Our top Freelance Jobs of the Year
Freelancing. A way to attain to personal freedom, time flexibility, location flexibility, and income proportionate to the amount of work that you put in. Millions across the globe earn their living with this type of work, taking on thousands of different job types. But which type of freelance job is truly the best?
Read on to find out, as we dig in to that very question - what are the best freelance jobs in 2023?
To start, we've broken this question into three categories.
- Highest Paying Freelance Jobs
- Most in Demand Freelance Skills
Highest Paying Freelance Jobs
At the end of the day, freelancing is a way to earn money. It's a job. If we're talking about the best freelancing jobs, we have to talk about money! With that, here are the top 10 freelance jobs by average pay worldwide in our database.
- Management Consultant - $310 per hour
- Embedded Software Engineer - $225 per hour
- Data Architect - $183 per hour
- Data Science and Machine Learning Consultant - $173 per hour
- Blockchain Developer - $168 per hour
- CyberSecurity Consultant - $168 per hour
- Systems Engineer - $166 per hour
- Pentester - $152 per hour
- Devops Admin - $152 per hour
- Solutions Architect - $137 per hour
Breaking down the top paying freelance jobs
One thing is clear: Tech freelancers dominate the highest paying freelance charts. Of the top 10 paying roles above, 9 of them are direct tech jobs. The 1 non tech job, Management Consultant, in many cases, is also a tech job. Management Consultants work with banks, tech companies, construction firms, any type of company that needs help managing. More often than not though, management consultants are hired within a tech niche.Note: check out the hourly rates of different types of freelancers on our crowdsourced hourly rates tool.
Most in Demand Freelance Skills
Above, we looked at jobs that pay well, but we didn't really take in to account the demand for those roles. The reality is, there is a worldwide shortage of virtually every single one of those. That contributes to the high pay. Despite that, there are freelance skills that are even more in demand, but actually pay less than the aforementioned roles due to a variety of factors. What are these skills?
The global population is growing. Todays estimates put it at around 8 billion people worldwide. Two thirds of those people use the internet on a daily basis. What does that mean? It means that online, there is a lot of noise. Businesses are constantly looking for ways to rise above that noise and stand out, and they're willing to pay a pretty penny to do so.
Digital marketers make roughly $95 per hour. There are a ton of digital marketers online, but the simple reality is that most of them are not good. Results matter. If you can get a record of proven results, the ceiling is is infinite. There will be more work available to you than you can even take on. Digital marketing is one of those skills that has a lot of competition at the lower levels, but as you rise in ability, you run virtually unchallenged in landing clients.
Remember that internet usage statistic we mentioned above? The one about how 2/3 of the global population uses the internet each day? That has far reaching implications. The short of it is this: anybody that maintains or builds the internet is in huge demand. Fullstack Engineers power the internet. They create the servers and databases that websites query. They also make the nice interactive interface that you are reading this blog on right now. Every single website you have ever used leverages technology that Fullstack Engineers are at least semi familiar wiith.
Fullstack Engineers make roughly $100 per hour. Like Digital Marketers, there is a lot of competition at the lower levels of this role. The global population is not naive to the fact that software developers make a lot of money and enjoy comfortable working conditions. Combine that with predatory bootcamps that promise coding hopefuls significant income within 6 months, and we end up in a situation where there are more entry level developers than there are jobs willing to train them.
Given that, why do we still say that Fullstack Engineers are in significant demand? Well, maybe we should have added an extra adjective. Good Fullstack Engineers are in significant demand. Coding is a skill that you can learn in a few months. However, it takes years to actually master. You need to work with multiple systems multiple times to get an understanding of architecture and how everything fits together.
Fullstack Engineers that have that experience, are battle tested, and have seen multiple features from inception to deployment, these are the engineers that are in demand. There are more jobs looking for people with this level of experience than there are people with this level of experience. The ratio is likely almost 20 to 1. Fullstack Engineers with at least 3 years of experience do not have challenges finding work. They usually have the opposite challenge, having too much work and the difficulty that comes with deciding which project to take.
Youtube. Heard of it? What about Tik Tok? Instagram? Digital media has taken the world by storm, and shows no sign of slowing down. Businesses, governments, celebrities, podcasters, anybody that wants to spread their influence. These entities all post videos on the aforementioned platforms, but not all of them know how to make videos. That's where Video Editors come in.
We cannot understate the demand in 2023 for Video Editors enough. For whatever reason, this role has been quietly overlooked leading to a massive shortage today. Maybe it's because it doesn't sound technical? Or because everybody is so hyped on coding? Who knows, but whatever it may be - the fact still stands. Video Editors that exist today are operating in a market with very little competition and basically have their pick of the litter when it comes to jobs.
Here are some sample usecases for where a video editor is needed and what they do:
- A podcast trying to grow their youtube presence. They have hundreds of hours of video recording, but lack the skills necessary to compile and separate it into separate clicks. They hire a Video Editor to clip the recordings, add graphics, and make the otherwise mundane source video into very engaging clips to share on social media.
- A local government is trying to spread the word about a new program. Video statistically is the most efficiently digested form of media, so they hire a Video Editor to make a brief explainer video.
- An athlete is trying to promote their new brand. They're exceptionally talented on the field but have no idea how to make videos. They hire a video editor to compile and edit clips that they then post on their social media accounts.
Video Editors make roughly $60 per hour. This might seem low, but only at the aggregate level. Video editings has multiple niches - explainer videos, animation, clipping, etc. Clipping in particular is in excessive demand today because of social media. If you can get good at clipping and build up a decent portfolio, expect to make at least double the average.
There are servers, those black boxes that exist in data warehouses, that need to be configured to communicate with eachother at the right time with the right permission. There are deployments, which take code updates and ensure it gets delivered to the browser. There are proxies, load balancers, the list goes on - the point is this. The internet is powered by a lot of infrastructure, and Devops Administrators are the ones that understand and set that infrastructure up. Think of it this way: programmers write the code, Devops Administrators ensure it is delivered.
Devops Administrators make roughly $153 per hour. The market is much smaller than the other roles mentioned, but that's because there is really only 1 devops admin needed for every 10 or so programmers. Even still, there are more openings looking for freelance Devops Admins than there are Devops Admins to fill them. It is a very neglected role in tech, because again, everybody just looks to learn programming. But Devops Admins make even more money than programmers, and are in similar demand. This is a subjective opinion, but, I would argue that Devops is easier than programming. It's more consequential, the stakes are higher, but the skill itself is less nuanced and easier.
Because of the gravity of the work Devops Administrators do, it is one of the highest paying freelance jobs out there. What's not to like? Big demand, big pay, work from your laptop.
To summarize, tech wins. The internet wins. If you can carve out a niche that is servicing some part of the internet, you will probably do okay. We mentioned 13 of the best freelance jobs in 2023 and 12 of them are considered tech jobs.
The highest paid freelancers in the world seem to work in tech. If you want to view individual rate submissions, check out our freelance rates list. This is a place where freelancers share how much they are earning and bring pay transparency to a market where it hasn't historically existed.
If you're looking to see other freelancers hourly rates, check out our freelance hourly rates list.
November 22, 2022