Updated Feb 7, 2018 - Economy

Bitcoin fever has hit the jobs market

Riding the mania over Bitcoin, crypto-currency specialists — from developers to technical writers — have emerged as the hottest new field in the United States, according to Upwork, the freelance job listing site.

Data: Upwork Skills Index; Table: Andrew Witherspoon / Axios
Data: Upwork Skills Index; Table: Andrew Witherspoon / Axios

Quick take: Every quarter, Upwork measures newly demanded skills, and that makes its index exceedingly volatile. As you see in this chart, there is no overlap between the top five paid skills last quarter and those about two years ago. But one thread running through the quarterly index is the fevers in our midst — Bitcoin, mobile apps, artificial intelligence and visualization.

In addition to crypto-currency skills, the market last quarter saw a surge of demand for those with skills in:

  • Amazon DynamoDB, a database program that functions with Amazon's cloud service.
  • React Native, which can make mobile apps that work on both iPhones and Androids.
  • Robotics generally.
  • Google's Go, a programming language popular with developers.

How it works: The Upwork Skills Index calculates the year-over-year growth of freelancer billings in skills categories. The objective, says Upwork CEO Stephane Kasriel, is to be the "canary in the coal mine" for emerging new skills linked to the technological disruption.

  • According to a survey last year by Edelman Intelligence, 57 million Americans, or 36% of the workforce, did at least some freelance work last year.

What they're not saying: how much the current plunge in Bitcoin prices is affecting the jobs demand. Bitcoin fell below $6,000 yesterday, down 62% from a peak of $19,666 in December.

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