Upwork » oConomy https://www.upwork.com/blog Upwork (formerly oDesk) Wed, 27 May 2015 14:05:49 +0000 en-US hourly 1 2015 Work Predictions: Virtual Is the New Reality https://www.upwork.com/blog/2015/01/2015-online-work-predictions/ https://www.upwork.com/blog/2015/01/2015-online-work-predictions/#comments Wed, 30 Nov -0001 00:00:00 +0000 https://www.odesk.com/blog/?p=34095 The freelance economy boomed in 2014. What's in store for 2015? We looked at Elance-oDesk's vibrant, global community for seven predictions that show how businesses will hire or work differently this year.

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What business trends are set to drive online work in 2015? Elance-oDesk’s vibrant, global community is at the forefront of making virtual work the new reality — and that community is thriving.

The freelance economy boomed in 2014, with businesses spending nearly $1 billion hiring through our online workplace. That space is also growing: a seminal study we conducted with the Freelancers Union found that 53 million Americans had freelanced in the past year.

Online work global earnings

Elance-oDesk’s 2014 Global Online Work Report shows the upward trajectory of online work. How will that change how you hire or work differently over the next year? Here are seven predictions that show how working online is opening new possibilities.

1. Swift will overtake Objective-C as the primary app development language.

Many say that the jury is still out as to whether Swift, Apple’s new programming language, will win the hearts of developers and outshine more traditional choices. Infoworld says Swift isn’t so swift after all, SLATE calls the new language a “grab bag,” and InformationWeek isn’t convinced that Objective-C’s days are numbered.

Our data shows otherwise. Swift is one of the fastest-growing skills in history on our platforms—with consistent growth of more than 100 percent each month and 160 percent growth in December 2014 alone. We predict that the use of Swift will surpass that of Objective-C in 2015—just one year after it was launched.

2. Everyone will live large with their own virtual assistant.

There are currently 1.5 million virtual assistants registered across Elance.com and oDesk.com (Elance-oDesk) — a number equal to the population of Phoenix, AZ. Virtual assistants earned $50 million in 2014, and as one of the fastest-growing positions hired on Elance-oDesk, that number is expected to increase by 50 percent in 2015.

3. Virtual agencies will surpass the number of traditional agencies.

The soaring cost of maintaining a physical office is causing agencies to move online. Improvements in project management, communication tools, and a flexible work environment will enable virtual agencies to flourish.

Virtual agencies span a range of disciplines, but design led the way (with 15,000 agencies on Elance-oDesk’s sites and more than $75 million in earnings), followed by software development (11,000 agencies, $159 million in earnings), marketing (3,000 agencies, $13.1 million in earnings), and translation (2,500 agencies, $11.2 million in earnings).

4. Freelance management will become a core skill.

As the talent gap for technical skills increases, standout professionals will be those who are adept at managing freelancers and distributed team members. Developers on Elance-oDesk earned more than $486 million last year (the largest category of online work). These engineers are some of the best in the world, and companies that learn to tap into this resource will increase the speed and quality with which their new products are launched.

5. Neighborhood accounting will go by way of the bookstore.

Accountants can now look beyond their backyard for clients without going anywhere and, on the flip side, businesses have a much easier time finding these same accountants by hiring online. Accounting on Elance-oDesk is growing at 40 percent, a number we expect to increase as cloud-based accounting platforms like Xero take off.

6. Chinese-to-English translation will outpace English-to-Chinese for the first time in history.

As their domestic economy stagnates, Chinese businesses are looking to U.S. and Western European markets for growth. Translators who serve this market are in high demand, growing more than 50 percent in the second half of 2014 alone, and making it to the top 10 list of language translation requests.

7. World-class customer service will be the norm, not just for the Fortune 1000.

With increased adoption of cloud-based customer service tools and a larger-than-ever pool of premium freelance customer service professionals, 24/7 customer support will be achievable for all businesses, not just the Fortune 1000.

In 2014, customer service agent was the fastest-growing position on Elance-oDesk (92 percent growth), and Zendesk was one of the fastest-growing skills hired for (with 145 percent year-over-year in 2014).

 

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The Rise of Specialists Online: Growing Opportunity for a Long Tail of Skills https://www.upwork.com/blog/2013/08/1billion-odeskskillslongtail/ https://www.upwork.com/blog/2013/08/1billion-odeskskillslongtail/#comments Wed, 30 Nov -0001 00:00:00 +0000 https://www.odesk.com/blog/?p=29022 The Internet is the main driving force of long-tail markets, as suppliers of these more unique items are now able to tap into buyers via online marketplaces (such as eBay and Amazon). But what if the long tail phenomenon spread to a more advanced market, one that would bring a broader economic impact? In other words, what if it spread to the world of work? As oDesk approached $1 billion cumulative spent hiring via our site, I wondered if the long tail was taking hold in our online workplace. With the Internet opening up access to businesses and professionals worldwide, I hypothesized that plotting oDesk skills data would show a long tail.

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What is a long-tail market?

Long-tail markets fascinate me. The long tail, a term popularized by Chris Anderson in this Wired article, refers to a market in which there’s the opportunity to sell a large number of things with relatively small quantities of each, typically by widening the pool of potential buyers beyond local demand. The Internet is the main driving force of long-tail markets, as suppliers of these more unique items are now able to tap into buyers via online marketplaces (aided by the fact that they no longer have to maintain the costs of physical spaces for their goods or services).

In his article, Anderson used the now classic example of how Amazon opened up the long-tail book market, discussing how the Internet supports a market for previously limited-run titles by suddenly finding them an audience.

Today, we’ve seen the Amazon example played out in thousands of new long-tail markets — the Internet has thrown open the doors to distributed global demand so that suppliers of goods and services can find demand beyond traditional local markets. There’s Netflix for movies, Zappos for shoes, Etsy for crafts (where I bought a custom bandana from Hungary last month), and the list goes on. However, most of the common examples of long-tail markets refer to consumer goods. We need to evolve our thinking as adoption of Internet marketplaces matures.

Is a similar long-tail market emerging in the labor market?

What if the long tail phenomenon spread to a more advanced market, one that would bring a broader economic impact? In other words, what if it spread to the world of work? As oDesk approached $1 billion cumulative spent hiring via our site (a landmark we announced today), I wondered if the long tail was taking hold in our Internet-based marketplace for work (also known as an “online workplace”). With the Internet opening up access to businesses and professionals worldwide, I hypothesized that plotting oDesk skills data would show a long tail.

