December 2019
Text by Joana Gomez

Image: © Sergey Skripnikov/

Joana Gomez is a freelance writer with a passion for writing about the modern workforce. Her main goal is to cover how freelance and remote work are transforming different industries. She hopes this will encourage more people to work freelance.



Freelancers are transforming the tech industry

Freelancing has now become the new norm in many countries and is continuing to upend every sector, including its own architect – the tech industry.

Technology has truly changed everything, including the way we work. This can be strongly felt in Europe, where Inc Magazine points out that 35.5% of the world’s freelancers are located. Freelancing has now become the new norm in many countries and is continuing to upend every sector, including its own architect – the tech industry.

It is a trend that is expected to continue with the increasing digitalization of European industries. Companies need emerging technologies to survive. Experts in fields such as cybersecurity, IT, and data science have become highly sought-after for the unique value they bring to businesses. Likewise, the resources that help create these experts have begun to grow over the last five years and have become far more accessible. You only have to browse through Udemy's selection of data science courses that cover a vast array of subjects like machine learning, Python, and business analysis to get an idea of what is on offer for students nowadays. And data scientists who have a well-rounded skillset are now in-demand across the world – they are a key component for companies to ensure they stay ahead of the competition.

With Artificial Intelligence and machine learning technologies improving by the day, it's not surprising that more industries are making room for data scientists. This growth is especially evident in Germany and France, as the EU forecasts that there will be 769,000 unfilled positions in data science by 2020. The European Commission report also projects that data workers in Europe will reach 10.43 million next year.

With the cost-efficiency, increase in productivity and flexibility freelancers afford, tech companies are now choosing to hire more flexible workers. This new norm is also creating ripples throughout the sector. And here is how freelancers are transforming the tech industry:

It’s highly competitive

Freelancing has been the catalyst for the globalization of work in today’s market. It has allowed tech centers like Dublin and Silicon Valley to expand their operations. With the advent of platforms like Fiverr and Elance, companies now have easy access to the world’s top tech talents.

It’s pulling in the younger workers

The next generation of the tech workforce is coming in through freelance work. A survey by Upwork found that nearly three in four Generation Z freelancers are working flexibly by choice rather than necessity. With the entry of this tech-savvy generation, tech industry jobs have become highly competitive and sought after. As these new workers enter the industry, they will become the future leaders that will shape tech trends.

The rise of the digital nomads

The increasing popularity of freelancing also opened up a new world for tech industry workers. These "digital nomads" prefer the flexibility of choosing to work where they want rather than following a structured office life. Avoiding commutes, freelancers save hours of missed productivity. This lifestyle also gave birth to the sprawling co-working spaces found across cities. Market research firm GfK found that 47.4% of 30-39-year-olds feel like they’re under constant pressure due to work. The freelance lifestyle has done a lot to reduce the pressures of working in an office. This change in work habits has helped the tech industry become one of the fastest growing industries.

Flexible workforce

Freelance platforms are bridging the world’s tech talents to a whole host of leading companies. This also means that tech companies now have the ability to hire highly specialized workers from around the globe for their projects. This provides them the flexibility necessary in this ever-changing market environment to be competitive. In fact, Uplink reports that four in five IT companies in Germany work with freelancers on a regular basis. This is why one in seven software engineers in the country are freelancers, earning more than their counterparts at an average of €84 an hour. This is just another example of how competitive the tech industry has become.

Increasing diversity in tech

The rise in freelance work also helps bridge the diversity gaps within the industry. Studies have found that diverse teams outperform their peers in creativity, productivity, and professionalism. Despite this, the tech industry remains the least diverse in all fields. However, the increasing access of women and other minorities due to freelancing is slowly but surely changing this. It is providing tech companies with a wider range of expertise that they can tap into. With technology disrupting every industry in every field, freelancing will also continue to grow. And as the freelance industry evolves, so will its impact on the tech industry.