Sunday, August 06, 2006

Boston Market -- August

The summer ushered in a minor slowdown on the employment front in the greater Boston area. The Monster Local Employment Index (pdf) for June dropped slightly. This decrease appears to reflect a seasonal slowdown that Monster.com has experienced each of the last three summers. However, online demand for computer and mathematical (IT) positions reached a new high "suggesting an upbeat third-quarter hiring outlook for local technology professionals," according to the company's press release.

This continuing demand for IT workers is also reflected in the
IT Employment Index (pdf) for July calculated by National Association of Computer Consultant Businesses (NACCB).

This month's market analysis explores the demand for professionals with the title of
webmaster. According to Wikipedia, "a webmaster (some women prefer webmistress) is a person responsible for designing, developing, marketing, or maintaining website(s). A broader definition of webmaster is a businessperson who uses online media to sell products and/or services. This broader definition of webmaster covers not just the technical aspects of overseeing website construction and maintenance but also management of content, advertising, marketing, and order fulfillment for the website."

So, a webmaster needs not only technical skills, but also, analytical and marketing skills. A search on keywords at job posting sites reveals that as the role of a web designer/developer expands from the expense side of the company's ledger (How much money will this website cost?") to the revenue side ("How much money will this website generate?") the number of job opportunities also expands.

Here is a listing of keywords commonly associated with "webmaster" along with the number of job listings posted for that keyword at two popular job search sites [ BostonWorks ] [ Monster ]:

The bottom line is that web designers and developers who position themselves as valued members of the revenue-generation (e-commerce) team will experience more and better job prospects in today's marketplace.

The first step in positioning your skills for e-commerce opportunities is to demonstrate the basic ability to measure website traffic, referred to as web analytics. For an overview of web analytics, access a 13-minute podcast entitled Startup Guide to Website Analytics.

The market leading software company in this space is WebTrends. A basic open-source version of this software is available for FREE from Google. Google Analytics is offered by invitation only; however, you can request an invitation. My experience is that you'll only have to wait a few days to receive instructions for getting started.

Adding "web analytics" to your tool kit is an easy first step in developing the analytical skills necessary to position yourself on the revenue side of any company's balance sheet. And once you can demonstrate that your expertise pays for itself, what company wouldn't hire you?


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