You can guess what we found. Before going into the methodology, I’ll jump right to the result, which was the following “oDesk Skills Long Tail Chart ”:

LongtailSkillsChart

How did we create this chart and what does it mean?

The oDesk Skills Long Tail Chart is based on data from oDesk’s own database — specifically the skills that were listed in jobs posted on the site during the month of May 2013. This chart is therefore a snapshot of a month on oDesk.

The axes for our long tail chart are:

• X axis = “rank” (in this case, rank based on how many times each particular skill was mentioned in job posts)
• Y axis = “count” (in this case, total number of jobs posted with this skill listed in them)

As an example of rank and count on oDesk, suppose we had just three skills. This is a mock example of how it could work, with count determining rank:

• Writing: Count = 100, Rank #1
• Programming: Count = 50, Rank #2
• Design: Count = 25, Rank #3

The resulting curve shows how concentrated (or not) our market is. The area under the curve approximates the volume of work (in our case, this is approximate because many job posts list multiple skills). For oDesk’s market, the fact that there is substantial area beneath the fairly low-ranked skills is indicative of a long-tail phenomena — our market fulfills substantial demand for these specialized skills.

How do we really know a long-tail work market is emerging on oDesk?

This chart only reflects one month’s data so it’s fair to question, but the pattern held true for every slice and dice of our market data we looked at over the past year. And looking at the chart itself, you can see the classic pattern of more “mass market” offerings to the top left (like website development, SEO, and creative writing). As you continue down the tail, you see increasingly specialized skills (like civil engineering, econometrics, and legal services).

Rounding out our investigation, we looked at two other things:

  1. Skills concentration over time: In 2007, just 4 “mass-market” skills represented 90% of work done on oDesk. Last year, 35 skills accounted for the same percentage of work on oDesk and 41 other specialized skills were emerging rapidly.

  2. The value of specialized skills: When we looked at the list of top-paying skills on oDesk, we saw that demand for specialized skills has an added bonus — they dominated the list of highest-paid professionals. Examples of these top skills include legal services, a myriad of specialized programming languages and approaches (like Cocoa and rspec), cloud server setup skills, and even startup consulting.

What does this mean for the job market?

Now that online workplaces exist, there’s more opportunity than ever for businesses to find specialists, and vice versa. The long-tail work market on oDesk benefits both sides:

  • Businesses can find the specific skills they need in order to be more productive. This is especially the case for startups. Traditionally, companies have only been able to justify hiring someone if the team continuously needs at least 40 hours a week of work. Among early-stage businesses, these full-time roles can be difficult to justify, yet the need for a skill may be acute. Now, they can find workers with the skills they need, and fill roles flexibly by hiring online (using the cloud for work just as they already do for server space).

  • Meanwhile, specialized workers can pursue their expertise with increasing confidence that they’ll be able to tap into ample global demand, banishing local market limitations. Take oDesk freelancer Stan Smith, for example, who specializes in developing algorithms for clients. Stan has been working on his specialty for more than three decades, but said it was difficult for him to find the sort of unique opportunities that were a fit for his expertise. Now, by working online and tapping into global demand for his skills, he’s turning away projects. In fact, Bloomberg recently discussed the increase in demand for data scientists; writing, “One measure of demand: Hours billed for work in statistical analysis grew by 522 percent in the first quarter [of 2013] compared with the same period in 2011, according to data compiled for Bloomberg by oDesk.”

This all ties back to 18th century economic theory from Adam Smith, who said that the degree of specialization you can have depends on the extent of the market. Long before the time of Internet marketplaces and Amazon, he used the analogy of a pin factory. If you can only sell 100 pins a day, he said, it doesn’t make much sense to hire a lot of narrowly focused people. If, however, you can sell to the whole world, it makes complete sense to hire more specialists who provide a specific skill that will increase the business’ overall productivity.

As the online work market grows, the opportunities for businesses and specialized workers will continue to grow with it. Not since the Industrial Revolution have we seen such rapid disruption in the labour market. We expect the long tail phenomenon on oDesk to only grow as an increasing share of the world’s professionals turn online to find markets for any skill they choose to pursue.

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Fastest-Growing Skills in the oConomy: Bright Spots that Represent Job Opportunities https://www.upwork.com/blog/2013/04/fastest-growing-skills-in-the-oconomy-bright-spots-that-represent-job-opportunities/ https://www.upwork.com/blog/2013/04/fastest-growing-skills-in-the-oconomy-bright-spots-that-represent-job-opportunities/#comments Wed, 30 Nov -0001 00:00:00 +0000 https://www.odesk.com/blog/?p=28164 Those following the U.S. jobs reports closely are experiencing whiplash after the March numbers were released last Friday. Following February's positive report, March results showed the lowest rate of labor force participation (63.3%) since 1979 — turning optimism into depression. According to the March report, almost half a million people simply dropped out of the workforce. What’s happening? We decided to look at our job listings and identify skills that could represent opportunity for frustrated job seekers.

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Those following the U.S. jobs reports closely are experiencing whiplash after the March numbers were released last Friday.

Following February’s positive report (which we discussed on CNBC), March results showed the lowest rate of labor force participation (63.3%) since 1979 — turning optimism into depression.

According to the March report, almost half a million people simply dropped out of the workforce. What’s happening? This NPR blog points to “frustrated job seekers” who are giving up.

Two days prior to the March report, Bloomberg cited some companies’ efforts to help people find work by using advanced data analysis.

We had more than 1.5 million projects posted last year on oDesk, spanning a huge breadth of skills. In fact, in 2007 just four categories represented 90% of total dollars billed on oDesk. Last year that number was up to 35 categories, and another 41 smaller categories were growing quickly.

We decided to look at our job listings and identify skills that could represent opportunity for frustrated job seekers. I worked with Greg Little on oDesk’s Research team to pull the data shared below.

We analyzed the fastest-growing skills on oDesk from February 2012 – February 2013, using two factors:

  1. Fastest-growing skills by overall percent growth in job openings during that period
  2. Consistency of growth, by number of months in which each skill grew (with a maximum of 12, of course)

Based on these factors, interesting themes in top growth skills emerged.

Bright spots in the oConomy

(Based on skills showing the highest percent growth and most consistent monthly growth, between Feb. 2012 – Feb. 2013. We used a minimum of 100 job openings for each skill in our first and last months, measured in order to provide a floor preventing rapid growth indicators simply due to a low starting point)

1) All things social: Pinterest was the top growth skill, at 415%, and Facebook marketing saw almost 150% growth.

