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.

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