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November 29, 2021

How tech skills help you build a stronger portfolio

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The last two years ushered in a massive change in the way we think about work. We no longer view our jobs as a means to an end. We want careers that offer freedom and flexibility. We want passion and profit to seamlessly intertwine. The good news? That’s totally possible.

But what does that look like in today’s career landscape? And how does that align with your desire to future proof your career with tech savvy and digital expertise?

Welcome to the age of the portfolio professional

If you haven’t heard the term “portfolio career”, chances are you will in the very near future. It’s a booming space in the world of work, one that is growing increasingly more popular every day. So what does it mean to have a portfolio career? Put simply, a portfolio professional is someone who earns money in a variety of different ways, whether that be through freelancing, running a side hustle, working as a part-time consultant or even juggling a number of roles simultaneously.

The fact of the matter is that the ‘career for life’ concept has fallen out of fashion - and organisations are becoming wise to this. During the pandemic, businesses were forced to become more agile and remote. That opened new opportunities for independent talent to step in and provide vital services. Now, newly formed businesses offer remote as standard. To keep costs low, they turn to portfolio professionals. That’s good news for tech experts like you.

According to Upwork’s Freelance Forward report, 75% of people who started freelancing during the pandemic make the same or more money now than they did in traditional work - 58% plan on remaining independent. This is the new normal.

So how can you find your footing in the world of portfolio careers and what leverage does having tech expertise give you? Here are 4 ways having tech skills will benefit your portfolio career and launch you ahead of the competition.

1. Being tech proficient will keep costs down

As a portfolio professional, you’re in charge of what you spend and who you outsource your work to. Let’s say you want to build a website to showcase your services. That is likely to cost a bit of money. So is the upkeep of that website. If you learn to build and maintain a website yourself, you’re putting the money you would have otherwise spent on hiring someone else back in your pocket.

Let’s break it down. A website developer can cost anywhere from $30-200 per hour. A good one will be towards the top end of that range. Then you’ll have to think about the images and website copy. Will you have to pay someone else to provide those for you? Things quickly start to add up.

Our advice? Think of a coding or web development course as an investment. Once you have those skills you can apply them a thousand different ways, whether that’s building your own website or getting paid to build websites for other people. The more skills you have, the more you can monetise them. Who knows, website building may even become a fundamental part of your regular income!

2. Technology opens doors for better collaboration

If you want to grow your portfolio career, you need to know how to collaborate, both with clients and with other professionals in your field. Understanding technology will not only make collaboration easier, but it will make your skills even more valuable, ultimately resulting in higher rates.

Then there is the opportunity to collaborate with people around the world. We’re no longer limited by geography. Technology has given freelancers and portfolio professionals in all countries the ability to connect with a global marketplace. You could be based in Spain but work with a designer in the Philippines.

The same can be said for work opportunities. Tech skills are not bound by any particular language, meaning you can work for anyone, anywhere. The portfolio lifestyle opens you up to new opportunities, and your tech skills push you over that line.

3. Tech skills have never been more in-demand

The good thing about a portfolio career is that there’s no limit to what you can do. That being said you don’t have to specialise solely in tech. You can be a lawyer AND a UX designer; a personal trainer AND an app developer - it’s totally up to you.

Earlier this year, tech employment was predicted to grow by 37,000 positions in 2021 alone. The pandemic forced employers to realise that tech was needed for long-term growth and success. New technologies and needs are emerging every day, and if you’re ahead of the game, you can make a pretty penny on the side or even shift into one of these fields as your full-time focus.

If you do decide to develop a highly-sought after tech specialisation like data science or software engineering, you can work with a growing number of tech companies that are hiring freelancers to fill gaps in specialised fields. The opportunities are truly endless.

4. Tech savvy makes you more versatile

No matter what you do, technology is bound to be a fundamental part of your industry. Every career is becoming technology-focused and software-reliant. So if you know how to use the latest tools and understand the right data, you’ll be miles ahead of the competition when you want to pivot your focus or try something new.

The most important thing is staying relevant, because tech changes - fast. That’s why upskilling and learning is so important in any portfolio career. It’s not simply a case of learning something once and you’re done. Rather, it’s about flexing your new tech muscles and being aware of any changes that are happening.

Think a portfolio career is right for you?

The good news is that you can transition as quickly or as slowly as you like. If you want to dive straight in and start freelancing, that’s fine. If you want to keep your full-time job and pick up some tech work on the side, that’s fine too!

In the end, it’s about building a career you love and that makes the most of your skills, talents and interests. Want to learn more about the routes available and build a more focused portfolio career path? Come along to The Portfolio Collective’s free weekly Career Focus Workshop. If you have any questions, feel free to join their community and connect with other portfolio professionals. You might be surprised by what you discover!

This article was written by The Portfolio Collective, the fastest growing global community for portfolio professionals. We’re on a mission to transform millions of portfolio professionals into accomplished entrepreneurs through an immersive blend of learning, collaboration, support and paid work opportunities.

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