2) Academic writing: This category grew at 312% and was consistent in its growth, at nine total months.

3) Design in all dimensions: 2D and 3D—in both animation and modeling—dominating our top growth list, ranging from 190% growth up to 233%.

4) Data analysis and infographics: “Big Data” is not just a buzz term—there’s a clear need, with “analysis” growing almost 140% and infographics growing 133%.

5) Virtual Assistants: Even the Wall Street Journal highlighted this bright spot recently. In 2008, VAs earned a total of just under $250,000 on oDesk; in 2012 they earned more than $6 million. This represents more than a twentyfold increase in spending on VAs over 5 years. Over our period measured for this list, growth was 144%.

6) Language translation: This weekend an Associated Press article, “Online Translation on the Rise, Changing Lives,” said that Google is doing a billion translations on any given day. It went on, however, to cite the importance of human translators: “For high quality translations, literature, marketing materials or complex syntax, a human translator is still essential.” We’ve certainly seen this growth in demand for translators on oDesk, with Asian languages especially notable—Japanese translation grew 164% and Korean translation grew 152%.

7) And of course tech: Despite its large base already, tech continues to grow rapidly as specialized skills emerge. For example, Ruby saw 222% growth.

Some of these surprised me (academic writing is a newcomer to our list), others didn’t at all (tech has always been a top category on oDesk). What are your thoughts on the skills we see emerging? Do you have any questions regarding where growth is happening?

 

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The Blackouts in India, Seen in oDesk Data https://www.upwork.com/blog/2012/08/the-blackouts-in-india-and-odesk-impact/ https://www.upwork.com/blog/2012/08/the-blackouts-in-india-and-odesk-impact/#comments Wed, 30 Nov -0001 00:00:00 +0000 https://www.odesk.com/blog/?p=25847 A nationwide blackout in India recently left some 600 million people without electricity. Given that a large number of oDesk contractors are from India—it is the second-most active country by hours worked—oDesk Staff Economist John Horton set out to see if the effects of the blackout could be seen in our data. Here is his analysis.

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Editor’s Note: Many thanks to John Horton, oDesk’s Staff Economist and member of oDesk Research, for the analysis and commentary in this post. To see the original version, click here.

A nationwide blackout in India recently left some 600 million people without electricity. Given that a large number of oDesk contractors are from India—it is the second-most active country by hours worked—oDesk Staff Economist John Horton set out to see if the effects of the blackout could be seen in our data.

Here’s what John did:

  • He checked the number of hours worked and number of job applications submitted by contractors in India for each day during the past month.
  • He divided these two daily counts (hours worked and jobs submitted) by the respective totals of each for all work being done on oDesk worldwide.

The results give us a sense of what was supposed to happen on a given day, so we can compare what was supposed to happen to what actually happened during the blackout.

Some of John’s resulting observations:

  • There is a notable drop-off in the hours worked. John’s eyeball calculation indicated that contractors in India should have been responsible for about 22% of the hours worked on the day of the blackout, while the actual number is closer to 17.5%. This is less of a fall-off than might be expected given the “Half of India Without Power” headlines. This may be explained by access to private generators, or perhaps oDesk is overrepresented in parts of the country that were less affected by the blackout.
  • There is no corresponding obvious drop-off in the fraction of job applications. Perhaps unaffected contractors made up the difference and took advantage of the now-thinner market. If anyone has data on what parts of the country were affected by the blackout, we could test this notion.
  • Contractors in India take weekends off, both in terms of working and applying to jobs (or at least more so than their oDesk counterparts from other countries). However, this time series shows the fraction for a given day, so there’s no reason for a strong weekend/weekday pattern. See oDesk Country Explorer for more of this kind of data.
  • Indian contractors are generally overrepresented in the application pool, making up approximately 25% of applications but only about 20% of hours worked. However, this could easily reflect differences in the kinds of categories Indian contractors work in—there is a great deal of variation in the average number of applications per opening across the different job categories.

John’s Results Visualized:

The time series for job applications (top) and hours worked (bottom) are plotted below [see here for the code for the plots], with the second day of the blackout annotated in red.

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Contractors Average 190% Earnings Growth in 3 Years: What’s Driving This Potential? https://www.upwork.com/blog/2012/07/25749/ https://www.upwork.com/blog/2012/07/25749/#comments Wed, 30 Nov -0001 00:00:00 +0000 https://www.odesk.com/blog/?p=25749 Online work provides a huge opportunity for people to grow their careers. After 36 months on oDesk, contractors earn an average of 190% more than they earned during their first month on the platform. The growth curve is dramatic: oDesk contractors increase their earnings by an average of 60% during the first year alone. In addition to tenure on oDesk, we looked at two significant factors that accelerate earnings growth for contractors on the platform: education and prior (non-oDesk) work experience.

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Editor’s Note: As we looked at the data we’ve gleaned from our users on oDesk, we have noticed an exciting trend of wage growth across contractors working on our platform.

Online work provides a huge opportunity for people to grow their careers. After 36 months on oDesk, contractors earn an average of 190% more than they earned during their first month on the platform. The growth curve is dramatic: oDesk contractors increase their earnings by an average of 60% during the first year alone.

In addition to tenure on oDesk, we looked at two significant factors that accelerate earnings growth for contractors on the platform: education and prior (non-oDesk) work experience. In fact, each additional year of education translates to approximately 12% higher wages, while each additional year of work experience is worth approximately 2.6% more. Read on for the full story!

Many thanks to oDesk Staff Economist John Horton for all the analyses in this post.

We hear so many great success stories from our contractors. For example, Marcel Morgan from Jamaica left his corporate job in February and is on track to earn 20% more this year working full time on oDesk. And Josh Warren from Texas went from earning $15/hour when he first joined oDesk to $95/hour and running his own agency today. At oDesk, we are not just watching our own business grow—we are also witnessing contractors grow their earning potential and their careers.

We thought it would be interesting to analyze exactly how much earnings growth happens as contractors gain experience on oDesk and build their reputation. To do this, we calculated wage growth among a pool of 90,000 oDesk contractors (in order to calculate hourly wages, these contractors had all been paid for at least some hourly work on the platform). The graph below shows that after 36 months on oDesk, contractors earn approximately 190% more on average than during their first month on the platform. In fact, wages grow dramatically—almost 60%—in the first year alone.


