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Firms Seek Freelance Help for Cutting-Edge Tech, Site Says

Freelancing site Upwork's latest report on the most sought-after skills is topped by cutting-edge technologies such as robotics, blockchain and Bitcoin.

Amid an industry-wide shortage of trained developers, enterprises are apparently turning more to freelancers to keep pace with rivals in a fast-changing, competitive landscape where arcane and esoteric skills are at a premium.

"Robotics made the list for the first time, securing its spot as the No. 1 fastest-growing skill of the quarter," said Upwork in its Q3 2017 report. "The uptick in demand comes at a time when major companies such as Amazon ($AMZN) and Toyota Research Institute ($TM) are pursuing initiatives around robotics, and IDC predicts that worldwide spending on robotics and related services will more than double by 2020, growing from $91.5 billion in 2016 to more than $188 billion. Humanoid robots can already walk and open doors, for example; but in the future, they will be able to make a cup of coffee or even fly a plane.

Blockchain and Bitcoin skills -- obviously closely related -- also made the list for the first time. Further down the list are other newish skills, such as augmented reality, natural language processing and machine learning.

However, some skills that are seemingly on the decline in the face of more modern alternatives also made the list, such as Objective-C and jQuery.

Here are the top 20 fastest-growing skills for the quarter, as listed by Upwork:

    1. Robotics
    2. Blockchain
    3. Bitcoin
    4. Penetration testing
    5. React.js
    6. Amazon Web Services Lambda
    7. Augmented reality
    8. Deep learning
    9. Instagram marketing
    10. Final Cut Pro X
    11. Swift development
    12. AngularJS development
    13. Salesforce
    14. Vulnerability assessment
    15. Natural language processing
    16. HubSpot marketing
    17. Machine learning
    18. Objective-C development
    19. Learning Management System (LMS)
    20. jQuery development

About the Author

David Ramel is the editor of Visual Studio Magazine.

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