Thanks to the rise of the gig economy and the high demand for tech skills, there are increasingly more opportunities for IT professionals to engage in short-term projects. Gigs offer a good way to supplement your income while acquiring skills and experience that can help you advance your career. The following four IT gig positions are in especially high demand:
Business analyst: As a business analyst, you apply your critical thinking and analytical abilities to work with data sets in order to generate actionable insights. To do this, you will need proficiency using software tools for data collection, statistics, analytics, reporting and visualization. Examples include Excel, PowerPoint, Access and Visio from the Microsoft Office Suite. The average hourly salary for a business analyst is $38.16.
Data warehouse developer: A data warehouse developer designs and develops data warehouses that enable data analytics and reporting based on an organization’s unique business requirements. You will need knowledge of ETL processes and SSIS, as well as testing and debugging. In addition, you should have experience with AWS, Microsoft Azure and big data technologies like SQL, Pig and Hive. On average, data warehouse developers earn $42.50 per hour, but highly skilled professionals can earn well over $80 per hour.
Software developer: Software developers create, test and update systems and programs for a wide range of industries and purposes, from logistics and healthcare to workflow automation and UX improvement. By 2024, the demand for software developers will increase by 17 percent, and the median hourly wage is currently $49.17. You will need good problem-solving and analytical skills, as well as proficiency in one or more programming languages including C, C++, and Java. It is an advantage if you have working knowledge of SQL, Python, Ruby on Rails and/or PHP.
In addition to technical qualifications, gig work requires several soft skills. You should be able to communicate effectively, manage your time well and coordinate your own work. You should also be able to work both independently and in a team, and you will need to objectively assess your own work to ensure it meets clients’ technical and quality requirements.
If you are ready to start looking for a gig, TopCoder is a good place to start, since it only features developer projects. Other platforms that are more general but also list IT gigs include Upwork, Freelancer and Fiverr. You can start out with smaller projects, and as you complete more gigs and get good reviews, you can start applying for bigger ones with better remuneration. Of course, when you make it to the top-ranked freelancers on the site, clients are likely to come to you instead of you having to bid on projects.
Remember: Contractors who are in high demand enjoy more independence when it comes to work-life balance, choice of projects and skills development. So if you enjoy gig work and are good at what you do, what starts as a way of supplementing your income and honing your skills might even become your preferred way of working.