How we calculated growth:
We took each contractor’s hourly wage in the first period and then divided their average wage in each subsequent period by their first period. So, for example, if a contractor averaged $3/hour in January, $6/hour in February and $8/hour in March, the three numbers would be 1, 2 and 2.66. For each month, we took the average for whatever number of the 90K original contractors were working in that period. As such, the average is exactly 1 for the 1st period. In subsequent periods, we could logically only have measures for workers who remained. It’s possible some who did not see their wages increase left. Also, it’s likely some contractors start their hourly wage lower when they are just getting started in order to get their first job, and then raise their rate once they have built their online reputation.

Factors Driving Earnings Potential

As contractors gain work experience and build their reputation on oDesk, they are building their careers.

Beyond oDesk experience itself, we examined what other factors drive our contractors’ earning potential, and found two: education and past work experience (prior to oDesk). Let’s examine both closer.

How does a contractor’s education relate to income potential on oDesk?
Each additional year of education correlates to approximately 12% higher wages. The graph below shows the relationship between education levels and earnings on oDesk using the number of years of education traditionally associated with each degree (i.e. high school = 12, bachelors = 16, masters = 18, doctorate =21).

When the diagram is horizontally “thick” it means that there are a lot of workers at that wage, and when it is “thin” it means that there are relatively few workers. With this, we can see that for high school education only, the diagram is quite thick at low wages.

We found this correlation particularly interesting because we know that on oDesk, many contractors are highly educated but live in countries where there is a lack of available work supply. With oDesk, these highly skilled contractors can make use of their education by accessing global clients who need their expertise. These skilled, educated contractors suddenly have the opportunity to do the work they want and start earning the higher wages their education entitles them to.

How does past work experience drive income potential on oDesk?
Another factor related to wage growth of oDesk contractors is prior, non-oDesk work experience. When our contractors take the time to fill out their profiles and list all the work experience they have had in the past, they see a positive impact on their hourly rates. In fact, each additional year of work experience listed is worth about 2.6% in higher rates. The chart below demonstrates that with each year of experience (non-oDesk), contractors see higher wages.

In Conclusion

Working online provides contractors with almost boundless opportunity to gain new work experience, build their reputation, and earn considerably more in turn. To fully realize their earnings potential, all contractors should showcase their experience as they build it, and make sure their profiles reflect their education, training and prior work experience.

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Visualizations of the oDesk “oConomy”: Exploring Our World of Work https://www.upwork.com/blog/2012/07/visualizations-of-odesk-oconomy/ https://www.upwork.com/blog/2012/07/visualizations-of-odesk-oconomy/#comments Wed, 30 Nov -0001 00:00:00 +0000 https://s-www.odesk.com/blog/?p=25278 Here at oDesk, one of our favorite pastimes is to run analyses using data from our database in order to provide a better understanding of oDesk’s online workplace and the way the world works. We wanted to try something more interactive this time, using one of the newer javascript-based visualization packages—and here's what we came up with.

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By Panos Ipeirotis and John Horton

A favorite pastime of the oDesk Research Team is to run analyses using data from oDesk’s database in order to provide a better understanding of oDesk’s online workplace and the way the world works. Some of these analyses were so interesting we started sharing them with the general public, and posted them online for the world to see.

Deep inside, however, we were not happy with our current approach. All our analyses and plots were static. We wanted to share something more interactive, using one of the newer javascript-based visualization packages. So, we posted a job on oDesk looking for d3.js developers and found Zack Meril, a tremendously talented Javascript developer. Zack took our ideas and built a great tool for everyone to use:

The oDesk Country Dashboard

The oDesk Country Dashboard

This dashboard allows you to interactively explore the world of work based upon oDesk’s data. We list below some of our favorite discoveries from playing with its visualizations. Do let us know if you find something interesting. Note that the tool supports “deep linking,” which means that the URL in your address bar fully encodes the view that you see.

Visualization #1: Global Activity

The first interactive visualization shows the level of contractor activity of different countries across different days of the week and times of day. The pattern seems pretty “expected”:

On a second thought, though, we started wondering. Why do we see such regularity? The x-axis is GMT time. Given that oDesk is a global marketplace, shouldn’t the contractor activity to be smoother? Furthermore, oDesk has a relatively smaller number of contractors from Western Europe, so it seems kind of strange that our contractor community generally follows the waking and sleeping patterns of UK. Investigating closer, if you hover around the visualization, you see a closer look at what contractors are doing throughout the world:

At 8am GMT on Wednesday morning: Russia, India, and China are awake and their activity is increasing.

As we move towards the peak of the global activity at 3pm, the activity of the Asian countries has already started declining. However, at the same time North and Latin America start waking up, compensating for the decrease in activity in Asia, and leading to the world peak.

After 4pm GMT, Asia starts going to sleep, and the activity decreases. The activity continues to decline as America signs off, hitting the low point of activity at 4am GMT (but notice how China, Philippines, and Australia start getting active, preventing the activity level from going to zero).

Visualization #2: Country-Specific Activity

A few weeks back, we also wrote about the rather unusual working pattern of Philippines: contractors from the Philippines tend to keep a schedule that mostly follows U.S. working hours, rather than a “normal” 9-5 day. Since then, we realized that the Philippines is not the only country following this pattern. For example, Bangladesh and Indonesia have similar activity patterns to Philippines. So, we thought, why not make it easy to explore and find working patterns. They reveal something about the culture, habits, and even type of work that gets done in these countries. A few findings of interest:

Visualization #3: Work Type By Country

Finally, we wondered “What are the factors that influence these working patterns?” Why do some culturally similar countries have very similar working patterns (e.g., Russia and Ukraine), while others have very different patterns (e.g., Pakistan, Bangladesh, and India)? So, with our third visualization we examine types of work completed on oDesk broken down by country. We used the bubble chart from d3.js to visualize the results. Here is, for example, the breakdown for U.S.:

U.S. contractors are mainly working in tasks related to writing. We do see many clients explicitly limit their search for writing contractors to U.S.-based only, both for English proficiency but also (and perhaps more importantly) for the cultural affinity of the writers to their audience. Take a look at Russia: Almost all the work done in Russia is Web programming and design, followed by mobile and desktop development.

 

At the opposite end is the Philippines, where few programming tasks are being completed, but significant amounts of data entry, graphic design, and virtual assistant work happen:

 

Another interesting example is Kenya. As you can see, most of the work done there (and there is a significant amount of work done in Kenya) is about blog and article writing:

Exploring Further: Activity Patterns and Types of Projects

One pattern that was not directly obvious was the correlation between activity patterns and type of work. Countries that are engaging mainly in computer programming tend to have a larger fraction of users that use oDesk. For example, see the similarity in the activity patterns of Bolivia, Poland, Russia, and Ukraine: and the corresponding project types that get completed in these countries:

Russia

Bolivia

Ukraine

Poland

We should note however that the opposite does not hold: There are other countries that have similar activity patterns and high degree of contractor stickiness (e.g., Argentina, Armenia, Bolivia, Belarus, China, Uruguay, and Venezuela) that have rather different project completion dates.

