Empowering the Freelance Economy

The skill sets that could boost your freelancer income by £££s

Consider ways to upskill your freelance business without a university degree/Photo by Christina Morillo via Pexels
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Every freelancer should consider bringing new services or product options to their clients. But does this mean going back to university to re-skill? And will certain skill sets forge higher earning power?

Freelancers in the UK or those looking to become one would be wise to keep one eye on the US economy. Often what happens over the pond has ripple effects on the UK economy. News of failed California’s Silicon Valley Bank (SVB) is just one example. Fintechs serving the freelancer economy including Sezzle and Xero, e-commerce marketplace Redbubble, Nitro Software and jobs marketplace Freelancer are among the ASX-listed companies now waiting to get their cash back, according to a Startup Daily report.

The news of SVB has only added salt to the wounds of an already rocky US job market, with 62% of Americans living pay cheque to pay cheque. Four million Americans are quitting each month in search of a salary bump and 40% plan to change careers entirely. That’s according to a study conducted by ELVTR, an online learning platform.

So, before things get even worse in Old Blighty, budding and seasoned freelancers alike may want to start thinking of new ways to future-proof their careers and businesses. It may be time to consider upskilling to boost your earning power. But what if going back to university just is not feasible right now? Is there another option?

According to the ELVTR study, there is. It found 2,000 vacancies on LinkedIn and discovered the top five jobs that don’t require a college degree and pay up to $100,000. They also pinpointed what hiring firms were after in terms of skills.

Freelancers could easily match their experience to a new role without worrying that a lack of higher education will hold them back, said the study.

Take, for example, game designers. The reason they are in such demand is that they are fuelling the growth of the $90bn US games market.

The industry’s growing market value will undoubtedly prompt further investment in talent, according to the report.

“Game designers are the creative minds that create the rules, characters, settings, stories and props behind our favourite games, and write the code that transfers concepts to our screens. Their expertise doesn’t come cheap ⁠— and yet many game designers have never stepped foot in a college class,” said the report.

Top-paying jobs that don’t require a degree

  • Game designer: 78% of vacancies don’t require a degree – instead, employers desire an understanding of monetization, project experience, and a clear vision of what makes a game fun and engaging. The average salary is £66,000 ($80,000). 
  • QA engineer: 74% of vacancies don’t require a degree, but do require analytical skills, attention to detail, and an understanding of QA methodology. The average salary is £60,000 ($73,000).
  • UX/UI designer: for 54% of vacancies, a degree is unessential. Required skills are design project experience, knowledge of wireframe tools, team spirit, and good time-management skills. The average salary is £61,000 ($74,000).
  • Mobile developer: 51% of vacancies don’t require a degree, but experience is preferable. The average salary is £60,000 ($74,000).
  • DevOps: 45% of vacancies don’t require a degree, but employers would love to see some experience with traditional DevOps toolsets, as well as an analytical and problem-solving mindset. The average salary is £82,000 ($100,600).

Source: ELVTR (currency conversion providing estimated salaries)

Roman Peskin, co-founder and CEO of ELVTR, said the days when a university degree was the golden ticket to wealth and prosperity are ending.

“Nowadays, you might be better off selling your soul to the devil than taking on mountains of student debt,” said Peskin. “With technology and online learning on the rise, there are endless opportunities to pick up new skills and climb the career ladder without a degree.  Don’t get me wrong, education is still essential, but a college diploma is no longer the only key to the executive floor. In today’s world, what truly matters is your skills, work ethic, and ability to adapt to new challenges,” he said.

Are you a freelancer that has upskilled to boost your earning power? Please share your comments and insights.

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