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The emergence of new artificial intelligence (AI) technologies like ChatGPT is fueling a boom in AI expert jobs on freelance platforms. Demand for AI skills has skyrocketed as more businesses explore integrating conversational AI and other generative AI into their products and services.
Job sites are reporting explosive growth in AI job postings and searches. According to Indeed, generative AI related job posts have jumped nearly 250% from July 2021 to July 2023. On Upwork, AI consulting is one of the fastest growing skills among freelancers.
The demand makes sense. ChatGPT and tools like it have shown the possibilities of AI to automate tasks, generate content, and augment human capabilities. But most companies lack the in-house expertise to implement these cutting-edge technologies.
That’s creating major opportunities for freelance AI talent. Businesses of all sizes are looking for help understanding, customizing, and productizing AI systems like ChatGPT. It’s sparked a gold rush for AI experts on platforms like Fiverr, Upwork, LinkedIn, and beyond.
“Many companies are exploring ways to integrate AI into their business platforms and working with skilled freelance developers,” said a spokesperson for Fiverr, where AI freelancing gigs have taken off.
According to LinkedIn data, member searches for generative AI terms have grown 21-fold since ChatGPT debuted in November 2022. Job seekers with experience in areas like natural language processing, machine learning, and programming languages like Python are in high demand.
Vlad Hu has seen the AI jobs boom firsthand. Hu transitioned from a career in software engineering to freelance AI consulting. He now helps companies implement chatbots and understand how to apply AI tools like ChatGPT.
“Three years ago, becoming an AI expert required deep knowledge in machine learning and algorithms,” said Hu. “Now it’s more about understanding ChatGPT and how businesses can use it.”
AI Expertise in Short Supply
The surge in AI freelancing opportunities comes amid a sizable shortage of professionals with AI skills. Although AI adoption is accelerating across industries, few employees have proficiency in technologies like natural language processing and machine learning.
In the US job market, LinkedIn data shows only 2.2% of members in the tech, media and information sectors are versed in AI. Other industries are rapidly implementing AI but have even fewer knowledgeable staff.
That talent gap is fueling demand for AI freelancing services. Employers are seeking experts who can quickly implement and optimize AI systems without the need to train full-time employees.
For freelancers, it creates lucrative prospects to capitalize on red-hot demand for AI skills. Options range from consulting roles focused on strategic AI adoption to hands-on implementation gigs.
According to Margaret Lilani of Upwork, there are over 250 niche AI skills to choose from. But most projects require competency in areas like computer science, machine learning, and Python programming.
How to Start an AI Freelancing Career
For those looking to build an AI freelancing career, experts recommend starting with core technical competencies. Developing proficiency in Python and foundational data science skills can equip you to deliver client projects.
“Ultimately landing work comes down to showcasing skills and expertise for a particular project,” said Lilani.
Many successful AI freelancers have academic backgrounds in computer science, engineering or related disciplines. But hands-on experience and demonstrable AI expertise can be just as important.
Vlad Hu suggests learning to use tools like OpenAI’s ChatGPT API and Dall-E image generator. But equally critical is understanding real-world applications and use cases. Freelancers need to bridge between AI technology and solving concrete business problems.
Taking online classes focused on AI, machine learning and Python can help build technical skills quickly. Options like Udacity and LinkedIn Learning offer courses for any schedule or budget.
For beginners, Lilani advises starting with computer science fundamentals. High school students can get an early edge by taking coding classes to grasp AI building blocks.
No matter your background, continuous learning will be key. As companies integrate more AI capabilities, demand for freelancers will continue expanding across functions and industries.
The Future of AI Freelancing
Current data indicates the red-hot growth in AI freelancing jobs is only accelerating.
According to Upwork’s recent survey, 44% of executives intend to expand AI usage over the next year. 47% believe AI will increase productivity.
As more companies pursue AI adoption, freelance opportunities are expected to multiply. Employers will need experts who can efficiently implement AI systems and ensure they generate business value.
For freelancers, it represents an unprecedented chance to capitalize on skyrocketing demand for AI skills. With the right expertise, AI freelance careers offer flexibility, growth potential, and compensation up to $200 per hour or more.
“AI is already driving changes in the workforce,” said LinkedIn’s Chief Economist Karin Kimbrough. “Professionals globally are rapidly adopting AI skills, happening alongside employers increasingly seeking AI talent.”
By building in-demand AI capabilities now, freelancers can position themselves for success as AI reshapes industries and the workforce. They can play a pivotal role guiding businesses through the AI era while benefiting from limitless opportunities.