Tuesday, January 02, 2007

Boston Market -- 1st Quarter, 2007

The Wall Street Journal Online published an article last week entitled "Is 'Web 2.0' Another Bubble?" In the article two technology venture capitalists discuss the valuations of companies attempting to capitalize on the Web 2.0 trend. According to the article Web 2.0 can be defined as "online collaboration and sharing among users."

The article concludes as follows:
"I was recently asked by an entrepreneur what I thought would be the next great technology in the coming year. I told him I thought it would be the Internet. We have just started scratching the surface of the enabling power of the Internet. Whether it is called "Web 2.0" or "New Media" or "Enterprise 2.0," Internet services are going to drive the world's economies for the foreseeable future. To me that doesn't spell bubble, that spells opportunity."
Web 2.0 is alive and well. While web designers are needed to help present the look and feel of Web 2.0 sites, Web developers are needed to facilitate "online collaboration and sharing among users." The tools required to make this happen include programming skill and database knowledge.

Consider the following two searches at BostonWorks.com:
In the greater Boston area there are 20 Web developer jobs for every Web designer job!

The ratio of developer to designer jobs is 20:1.

Could this be a statistical aberration? To find out let's search for jobs on BostonWorks.com using common technology keywords. For example, two skills commonly associated with Web design are CSS and Photoshop. Here are the number of job listings that mention these terms in their job descriptions:
  • CSS [ 89 ]
  • Photoshop [ 78 ]
When placed in a broader context of demand for other Web-related technology skills, CSS and Photoshop barely make the top 10:
  1. SQL [ 664 ]
  2. Oracle [ 614 ]
  3. HTML [ 378 ]
  4. SQL Server [ 344 ]
  5. XML [ 333 ]
  6. JavaScript [ 184 ]
  7. ASP.NET [ 150 ]
  8. JSP [ 117 ]
  9. CSS [ 89 ]
  10. Photoshop [ 78 ]
On closer examination some of these programming and database jobs -- Oracle, for example -- are not strictly Web-related. However, SQL -- the language of creating database queries -- is a core Web developer skill. Knowledge of how to access a relational database (Oracle or SQL Server, for example) and present that information in an (X)HTML format is a critical skill in enabling the "online collaboration and sharing among users."

Database knowledge is a core Web 2.0 skill.

The second 10 of less-in-demand, Web-related skills are as follows:
  1. Flash [ 67 ]
  2. Ajax [ 57 ]
  3. DHTML [ 45 ]
  4. Visual Studio [ 41 ]
  5. MySQL [ 40 ]
  6. PHP [ 39 ]
  7. Dreamweaver [ 38 ]
  8. ColdFusion [ 25 ]
  9. VBScript [ 25 ]
  10. XHTML [ 23 ]
The relentless pace of technology change will continue for the foreseeable future. Web technology professionals must be diligent to maintain and upgrade skills according to market demand. Here is my challenge to the Web technology community for the next three months:
  1. Identify one skill from the Top 10 list above to improve on
  2. Develop a teach-yourself training plan to learn that skill
  3. Implement the training plan
  4. Demonstrate your new skill in a Web project
I will report my progress in early April, 2007.