Thursday, November 19, 2009

Elance Work Index | November 2009

This is the second of a two-part series exploring Web-related opportunities for freelancers. The first article is entitled Global Freelancers Survey 2009.

Freelancing, Part 2

A monthly index monitors trends in Web-related freelance opportunities. The index is available at Elance, whose tag line is "Hire, manage and pay experts to do your work."

Elance allows businesses to locate freelancers in eight categories of expertise, including the following:

  • Web & Programming
  • Design & Multimedia

Freelance vs. Employment

A comparison between the monthly Elance Work Index for freelancers and the monthly Beantown Web Boston Market for job seekers reveals some rather dramatic differences.

For example, WordPress, a popular content management (CMS) tool developed using PHP and MySQL, is a Top 10 technology in the freelance market. However, WordPress does not even rank in the Top 50 in the employment market with a scant three jobs mentioning this technology in job descriptions in the Boston metro area.

Joomla! and Drupal, CMSs also built on top of PHP and MySQL, offer even more dismal results in the Boston job market with a total of one job posted between the two technologies. Joomla! ranks #23 and Drupal comes in at #53 in the freelance market.

Elance Work Index

The Elance Work Index ranks 100 skills in freelance labor market. According to the Elance blog . . .

"PHP is the number 1 most in-demand skill for online work for all of 2009."

Playing for Both Teams

So, what if you want to play for both teams? Perhaps you already have a job, but want to supplement your income with freelance work. Perhaps you are temporarily unemployed and want to pick up project work until you land your next full-time job.

The best strategy for Web professionals who want to maximize their potential for finding both employment and freelance work might be to develop technology skills that are in high demand, both in the job market and in the freelance market.

Cross Training

There are eight Web technology skills that land in the Top 20 in both the Elance Work Index and the The Top 20 Web Technologies in Boston which is listed in the right-hand column. They are the following:

  • JavaScript
  • HTML + CSS
  • MySQL
  • Flash
  • Photoshop
  • PHP
  • SEO

Developing expertise in these eight technologies will most likely maximize your potential for playing for both teams -- The Freelancers and The Employees.

Access the first part of this two-part series at Global Freelancers Survey 2009.

[ NOTE: Beantown Web is now on Facebook. Become a fan today and receive periodic bonus material! ]

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Global Freelancers Survey | 2009

This is the first of a two-part series exploring Web-related opportunities for freelancers. The second article is entitled Elance Work Index | 2009.

Freelancing, Part 1

A survey of freelancers was conducted in September and October of 2009. The survey was coordinated by LimeExchange, an online services marketplace for freelancers and small and large businesses.

The technical skill sets among the survey respondents included the following (among other skills):

  • Web Development 31%
  • Graphic Arts & Design 29%
  • Audio/Video & Multimedia 22%

Global Freelancers Survey

What is the primary reason that respondents give for freelancing?

  • use freelancing to supplement income from a full-time job 36%
  • freelancing is primary job or business 29%
  • recent loss of a job 18%

The majority of survey participants prefer freelancing (with the same net level of income) over full-time employment:

  • freelancing 59%
  • full-time employment 29%

So, it seems as if many professionals have a full-time job and use freelancing to supplement their income. More might become "full-time" freelancers if they could generate the same level of net income as they could from a full-time job.

Additional Findings

How do freelancers find projects?

  • freelance marketplaces 27%
  • search engines 24%
  • friends & referrals 20%

What is a freelancer's largest source of income?

  • SMBs (small/midsized businesses) 48%
  • entrepreneurial ventures 17%
  • large corporations 14%

A summary of the Global Freelancers Survey can be found at the LimeExchange website. You can also search on current projects to see if you might want to use LimeExchange to bid on freelance opportunities.

The conclusion of this two-part series explores the technical skills that are in demand in both the full-time employment and the freelance marketplaces. Access the second part of this two-part series at Elance Work Index | 2009.

[ NOTE: Beantown Web is now on Facebook. Become a fan today and receive periodic bonus material! ]

Sunday, November 08, 2009

Boston Market | November 2009

Which of these two images do you think best represents the current job market?

Debbie Downer

If you are in the Debbie Downer camp, there are no shortage of downbeat headlines to focus on. Here are two examples:

Up With People

If you are in the Up With People camp, there are an increasing number of people surveys that reveal an upbeat trend in the technology marketplace. Here are two examples:

This is my upbeat headline for November . . .

"Eight Technologies Lead Job Market Recovery"

The list of Top 20 Web Technologies in Boston has been updated and the complete list can be found in the right-hand column along with links to job postings that mention each technology.

Over the five-month period from early June to early November there has been an increase in job postings in all 20 of the Top 20 skills. (Only one of the Top 50 skills failed to post an increase!) The Top 20 technology skills that experienced at least a 50% increase in demand over this five-month period are as follows:

So, Web developers who can demonstrate expertise in Microsoft-centric technologies including ASP.NET, C# and SQL Server are in demand, even as unemployment rates continue to rise.

Fundamental Web design skills including HTML + CSS and Web programming skills including JavaScript and Ajax provide a foundation for creating user interfaces (UI) and improving user experiences (UX). The demand for Search Engine Optimization (SEO) expertise demonstrates that organizations are continuously competing to position their content ahead of their competition's offerings.

These eight technologies are leading the job market recovery in the Boston metro area. Even as unemployment rises, companies continue to look for experts who can deliver technology-based solutions to increase revenue, decrease costs and improve productivity.

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