There’s a misconception that independent workers can’t make enough money but the reality is, of those who quit a traditional job in order to freelance, 73% of full-time freelancers say they earn more now than they did at a traditional employer.

We compiled a list of the 20 highest-paying skills for U.S. freelancers out of more than 5,000 on our site. The data shows some independent professionals are earning more than $250 an hour for work in categories spanning nearly every industry, including legal, tech, finance, and marketing.

According to Upwork Chief Economist Adam Ozimek: “This data illustrates that work of a very high skilled nature is being done by professionals on Upwork. Highly-paid skills aren’t just anecdotes or limited to one field. They range from law to marketing to finance to high tech, and a significant percentage of U.S. freelancers earn quite high hourly wages on the platform.”

Check out the skills that companies are paying the big bucks for.

Top Upwork skills and their average hourly rates 

  1. Legal entity structuring – $255
  2. Blackline – $220
  3. Bitcoin – $215
  4. International Accounting Standards – $215
  5. Software licensing – $200
  6. Applied Behavioral Analysis – $195
  7. Behavioral design – $195
  8. Trade law – $185
  9. Image object recognition – $180
  10. Trademark consulting – $180
  11. Due diligence – $180
  12. Virtual machine – $175
  13. Property and equipment leases – $175
  14. SQR – $170
  15. S Corporation – $170
  16. Patents – $170
  17. IT strategy – $165
  18. C Corporation – $165
  19. Lucene search – $165
  20. Orcad – $165

Top tech skills and their average hourly rates

  1. Bitcoin – $215
  2. Image object recognition – $180
  3. Virtual machine – $175
  4. SQR – $170
  5. Lucene search – $165
  6. OrCAD – $165
  7. P-CAD – $165
  8. Clustering – $165
  9. DHTML – $150
  10. SAP CPI – $150
  11. Google Adsense API – $150
  12. Oracle Integration Cloud – $145
  13. Dell Boomi – $140
  14. Google Experiments – $140
  15. VWO – $140
  16. Virtualization – $135
  17. Backup administration – $135
  18. Open CV – $135
  19. Expression engine – $130
  20. Systems development – $125

Top marketing skills and their average hourly rate

  1. Behavioral design – $195
  2. Event photography – $150
  3. Lead magnet – $150
  4. Paid social – $145
  5. Hotjar – $130
  6. Scenario planning – $125
  7. Innovation strategy – $125
  8. Citrix / GoToMeeting – $125
  9. Pricing strategy consulting – $115
  10. Video processing – $110
  11. Executive coaching – $105
  12. DoubleClick Bid Manager – $105
  13. Pitch deck – $105
  14. Venture capital consulting – $100
  15. Social listening – $100
  16. Partnerships – $100
  17. Food photography – $95
  18. Facebook ads – $95
  19. DoubleClick for Publishers – $95
  20. Marketo – $90

This data was sourced from the Upwork database and is based on average hourly rates charged by U.S. freelancers from Jan 1, 2019 – June 30, 2019. Each skill had a minimum of 2 contracts and 40 hours billed (equivalent of 1 week of work and more than 1 project) for reliability.