Source available on Github

As mentioned in our intro post, oDesk has been pretty open with our data from the beginning. To this end, you will notice that the Country Explorer is an open source project, so you are welcome to just fork us on Github and get the code for the visualizations.

New ideas and visualizations

We plan to transition many of the existing oConomy plots into new, interactive graphs. Of course, if you have specific ideas you’d like to see us work on, tell us in the comments! We would be happy to explore directions that you want us to follow.

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Welcome to the New Home of oDesk’s ‘oConomy’ https://www.upwork.com/blog/2012/07/welcome-new-home-odesks-oconomy/ https://www.upwork.com/blog/2012/07/welcome-new-home-odesks-oconomy/#comments Wed, 30 Nov -0001 00:00:00 +0000 https://s-www.odesk.com/blog/?p=25216 The oConomy is a stream of new, data-based insights into the way the world is working. The data driving the oConomy is data we collect as part of running the world’s largest online workplace. Each day, we record jobs posted on Desk, applicants sent, hours worked, tests taken, etc., for all participants in our market. This level of detail gives us an unprecedented, amazingly rich view into the workings of a real labor market.

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What is the oConomy?
A stream of new, data-based insights into the way the world is working.

What data source is the oConomy using?
The data driving the oConomy is data we collect as part of running the world’s largest online workplace. Each day, we record jobs posted on Desk, applicants sent, hours worked, tests taken, etc., for all participants in our market. This level of detail gives us an unprecedented, amazingly rich view into the workings of a real labor market. And while this view is of course interesting to oDesk and to our contractors and clients, we hope our audience is broader: never before has it been possible to know so much about how the world works.

Who’s behind the oConomy?
oDesk’s Research team, composed of data scientists and economists. They tend to be pretty modest, but I think I’m allowed to say I’m a bit in awe. A quick run down of their credentials includes PhDs from Stanford, MIT, Harvard and Columbia, professors from Stanford and NYU, and past talks at myriad universities (HBS, Wharton, University College London, University of Chicago). These are the people whose work will be featured in the oConomy.

What sort of questions does the oConomy investigate?
The oConomy will be an adventure. We can’t say exactly where our data will take us, since the way the world works is evolving rapidly. But at a high level, we will be shining light on questions such as:

  • Is online work expanding global employment opportunities?
  • How and where is the market for online work growing?
  • In what ways is online work changing the way people work?
  • What interesting geographic patterns are emerging?
  • Which skills are most in demand?

Why did we decide to share our “oConomy” insights?
oDesk has a philosophy of openness that, thanks to our co-founders, has been with us since our start. We set out to change the way people work for the better, and sharing our insights is part of our effort to do so. This philosophy has in turn attracted the great minds on oDesk’s Research Team, who enjoy being part of our mission.

Check out the first oConomy post here!

I couldn’t be more excited to see where the oConomy’s insights take us and, in the spirit of sharing, invite your comments—what do you think would be fascinating to investigate from oDesk’s data?

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Work 3.0: The Office Has Left the Building https://www.upwork.com/blog/2011/12/work-3-0-the-office-has-left-the-building/ https://www.upwork.com/blog/2011/12/work-3-0-the-office-has-left-the-building/#comments Wed, 30 Nov -0001 00:00:00 +0000 http://www.odesk.com/blog/?p=19622 Imagine a world where employers have access to the best global talent, with just a click. One where people can work whenever they want, wherever they want, however they want. In this world, businesses can hire talent on demand, without worrying about complicated compensation packages, long hiring cycles or expensive overhead. In this world, people […]

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Imagine a world where employers have access to the best global talent, with just a click. One where people can work whenever they want, wherever they want, however they want. In this world, businesses can hire talent on demand, without worrying about complicated compensation packages, long hiring cycles or expensive overhead. In this world, people can work with companies from across the globe, instead of just those within commuting distance.

This world is not imaginary — it’s Work 3.0, and it’s already here.

In his presentation last week at the GigaOm Net:Work 2011 conference, oDesk CEO Gary Swart explained what Work 3.0 looks like, and how it is changing the world of work. Though many companies are already taking advantage of the technologies that power it, Work 3.0 is just getting started. Given the tremendous possibilities of this way of working, Work 3.0 will likely become commonplace much sooner than you may think. Here’s why:

Every business runs on talent. “It’s the single biggest lever we all have in our companies, regardless of the size, yet we’re all struggling to find good talent,” Gary explained. Traditional hiring is expensive and time-consuming, especially when you consider how competitive it is to attract and secure the best talent, and that “typically the talent doesn’t live where the jobs are located.”

But the times, they are a-changing. In the past two decades, we have gone from Work 1.0 — rigid, structured, on-premise work for one employer — to Work 2.0, where work is performed on site, but improvements in technology infrastructure have brought more flexibility to the workplace.

And now, with further improvements in software and cloud-based applications, we are passing through the gates of Work 3.0 — a world where work is on demand, virtual and remote.

A number of companies and workers have already found tremendous success with this model — Gary presented two examples — but the possibilities are endless.

“I don’t even think we’re at the knee of the curve of what’s to come,” Gary said.

Watch the video:

Watch live streaming video from gigaomnetwork at livestream.com
Over the next few months, we will present some of our predictions for the future of work as well as our vision for the changing workplace, and outline how to take advantage of the tremendous opportunities of Work 3.0. Stay tuned!


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Where the Jobs Are: Hiring in the Bay Area https://www.upwork.com/blog/2011/10/where-the-jobs-are-hiring-in-the-bay-area/ https://www.upwork.com/blog/2011/10/where-the-jobs-are-hiring-in-the-bay-area/#comments Wed, 30 Nov -0001 00:00:00 +0000 http://www.odesk.com/blog/?p=18064 We recently provided data to the Wall Street Journal about the online hiring trends in the San Francisco Bay Area. While the article listed out the information on the growth of the Ukraine as a source of talent for Bay Area employers, there are a few additional compelling nuggets of data to be found.

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We recently provided data to the Wall Street Journal about the online hiring trends in the San Francisco Bay Area. While the article listed out the information on the growth of the Ukraine as a source of talent for Bay Area employers, there are a few additional compelling nuggets of data to be found:

– The United States has held the #2 spot for online workers since 2009.

