Upwork Skills Index

Hottest freelance skills: Newcomers Go & React Native land in Top 5, blockchain & React are nowhere to be seen

Gabriela Motroc

© Shutterstock / koya979

What a difference a few months make! In November 2017, blockchain was the second hottest freelance skill and now it’s not even on the list anymore and the same goes for React. Let’s see what technologies have fallen from grace with freelancers and which ones are their new favorites.

Upwork, the largest global freelancing website, recently released its newest quarterly index of the hottest skills in the U.S. freelance job market.

First things first: take everything with a grain of salt. There is a massive difference between Upwork’s Q3 and Q4 Skills Index results.

For example, blockchain is no longer on the list, Bitcoin is now the fastest-growing skill for freelancers and React is nowhere to be found. Newcomers React Native and Go have landed in the top 5 — the only constant presence seems to be AngularJS development, which now occupies the 14th position, which means its decrease hasn’t been that dramatic [from 12th position in Q3].

Not only does research show that the independent workforce is growing but we’re also seeing an increase in large-scale use of freelance talent by Fortune 500 companies. As new skills emerge and old ones evolve, businesses are becoming reliant on freelance specialists who proactively upgrade their skills and can provide the expertise they need, when they need it.

Stephane Kasriel, CEO of Upwork and co-chair of the World Economic Forum’s Council on the Future of Gender, Education and Work

Top 10 fastest-growing skills, Q4 2017

  1. Bitcoin
  2. Amazon DynamoDB
  3. React native
  4. Robotics
  5. Go development
  6. Forex trading
  7. 3D rigging
  8. Augmented reality
  9. Computer vision
  10. Penetration testing

Check out the complete top 20 fastest-growing skills list for Q4 here

Top 10 fastest-growing skills, Q3 2017

  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

Check out the complete top 20 fastest-growing skills list for Q3 here.

Betting on Go

Simplicity speaks volumes in today’s crowded programming languages “market” so it makes sense that a language like Go plays in the big leagues — this language is unstoppable. Even HashiCorp is betting on it.

In this interview, you’ll discover HashiCorp’s journey with Go from its infancy to maturity. Nick Jackson reveals the decision-making process which ultimately landed on Go, the benefits the company has got out of the standard library, the limitations they have hit along the way, and the reason Go has become the most used tool in their toolbox.

React native: A new competitor to native development?

React Native is the third hottest skill developers should possess, according to the Q4 results. Even if it’s only two years old, it seems to have already proved its usefulness. However, is it as convenient as some say?

Lolita Rogers offered a list of advantages.

  • Cross-platform development

Many mobile IT companies consider the ability to develop cross-platform apps as the main advantage of React Native. Actually, it was never so easy to build mobile applications for both main platforms (iOS and Android share about 96% of the market). With React Native, it’s possible to reuse up to 70% of the code and then just apply some platform adjustments (mostly concerning UI).

  • Rapid development iterations

Fast debugging is another thing that we like about React Native. When coding, you don’t have to spend a lot of time on the compilation or uploading the app to a physical device or an emulator each time. Instead, all your updates can be monitored right away. It significantly boosts productivity and reduces development time.

  • Simplified layout

Native iOS or Android developers often face problems when working on UI. However, React Native has another development environment where the whole process is much simpler! Actually, they decided to make mobile UI development similar to web development. Therefore, when building an app with React Native framework, developers operate with blocks that can be easily managed.

So, for example, you can just forget about sophisticated rule system that’s typical for iOS. It makes the whole process fast and not too complicated, especially for ones who have some web experience.

Tip: For this purpose, RN developers apply Flexbox algorithms.

  • It is constantly improving

The React Native framework was created only in 2015, so it’s relatively young. Therefore, it’s constantly improved and updated with new features. Moreover, as its library only grows with each coming year, it becomes more and more beneficial and easy to use React Native in your mobile development.

  • Component composition

One more advantage of Facebook’s framework is a convenient system of component reuse. React Native allows you to store the most used elements of your app so they can be placed on different screens without any changes.

Moreover, such an approach is more convenient than code copying. Why? Because if you’ll ever make some changes to the component, these changes will automatically apply to all its copies.

  • After all, you get almost a native app

Many cross-platform frameworks (like PhoneGap or Cordova) render code via a mobile engine called WebView. Yet, if you have ever used/developed such apps, you should know that their performance is usually very poor.

React Native, on the other hand, renders code to native APIs without the help of any mobile engines. Moreover, this framework offers a set of native modules that are written in Objective-C and Java out-of-the-box. They help to improve performance in computationally heavy operations (for example, video playback). Finally, you get a mobile app that’s written in JS but looks and feels like a native one.

If you want to read about React Native’s weak points, check out Lolita’s article.

Gabriela Motroc
Gabriela Motroc was editor of and JAX Magazine. Before working at Software & Support Media Group, she studied International Communication Management at the Hague University of Applied Sciences.

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