If you were in any doubt that tech skills are the way to secure a successful career, new research by PeoplePerHour (PPH), will wash that away, showing that demand for some skills soared by over 500 per cent in the last year (those associated with blockchain, cryptocurrency and ICOs), while many others can demand in excess of £100 per hour for their time.
PPH analyses which tech roles have been trending on their platform in the last twelve months and the hourly rates associated with the skills. With the current hype around the unprecedented value swell of Bitcoin, it’s perhaps not surprising that there has been a 510 per cent growth in demand for blockchain (the technology behind cryptocurrencies) developers, or that they can demand as much as £215 per hour, but they’re not the only ones experiencing a rise in popularity this year.
Demand for virtual reality (VR) experts has increased by 304 per cent since 2016. Working to create computer-generated simulations of three-dimensional images or environments for faux physical interaction, VR freelancers are now earning up to £130 ph.
Commanding £105 ph, the experts with the third highest increase in demand are developers of Snapchat Filters. It may seem like a niche skill but these creative tech buffs have seen demand increase by 230 per cent.
In fourth position, with a 212 per cent raise are cyber security experts. Freelancers are earning as much as £170 ph, depending on their skills, but with the recent and continuing high-profile cyber security breaches, there’s little wonder that the requirement for these guys is on the up – indeed, Forbes predict that there will be a global shortage of 2 million cyber security professionals by 2019.
Completing the top five, chatbot developers – those who largely work on social media to create automated, yet convincing responses to customer queries – have experienced a 160 per cent increase in demand, while earning as much as £135 ph.
Experiencing a slightly smaller degree of growth in demand (75 per cent), facial recognition experts are among the highest paid freelancers across the PPH platform, demanding up to £120 ph for developing biometric ID systems, usually for security purposes.
AI/Machine Learning professionals are also commanding a significant hourly rate of up to £180 per hour for providing the code to create the artificial intelligence necessary for machines to ‘learn’ to carry out certain tasks. This area has seen a 50 per cent growth in demand.
Completing PeoplePerHour’s growth list are:
Live stream experts up 126 per cent (up to £105)
Voice driven technology specialists up 125 per cent (up to £110)
Whatsapp marketers up 95 per cent (up to £95 ph)
3D printing related professionals up 73 per cent (up to £95 ph)
Dynamic content creators up 57 per cent (up to £110 ph)
The tech skills gap to close
Xenios Thrasyvoulou, founder and CEO of PeoplePerHour, comments, ‘It will surprise no one to learn that we have seen the demand for tech skills is increasing rapidly on our platform, but under any circumstances a 500 per cent or 300 per cent increase in the space of a year is more than noteworthy.
‘Tech has already become an integral part of everyday life and business, but with the current trend it seems that there just aren’t enough niche experts to go around – which is excellent news for the freelancer. There are few people who would sniff at a £50 hourly rate, but those growing numbers of professionals able to command in excess of £100 per hour could get away with working just 25 hours a month to order to take home the average UK salary. Working 40 hours a week, their monthly earnings would far exceed the annual return of most service industry workers.
‘While few companies will have need of a permanent ICO (Initial Coin Offerings), live stream, or facial recognition expert, the beauty of the freelance marketplace is that they can find the skills that they need for the time and price that they need them, without a long-term commitment. The realisation of this is partly what has driven these significant increases.’