– Small countries are growing and dominating as a group: work is spreading across more countries, as the number of countries included in the “Others” category grows.

– China joined the top ten countries in 2010, leapfrogged Canada for the #9 spot in 2011 (to date).

“We’re seeing rapid growth in online work over the past 7 years and now that growth is being distributed more evenly, in the sense that a wider range of countries are participating. Early on, India was incredibly dominant in the space, and–although still important and the largest country overall (in hiring statistics beyond the Bay Area)–we’ve seen tremendous growth in Eastern Europe, the Philippines, and even certain parts of Africa.” – John Horton, oDesk staff economist


Check out our infographic below to see the overall growth in online hiring from the Bay Area, and detail on how various countries are performing in the online work space.


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Survey: From Free Agent Nation to On-Demand Workforce https://www.upwork.com/blog/2011/06/survey-from-free-agent-nation-to-on-demand-workforce/ https://www.upwork.com/blog/2011/06/survey-from-free-agent-nation-to-on-demand-workforce/#comments Wed, 30 Nov -0001 00:00:00 +0000 http://www.odesk.com/blog/?p=16434 Work is thriving — and 9-to-5 employment has nothing to do with it. Survey results show a significant shift in how businesses and workers succeed today.

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We recently conducted an Online Work Survey, whose results draw on 16,065 responses from employers and contractors worldwide. What did businesses and workers think of their online work relationships? Read on.

oDesk survey infographic

Diving into the Results:

“Location, Location, Location” Has Little Meaning

According to the survey results, building a distributed core workforce has become a key element to the success of both businesses and workers. The workplace itself has become virtual, reflecting a shift toward a truly borderless economy. Work happens regardless of location, and the majority of both employers and workers cite “non-preference” on the location of the other party.

“We are seeing a new employment reality,” states Gary Swart, oDesk CEO. “Location is less crucial to thriving employers and workers than it used to be, and today’s workplace is even more interconnected and global than Daniel Pink anticipated. There has been a substantial shift in the entire employment model.”

Addressing the Talent Shortage

Connecting local talent and opportunity has persisted as a challenge for businesses and workers alike. As stated recently in Manpower Group’s 2011 Talent Shortage Survey, as many as 34 percent of employers are having difficulty filling vacancies locally, making finding online talent to fill that gap even more imperative. According to oDesk’s survey, 28 percent of employers indicated the primary reason for building a distributed team is to access talent that is hard to find locally. Additionally, 21 percent of employers said that the ability to hire an online workforce enabled them to scale up or down quickly, responding in a nimble fashion to the real-time needs of their businesses.

Distributed Teams Plug In

Distributed teams may be geographically remote, but workers and employers consider themselves connected and engaged. According to the survey, as a result of frequent communication and collaboration on critical tasks with employers, online workers feel engaged, empowered and connected. 55 percent of employers assign “core” or “critical” work to remote contractors, while 87 percent of contractors, in turn, feel that they are an integral part of their employers’ staff.

Employment Loyalty Is Sprawling

The survey also found that workers have shown increased interest in growing their own horizontal networks and building reciprocal networks that lead to job opportunities. So, while workers collaborate in their work for employers, they are also developing loyalties to other workers. Daniel Pink called this dynamic “the new loyalty:”

Horizontal loyalty (is the) successor to vertical loyalty, which flowed upward — from an individual to an institution or authority figure…. By contrast, the new loyalty flows laterally. It is a fierce, and usually reciprocal, allegiance to: teams, colleagues, and ex-colleagues, to clients and customers; to industries and professions; and to family and friends.

Workers are harnessing their horizontal networks to support one another and network professionally, with 35 percent of contractors primarily finding work from other contractors referrals, and 59 percent of contractors participating in online groups/forums around their work.

“Big” Isn’t the Only Business in Town

The distributed workforce model is changing the nature of the business world. Access to global talent allows businesses of all sizes to grow and prosper. Contractors, specifically, are evolving into entrepreneurs and establishing their own small businesses. In other words, individuals are increasingly thinking of themselves not strictly as employers or workers, but as both.

Workers in distributed teams are growing their own businesses, and 77 percent of contractors currently consider online work as their own businesses. In addition, the majority of workers is reporting a higher expected income in 2011 than in 2010. Specifically, 66 percent of online contractors are expecting higher income this year than last, and 57 percent of workers are reporting a higher hourly rate.

Conclusion

Businesses and contractors are thriving — and 9-to-5 employment has nothing to do with it. While national unemployment rates remain frustratingly high and traditional staffing firms are touting a global “employment crisis,” the survey results show encouraging trends towards an interconnected online workforce.

Businesses that are building distributed teams, and the workers that are engaging in online work relationships, are succeeding in ways that are drastically different from the generations of workers and entrepreneurs before them.

How does the online workforce affect your business? Does the survey reflect how you typically interact with coworkers/employers online? Let us know in the comments!

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Fastest Growing Tech Sector Jobs of 2011 https://www.upwork.com/blog/2011/05/fastest-growing-tech-sector-jobs-of-2011/ https://www.upwork.com/blog/2011/05/fastest-growing-tech-sector-jobs-of-2011/#comments Wed, 30 Nov -0001 00:00:00 +0000 http://www.odesk.com/blog/?p=15566 Will you get hired? It all depends on whether your skill set is in line with current tech sector needs. Gauge your hireability by taking a look at this list of some of the fastest growing areas in the IT world.

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According to a recent Monster.com report (and our own oConomy), available IT jobs are on the rise.  Here in the US, IT market growth is forecast at 8% this year and 10.3% next year. And this growth isn’t limited to the United States. Forrester Research is predicting a 7.1% increase in IT spending at companies worldwide. Will you get hired? It all depends on whether your skill set is in line with current tech sector needs. Gauge your hireability by taking a look at this list of some of the fastest growing areas in the IT world:

