A new study shows that, perhaps unexpectedly, the online demand for networking and security experts saw remarkable growth in Q2 2013—hiring increased over 300% within the pool of freelancers using Elance, which created the report.
Additionally, in the U.S., freelance networking and security professionals earned a 20% raise in their hourly rates on average. Does this signal a renaissance for the sector?
"This explosion in networking and security is due to the uptick in businesses looking for specialized skills, and this demand for specialized talent is leading to pay increases," said Rich Pearson, chief marketing officer at Elance. "Employers are turning to online work to fill talent gaps when they can't find the best of the best locally."
The report, which showed positive changes for freelance network and security workers, held good news for other independent web-based workers as well.
Earnings are up 69% for U.S. freelancers. Furthermore, the upward shift is concentrated on contract professionals who specialize in science, technology, engineering and mathematics. If you're in the IT sector, this means you. Let's take a deeper look at what this study reveals:
Data Science Thriving: Big Data is driving an upward spike in demand for data scientists who can extract insights from large quantities of information to improve business performance. Demand for data scientists and statisticians is up 200%, according to the report.
The New Era: 3-D Printing and CAD: The rise of 3-D printing is pushing demand for computer-aided design (CAD) experts in the U.S. The survey showed that overall demand for U.S. based CAD talent grew nearly 70%, while average pay grew 17%.
The App Economy is Still Strong: The demand for mobile app developers increased a healthy 49%, with continued growth in demand for iOS, Android and HTML5 skills. Overall, demand for U.S.-based software application developers was up 62%, with an average rate increase of 9%.
The bottom line is that online professionals are enjoying more opportunities and significant pay increases across all these categories. And if you're in the STEM sector, you're at an advantage.
It may not be the time for all IT employees to explore their independence as freelancers, but if you're already out there winning clients, or you're thinking about making the move, reports like this suggest that the time might be right.