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The 20 Highest-paying Skills for Independent Professionals Right Now

There’s a misconception that independent workers can’t make enough money but the reality is, of those who quit a traditional job in order to freelance, 73% of full-time freelancers say they earn more now than they did at a traditional employer.

We compiled a list of the 20 highest-paying skills for U.S. freelancers out of more than 5,000 on our site. The data shows some independent professionals are earning more than $250 an hour for work in categories spanning nearly every industry, including legal, tech, finance, and marketing.

According to Upwork Chief Economist Adam Ozimek: “This data illustrates that work of a very high skilled nature is being done by professionals on Upwork. Highly-paid skills aren’t just anecdotes or limited to one field. They range from law to marketing to finance to high tech, and a significant percentage of U.S. freelancers earn quite high hourly wages on the platform.”

Check out the skills that companies are paying the big bucks for:

Want more industry-specific information? Here’s a look at tech and marketing skills.

Top tech skills and their average hourly rates
[Download the infographic]

  • Bitcoin – $215
  • Image object recognition – $180
  • Virtual machine – $175
  • SQR – $170
  • Lucene search – $165
  • OrCAD – $165
  • P-CAD – $165
  • Clustering – $165
  • DHTML – $150
  • SAP CPI – $150
  • Google Adsense API – $150
  • Oracle Integration Cloud – $145
  • Dell Boomi – $140
  • Google Experiments – $140
  • VWO – $140
  • Virtualization – $135
  • Backup administration – $135
  • Open CV – $135
  • Expression engine – $130
  • Systems development – $125
  •  

    Top marketing skills and their average hourly rate
    [Download the infographic]

  • Behavioral design – $195
  • Event photography – $150
  • Lead magnet – $150
  • Paid social – $145
  • Hotjar – $130
  • Scenario planning – $125
  • Innovation strategy – $125
  • Citrix / GoToMeeting – $125
  • Pricing strategy consulting – $115
  • Video processing – $110
  • Executive coaching – $105
  • DoubleClick Bid Manager – $105
  • Pitch deck – $105
  • Venture capital consulting – $100
  • Social listening – $100
  • Partnerships – $100
  • Food photography – $95
  • Facebook ads – $95
  • DoubleClick for Publishers – $95
  • Marketo – $90
  • This data was sourced from the Upwork database and is based on average hourly rates charged by U.S. freelancers from Jan 1, 2019 – June 30, 2019. Each skill had a minimum of 2 contracts and 40 hours billed (equivalent of 1 week of work and more than 1 project) for reliability.

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