  1. Network Administration
    65% of CIOs say that networking professionals tops their “most wanted employees” list. Conversely, they also report that these job roles are the hardest to fill.  To excel in this field, you’ve got to be comfortable interacting with a wide range of technologies  from servers, routers, and wiring to the network management, security and various OS software packages that will be integrated into your LAN. Also, the ability to deal with server virtualization is extremely important. You must be able to understand the current infrastructure and then develop and work with a virtual version, while maintaining stability and efficiency.
  2. Database Management
    Current average yearly salaries for IT professionals involved in database management are high, ranging from $80,000 to $100, 000. Salaries for workers familiar with Informatica, ETL (Extract, Transform & Load) and data warehousing topped the list, according to an eWeek.com report. ETL, in particular, is a bit surprising in its resurgence. Finding its past in mainframe history, ETL is now benefiting from speedy network infrastructure, cheap, reliable SAN and FOSS (free and open source software) structures that are gaining new traction among IT professionals, says John Hoffler at Tech Alliant.
  3. Desktop Support
    A ComputerWorld survey found that technical support skills are extremely important for 42%  of potential employers. New OS version rollouts, plus federal health care legislation and its technological requirements are some of the reasons that companies are recognizing the need for more help desk job positions. When users are frustrated with technology, they either refuse to make use of it or don’t use the software correctly. Both options cost a company time and money (not to mention lots of headaches).
  4. Mobile App Development
    More and more small to medium sized companies are wanting a smart phone presence. The challenge? There’s not enough app developers with the skills needed to take those mobile longings and transform them into reality. Mark Feffer over at Dice.com points to software engineers that can function as “developers, security experts and business analysts” as one of the hot items in today’s tech job market.
  5. Security Professionals
    Now’s the time to brush up on your security credentials. In the ComputerWorld article referenced earlier, there was a quote from David Foote, CEO and chief research officer at Foote Partners LLC that basically stated that IT security experts haven’t suffered any industry instability or loss throughout these last few recession leaning years. Skills you should have include a general understanding of IT security, then a more in depth knowledge of enterprise firewalls, VPNs, IDS/IPS, as well as mobile security.
  6. Cloud Computing
    On oDesk, the number of cloud related tech job opening has doubled over the last year. It’s easy to see how big the world of the cloud is becoming. Microsoft, Amazon, Google – all are making major bets on the future of cloud computing, and both businesses and consumers are signing on. But as offerings continue to grow, there will be a need for appliances and management tools that allow users to easily and securely migrate and work in the cloud environment. Are you comfortable in this field? Now’s a good time to become so. Check out this great article on Mashable.com about the importance of becoming well versed in data mining, web analytics and business intelligence as a part of your “cloud experience” skillset.

If you’re in the tech field, opportunities abound for upward mobility, both in salary and position. But you’ve got to be willing to adapt and transform your skill set as needed. And remember, just because a skill was hot 5 years ago doesn’t mean it’s what you need on your resume today. As one of my computer science teachers used to say on a weekly basis, “Evolve or evaporate.” Good advice then, great advice now.

What tech skills are you wanting to learn this year? In the comments section, share your thoughts, as well as any valuable training resources you’ve discovered to help achieve that goal.


 

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International Payments Made Easy https://www.upwork.com/blog/2011/04/international-payments-made-easy/ https://www.upwork.com/blog/2011/04/international-payments-made-easy/#comments Wed, 30 Nov -0001 00:00:00 +0000 http://www.odesk.com/blog/?p=15182 More than 89% of work performed online is for employers outside a worker's home country. The borderless economy created in this environment presents new challenges to workers around the globe to access their online earnings.

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More than 89% of work performed online is for employers outside a worker’s home country. This creates a borderless economy and presents new challenges to workers around the globe — especially in accessing their online earnings. High-cost bank transfers, capped deposits and reliability issues around transferring funds have hindered companies from tapping into the global talent pool, and workers from collecting earnings from the tens of thousands of jobs available each month outside their local area.

oDesk believes in the opportunities available in a truly borderless economy, and the global workforce created when both work and money can flow smoothly across borders. We are continuing our mission to empower this global workforce with the introduction of International Payments. With these new withdrawal methods, contractors’ earnings are deposited directly into their bank accounts, in their local currency, at a fraction of the cost of a traditional wire transfer.

The term “International Payments” refers to the suite of withdrawal options that allow contractors to directly withdraw their online earnings to their bank account. This includes Local Funds Transfer and Wire Transfer (Local Currency). While the mechanism that powers these transfers differ slightly, the end result is the same: easy, low-cost access to earnings in local currency.

International Payments are currently available in 47 countries worldwide, with more in development. We are working hard to bring low-cost, direct withdrawal options to as many online workers worldwide as possible — and deliver with it the potential of a truly borderless economy.

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SMB Trend Report: Businesses Grow Using Contractors https://www.upwork.com/blog/2011/02/smb-trend-report-businesses-grow-using-contractors/ https://www.upwork.com/blog/2011/02/smb-trend-report-businesses-grow-using-contractors/#comments Wed, 30 Nov -0001 00:00:00 +0000 http://www.odesk.com/blog/?p=14529 We released today the SMB Trends Report: a survey of data from our more than 1 million contractors and employers. What did we discover?

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We released today the SMB Trend Report: a survey of data from our more than 1 million contractors and employers. What did we discover? Small- to medium-sized businesses (SMBs) are using remote contract workers in record numbers as part of core growth and staffing strategies, long-term contract hiring is on the rise, and contractors are building careers around their contract work relationships.


Growth of the SMB in a Borderless Economy
Today’s SMBs are no longer limited to just their local area to build their workforce. Once reserved for the Fortune 500, the global talent pool is easily accessible to companies of all sizes, thanks to recent advancements in technology. oDesk alone represents nearly 1 million remote contractors, based in 150 countries spread throughout the Americas, Africa, Asia, Australia and New Zealand. Today, any business can use online tools to identify and retain top talent, regardless of the workers’ location.

Growth of Long-Term Contracting and Contractor Teams
Since 2008, SMBs have increasingly turned to long-term contractors and contractor teams. According to the report:

  • The number of employers hiring contractors on an on-going basis has increased 800 percent
  • Contractor assignments lasting longer than six months have risen by 540 percent
  • The number of SMBs tapping contractor teams of 10 or more has increased by 214 percent

Contractors provide a compelling alternative to the costs associated with full-time, traditional hiring — an option that any business owner with an eye on the bottom line can appreciate.

Growth of Skilled and Highly Paid Contractors
The SMB move from traditional hiring to the use of an on-demand workforce creates a need for highly skilled professional contractors. In many cases, contractors have developed a career by marketing their services to the same SMBs on an ongoing basis.

Contractors are also hiring other contractors, building specialized teams and managing the workflow of multiple contracts. In this way, career contracting is not only enabling individuals to thrive and SMBs to grow, but it’s blurring the lines and enabling career contractors to build their own SMBs from the ground up.

Curious about the workforce trends for SMBs and contractors? Check out the SMB Trend Report here. What’s your take on the SMB-contractor relationship? Let us know in the comments below!

