The Highest Paying and Most In-Demand Jobs for New Grads and Freelancers Now


Two interesting polls fell on my desk this week, and the combination will probably be of interest to many of my readers. One such survey, conducted at Glassdoor, describes the best paying entry level jobs for new graduates in 2019. The other report, from Upwork, the online talent marketplace, provides results from an Upwork survey outlining the specific skills most in-demand by U.S. Upwork freelancers and freelancers who perform remote much of their work in the United States

Why revisit these surveys, and why combine them? Here is my reflection. If you are a new or recent graduate, you may be wondering if a freelance career is an interesting alternative for your immediate future, or you are trying to decide if a full-time job is at least your immediate course of action, the combination of these data are for you. Either way, it helps to stay in touch with market trends.

And, if you’re still in college and wondering what areas to specialize in, this data is a useful but additional source of information.

By the way, whether your interest in freelancing is immediate or prospective, you might want to read this article on transitioning into a freelance career.

So first the Glassdoor Survey reported by Bloomberg reviews the highest paying entry-level jobs for new grads this year:

what they found

  • The highest-paying entry-level job is data scientist, which has a median base salary of $95,000. As more and more companies in various industries continue to invest in technology and collect massive amounts of data at scale, data scientists play an increasingly vital role in organizing and data analysis to produce valuable insights that can inform key business decisions.
  • Software engineer and product manager, also technical roles, are the second and third highest paying entry-level jobs, paying $90,000 and $89,000 respectively.
  • In fact, other than banking analyst and physical therapist, the highest paying entry-level jobs are tech roles, showing how much employers need talented tech talent and are willing to pay salaries. high for people ready to develop their careers in these fields. We see different types of engineers earning high entry-level salaries, likely due to the specialized education and extensive training required to succeed in these roles.

25 Highest Paying Entry Level Jobs in the United States for 2019

Rank Job title Median base salary
1 Data Scientist $95,000
2 Software engineer $90,000
3 Product manager $89,000
4 investment banking analyst $85,000
5 product designer $85,000
6 UX designer $73,000
7 Implementation consultant $72,000
8 java developer $72,000
9 Systems Engineer $70,000
ten software developer $68,600
11 process engineer $68,258
12 Front-end developer $67,500
13 Product Engineer $66,750
14 Actuarial Analyst $66,250
15 Electrical Engineer $66,000
16 Mechanical engineer $65,000
17 design engineer $65,000
18 Application Developer $65,000
19 Test engineer $65,000
20 Analyst Programmer $65,000
21 Quality Engineer $64,750
22 physiotherapist $63,918
23 Site engineer $63,750
24 Project engineer $63,000
25 business analyst $63,000

Source: Glassdoor Economic Research (

The second survey, by Upwork, is a quarterly review of their Skills Index that ranks the 20 fastest growing skills in the US freelance labor market, based on their platform. It hasn’t been released yet, but Upwork was kind enough to share with #freelancerevolution.

what they found

  • Upwork points to three key factors behind their survey results: time of year (e.g. tax expertise), tight labor markets, and rapid introduction of new technologies or new applications of critical technologies. like data science:
  • The general conclusions were characterized as follows: “Labour markets are tightening overall and, for many skills, employers are finding it increasingly difficult to find available workers in their region. As a result, the The range of skills employers are finding through digital platforms is growing, including hard skills like Hadoop and Kubernetes as well as soft skills like tax and urban planning.
  • Importantly, the survey highlights that the 20 fastest growing freelance skills in Q1 2019 grew more than 170% year-over-year, while demand for the 10 core competencies increased by more than 370% year over year. More evidence that the freelancing revolution is big and growing and continues to evolve.

Top 20 fastest growing skills, Q1 2019:

  1. S.Taxation
  2. HadoopName
  3. Automation of robotic processes
  4. Explainer videos
  5. computer aided manufacturing
  6. Financial planning
  7. Urban Design
  8. Software Documentation
  9. Salesforce Business Cloud
  10. Geospatial
  11. Development of Julia
  12. Kubernetes
  13. Magento
  14. employee training
  15. Shopify Templates
  16. PCA
  17. js framework
  18. Leadership Development
  19. Architectural rendering
  20. Podcast

Here is a selection of comments from the report on why these 20 skills led the way.

  • US tax reform boosts growth in financial literacy. US tax season and the 2018 tax reform bill made US tax (#1) the fastest growing jurisdiction in the quarter. Tax season has also boosted demand for CPAs (#16) and financial planning specialists (#6).
  • Automating. Robotic Process Automation (RPA) (#3) a spot on the index for the first time. Startups like Automation Anywhere provide solutions for large enterprises to help automate tasks and processes traditionally done manually. Forrester estimates the market will reach $2.9 billion in 2021 (up from $250 million in 2016).
  • City infrastructure. As the adoption of remote work increases and more people live and work where they want, urban infrastructure is also changing. Urban design specialists (#7) help keep up with this evolution by planning and designing public spaces, transportation systems and amenities for residents, tenants and visitors. Geospatial technologies (#10), which map and analyze the Earth’s surface, and architectural renderings (#19) have also seen significant growth as the public and private sectors seek ways to optimize current space and future.
  • E-commerce tools. Global e-commerce sales will reach $4.8 trillion by 2021, and 2.1 billion shoppers will purchase goods and services online. Experts were in high demand last quarter to help companies deliver personalized customer experiences across mobile, digital and social platforms, and companies are looking to create new online storefronts to increase their online revenue. Shopify Templates (#15), used to help storefronts provide a unified experience, also appeared on the list this quarter for the first time.
  • Employee learning and development. Companies are investing more dollars in worker development, and so employee training (#14) has seen high demand. Development extends beyond hard skills and into soft skills such as leadership development (#18), which was also on this quarter’s list. Companies turn to independent specialists to create a comprehensive strategy to ensure their workforce is prepared for tomorrow.
  • Connection with customers. Marketers are going back to basics and investing in freelance specialists who can create explainer videos (#4) that help customers better understand complex products or services. Podcasting (#20) has also become a popular way to meet customers where they are; they’re easy to consume and help businesses connect directly with listeners, regardless of location.

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