With major layoffs sweeping through the tech industry this year, having a full-time job in the field might not feel as secure as it once did. It seems like everywhere you look — whether it’s small fintech startups to big-time players like Google, Yahoo, Meta and Microsoft — someone is getting pink-slipped.
Thankfully, getting laid off when you work in technology doesn’t mean the end of the road, since so many tech skills remain in high demand. Being let go from full-time work can help you get started with a lucrative freelancing career that offers more control and less office politics.
Post-pandemic work-from-home policies make it easier for companies to collaborate with freelancers and independent worker growth has skyrocketed in recent years. According to MBO Partners, the number of independent workers in the U.S. rose 69% between 2020 and 2022.
If you’d like to set your own path by being a sole proprietor or the owner of your own business, here are five in-demand tech skills that pay $100 or more per hour if you have the right background and experience.
Companies hire tech writers to create and develop manuals for upcoming product launches, along with supporting documents, how-to guides and journal articles. This job generally requires a bachelor’s degree in journalism or English, and certification through an accredited organization can make a freelancer more attractive. Some tech writers on Upwork charge as much as $125.
Businesses need database administrators to help set up and maintain technology necessities like new servers and databases. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics anticipates the outlook for database administrator positions is good: the need for this position should grow by 9% between 2021 and 2031. Some independent database administrators charge rates of $100 per hour or more.
Software helps a business run at a functional level and software consultants can help companies make educated choices about what to purchase and what might need to be customized. Software consultants, also known as IT consultants, help organizations design, optimize and establish software in a timely and cost-effective manner. Experienced consultants are known to charge $125 and up.
It’s hard to remember a time before the internet. Nowadays, it’s off-putting if a company doesn’t have a website. Web developers build websites from the ground up, writing code and developing web content to create something suited to employers’ needs. Some designers specialize in front-end development, such as how users interact with the site, while other developers might focus on back-end development, like security or data storage. Full-stack developers work on both the front and back end and can earn as much as $250 per hour.
Mobile App Developer
Software engineers that specialize in creating apps are also in high demand. Mobile app developers might build a smartphone or tablet app from scratch, or they might enhance or maintain it so it works flawlessly. While starting rates may vary, seasoned mobile app developers can charge upwards of $120.
One of the biggest perks of freelancing is the freedom and autonomy it offers. Being an independent worker means choosing who you want to work with — and when you want to work. If you’re currently working in any of the fields listed above, you don’t have to wait until organizational changes happen to start freelancing. If you begin dipping your toes in the market with a smaller project here and there, it might make a transition later in life even easier.