All Things Upwork
October 12, 2009 by Erica Benton

Due to the popularity of our Stay Employed – Jobs with the Least Competition and Greatest Opportunity post (and the ongoing requests we’ve received for updated information), we thought we would follow up with recent information from the oDesk Trends vaults to help you develop your resume and determine what skills to focus on to stay employed or forge a new career path. We will take an updated look at various skills and technologies and the competition – or lack thereof – for positions needing those skills.


In viewing these numbers, keep in mind this is for oDesk, which is primarily concerned with placements for freelance and contract positions. This may vary with respect to full time placement numbers, though the data can be a useful indicator of overall trends.

In looking at the table below, there are three columns: one with the skill or technology, the second with the total jobs posted and the last with the Fill Ratio, which shows the competition for these postings – a low percentage in this column indicates great job opportunities, whereas a higher percentage score indicates that jobs requiring those skills get filled at or above our usual rate.  Anything not on this list is getting filled at a higher rate, which indicates high competition for the skill or technology.

Skill Average # Jobs Per Month Fill Ratio
C++ 168 17.31%
Java 263 20.00%
Facebook 116 22.41%
XML 172 24.20
C#/.NET 169 25.15%
.NET 141 25.27%
Drupal 205 25.85%
AJAX 424 25.94%
iPhone 216 26.91%
PHP/IIS/MS SQL 366 27.22%
Linux 120 27.62%
SQL 200 28.00%
Blogger 162 28.40%
MySQL 1,013 28.54%
Writing 166 28.61%
Javascript 594 28.64%
JQuery 117 28.76%
ASP 125 28.80%
ASP.NET 114 28.95%
Flash 686 29.66%
Data Entry 355 29.86%
SEM 169 30.27%
SEO 752 30.52%

First up, C++ programmers are recently experiencing the lowest fill rate – which means competition for jobs with this skill is fairly low. Additional good news: after an early summer slump, the field is growing again, as the number of positions requiring C++ programming skills are steadily climbing.

Java developers are growing in demand with 263 jobs posted per month and a 20% fill rate – moving Java skills up our list from #4 last quarter to #2 this time aroung. iPhone developers, the previous leaders in our opportunity rankings, have fallen halfway down the list. Not because the demand for skilled iPhone development has decreased (it has actually risen by almost 40% over the last 6 months), but because the number of skilled developers filling those jobs has pushed the fill ratio beyond the realm to be considered an area for current opportunity. As demand seems to be on a rising arc for iPhone development, you may see it reappear here in future months.

Continuing the ever-present PostgreSQL vs. MySQL debate, MySQL programmers have another quarter of strong showing on our chart, with by far the highest average number of jobs posted per month and a respectable fill rate at 28.54%. With the second highest number of available jobs, SEO consultants made a big leap in available opportunity by more than tripling the number of available jobs while maintaining a roughly 30% fill rate.

Bloggers make their first appearance on the opportunity scale, joining freelance writers in enjoying an average of over 160 job opportunities per month with a combined average fill rate of 28%.

This information derived from the thousands of jobs posted on oDesk every day. More information can be found on the skills and languages above, as well as many other desirable skills, on the oDesk Trends page.

Erica Benton

Social Media Guru

Erica Benton joined oDesk in 2009, bringing with her nearly a decade of small business and freelance experience, and a love of all things social. Her passion for startups, technology and marketing was born during her tenure with Kulesa Faul Public Relations, while she learned the art of entrepreneurship firsthand through Equine Alternatives, a business she founded while earning her Bachelor of Science degree from… read more