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New Year, New Freelance Career? New data shows increase in searches for freelance IT professionals

For IT professionals looking to make the leap into self-employment, the moment might just have arrived. Insurance broker PolicyBee has uncovered that online searches for freelancers in the IT sector have increased over the last year, particularly for individuals working in software testing, game development and mobile or app development.

Searches for a number of freelance IT services have been growing steadily over the last few years. Although search demand for web developers and web design declined slightly in 2020, traffic for other services increased on 2019’s figures. In particular, searches for freelancers with software testing skills made a year-on-year increase of almost 15%, while mobile and app developers were up 10%. Searches for data analysis services went up 6% last year (40% over the past three years) and freelance game developer searches were up almost 7%. So, while the pandemic has been an understandable challenge for most businesses, the freelance area of the IT job market seems to have benefitted. Perhaps it is no surprise that these services are increasing in popularity as the commercial world becomes more digitally-focused in response to a global pandemic that is forcing people to stay home.

Indeed, it is no secret that covid-19 has driven businesses into allowing typically office or warehouse-based staff more flexible, remote working practices that would historically have been reserved for freelancers. This shift has enabled otherwise traditional companies to trial a less restrictive working approach that may well have proven surprisingly successful. Equally, the economic uncertainty that the pandemic has brought with it will no doubt have steered some employers towards freelancers as a way of avoiding the bigger commitment of full-time employees.

Kerri-Ann Hockley, head of customer service at PolicyBee, commented: “With so much uncertainty across the job market at the moment, it is encouraging to see that there are increasing opportunities to be found for IT professionals willing to take the plunge into freelancing. For those who do decide to go self-employed, it is important to ensure you do some basic preparation, making sure you have a plan to handle important areas such as the accounts and technology required. It’s also important to protect yourself with adequate insurance. For example, professional indemnity insurance protects freelancers against allegations from clients that they have not carried out their job properly. In addition, office and property insurance covers the workplace and equipment you need to do your job, even if your office is your garden shed. Once you have everything in place, the only thing you need to worry about is what jobs you want to go for. Hopefully, with the freelance market growing, the world will be your oyster!”

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