation tools.

A manual software tester is important because it allows a human to check the quality of a new application or product without using automation or scripting. These manual testing tech professionals make sure a business’ software works effectively in various instances and scenarios.

One of the biggest tasks manual testers do is identifying bugs or defects in a tool, ensuring the product is error-free, and make sure it conforms to any specified functional requirements.

No. 8: CMS Development

Content management systems (CMS) are critically important to many businesses of all shapes and sizes. The CMS software helps a company’s customers or users manage their various content from creation to publication, while also storing all the content in databases.

A CMS developer is responsible for creating both the front and back-end of the software. These professionals help build intuitive, scalable and SEO-oriented solutions for handling a company’s content. Some popular languages CMS specialists are skilled in include C#, JavaScript and Python.

No. 7: UX/UI Design

Expertise in user experience and user interface (UX/UI) are in high demand in today’s freelance job market, as professionals in this area create user-friendly experiences for a company’s website and application.

Skills UX/UI designers help develop an app or website’s content, create prototypes, test for issues and plan the overall structure of a business’s website or application. The main difference between a UX designer compared to a UI designer, is that UX focuses mostly on the feel of the user experience and solving user problems, while UI is more about how the product functions.

UX/UI designers are responsible for the design and implementation of all the experiences a person has when interacting with the website, tool or application.

No. 6: E-commerce Website Development

In today’s market, an e-commerce website developer creates and modifies websites for a company, responsible for the website’s performance and capacity as well as overall look.

These developers help build a plan for the back-end and front-end of a company’s e-commerce website, which can include product pages, shopping carts, order forms and support pages. Businesses are seeking e-commerce website designers to improve website performance, help drive sales and make their e-commerce portal a place customers want to use.

No. 5: Web Design

Ranking No. 5 on Upwork’s top 10 most in-demand IT skills being sought by companies is web design.

Web designers are specialists who can build websites using programming languages such as JavaScript and HTML, as well as have skills in graphic design software like Adobe Photoshop, Sketch or Adobe Illustrator.

Additional skills job seekers are looking for in web designers include UX/UI (user experience and user interface) expertise, web server management, content management systems and digital marketing.

No. 4: Mobile App Development

As more businesses leverage mobile applications in the new hybrid workforce world, mobile app developers are in high demand.

A mobile application developer is an engineer who focuses on creating apps for laptops, smartphones, tablets and other mobile devices for businesses. Job seekers in 2023 are looking for mobile app specialists who can fix issues in a company’s software products, understand coding languages and who can work with other teams—such as data scientists and graphic designers—to build modern applications.

Organizations are seeking mobile app developers to target specific audiences, help increase employee productivity and successful reach specific use cases or company goals.

No. 3: Back-End Development

Ranking third in Upwork’s top 10 list of most in-demand IT skills in 2023 is back-end developement. Back-end developers build and maintain the mechanisms that process data and perform actions on websites or applications.

These back-end developers are experts around data storage, cybersecurity and other server-side functions that users do not see when using a website or application.

Experts on back-end development are also usually responsible for the integration of the work that front-end developers do. Some of the most popular back-end languages IT professionals should know are Ruby, PHP, Java and Python.

No. 2: Front-End Development

There is more employer demand for front-end developers compared to back-end developers, according to Upwork data.

While back-end developers create the behind-the-scenes portions of a website or app, front-end developers build the portions of the website or app that the user sees and interacts with. These front-end IT professionals use web languages like CSS and HTML that enable users to access and interact with the site or application.

Additional skills required by front-end developers include help create the user interfaces (UI), website navigation and where images and content should go.

No. 1: Full Stack Development

The most in-demand IT skills in 2023 revolve around full stack developers who can develop both client and server software.

These developers understand how to build both the front-end and back-end of a website, while also knowing coding languages like JavaScript, SQL and Python. Full stack developers can also test sites as well as software to ensure both are working properly.

Full stack developers are highly trained professionals who know how to program and manage a database, browser and server. Overall, a full stack developer is associated with the creation of an application from start to finish, while ensuring efficiency and reliability.