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The Heart of America is Hard at Work — Online https://www.upwork.com/blog/2011/02/the-heart-of-america-is-hard-at-work-online/ https://www.upwork.com/blog/2011/02/the-heart-of-america-is-hard-at-work-online/#comments Wed, 30 Nov -0001 00:00:00 +0000 http://www.odesk.com/blog/?p=14399 According to this month's Online Employment Report, small towns are outperforming their big-city counterparts in online work activity and number of hours worked per contractor. Towns with populations less than 15,000 are going toe-to-toe with large cities--and winning.

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“Workers in small towns need access to jobs, and the Internet can put them in consideration for job opportunities on a global scale,” said Gary Swart, oDesk CEO. “Online jobs are giving workers a viable way to find employment, enhance their skills and build their own businesses — beyond their local economy.”

Small Towns Big Winners in Online Work

According to this month’s Online Employment Report, small towns are outperforming their big-city counterparts in online work activity and number of hours worked per contractor. Towns with populations less than 15,000 are going toe-to-toe with large cities–and winning.

When looking at the number of online workers per capita, small communities are meeting or beating nearly every major U.S. city – with San Francisco being the notable exception – and have proportionally higher “actively working” online populations.

In comparing the hours worked per online contractor, small towns like Kanab (UT), Wagoner (OK), and Newalla (OK) surpass New York City, San Francisco and Los Angeles:

US city comparison

Online Hiring Hits Record High

Overall, demand for online work reached an all-time high in January, maintaining over 90% growth year-over-year and outstripping the slow hiring growth in local jobs.

Other key findings from the January Online Employment Report:

  • 2011 Starts Strong for Online Hiring
    • A record 71,000 online job opportunities posted
    • More than $13M spent on online work in January alone
  • Voice Talent and Presentations break into the Top 50 Categories
    • Businesses hiring creative talent

What do you think – are small towns the next big thing for online work?


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In-Demand Skills in a Borderless Economy https://www.upwork.com/blog/2011/01/in-demand-skills-in-a-borderless-economy/ https://www.upwork.com/blog/2011/01/in-demand-skills-in-a-borderless-economy/#comments Wed, 30 Nov -0001 00:00:00 +0000 http://www.odesk.com/blog/?p=14172 Online work is creating an economy of opportunity — where work is not linked to location, but to skills, experience and abilities. For employees and contractors, this allows them to manage their own work-life balance, get paid based on merit, and access an entire world of work opportunities. But what skills are in demand when the talent pool is worldwide?

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“The growth in the number and variety of online job opportunities has been driven by businesses’ needs for flexibility, on-call expertise and access to a wide range of skills,” said Gary Swart, oDesk CEO. “Online jobs are giving workers a viable way to find employment, enhance their skills and grow their own businesses — and in-demand skills can be the cornerstone of a successful contracting career.”

Online work is creating an economy of opportunity — where work is not linked to location, but to skills, experience and abilities. For employees and contractors, this allows them to manage their own work-life balance, get paid based on merit, and access an entire world of work opportunities. But what skills are in demand when the talent pool is worldwide? Today, we announced findings from the December Online Employment Report, a monthly analysis on the state of the online workforce.

Online work shows steady growth

Overall demand for online work held steady in December, maintaining 103% growth year-over-year, and surpassing slow hiring growth in local positions. December’s earnings for online workers topped a record $13M. During the past year, online workers have earned more than $115M, an amount which is expected to double in 2011.

Top skills in demand

Based on a sample of nearly 60,000 postings for online jobs, there has been ongoing interest from employers in hiring for mobile development, internet and social media marketing, and a new emphasis on translation. Specifically, the top skills requested in December included increases in the number of employers looking for iPhone application development and language expertise. Translation jobs were up 319% in 2010, highlighting businesses’ increasing interest in international transactions. Primary languages requested were Spanish, German and Korean.

Planning for the new year was also a top priority, with 123% increase in hiring for business planning and market strategy professionals over the same month last year.

What about your area of expertise?  You can see the entire list of Top 50 Skills below. Use it to help determine how in-demand your expertise is, and see what related skills might net you some of the top online jobs of 2011.

Top Skills (by jobs posted Dec 2010)

Rank Skill MoM YoY
1 PHP
2 HTML
3 English +3
4 CSS -1 +2
5 WordPress +5 -1
6 Photoshop -1 -1
7 SEO +1
8 MySQL -4
9 Javascript -2 +2
10 Writing -1 -1
11 MS Excel +3 -2
12 Data Entry -2 -1
13 Graphic Design -1
14 Research +5 +1
15 Flash -4 -2
16 Link Building +9 +1
17 Joomla +1 -3
18 Article Writing +22 +20
19 Blogging +8 +2
20 Web Design +21 +22
21 Ajax -9 -1
22 Jquery +9 +6
23 Social Media +15 +9
24 Java -2
25 MS Word +8 +4
26 .Net -11 +14
27 Facebook +3 -11
28 iPhone +8 -5
29 Drupal +3 -2
30 Magento +9
31 SEM -5 -7
32 Adobe Illustrator +60 +37
33 C# -12 +159
34 SQL -14 -3
35 XHTML -13 -9
36 Creative Writing +38 +26
37 XML -9 -2
38 Illustrator -9 -13
39 Typing +24 +4
40 Twitter -5 -6
41 C++ -18 -4
42 Linux -8 -6
43 Transcription +64 +32
44 Marketing +1 -5
45 Logo Design +15 +33
46 IIS -30 -28
47 MS SQL -30 -28
48 Copywriting +4 +3
49 MS Office +90 +98
50 Internet Marketing +35 +75


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Thinking about Inc. & the Demand Economy https://www.upwork.com/blog/2010/11/thinking-about-inc-the-demand-economy/ https://www.upwork.com/blog/2010/11/thinking-about-inc-the-demand-economy/#comments Wed, 30 Nov -0001 00:00:00 +0000 http://www.odesk.com/blog/?p=13765 For its November issue, Inc. Magazine focuses on the “demand economy” and profiled seven businesses that are succeeding by adapting to changing times.

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For its November issue, Inc. Magazine focuses on the “demand economy” and profiled seven businesses that are succeeding by adapting to changing times. When they had to choose the cover, they went with our very own CEO, Gary Swart. Read Inc.’s story here—it’s a good look at the changing landscape. With the issue sitting on almost every newsstand in North America, we asked Gary to discuss how small and medium-sized businesses can adapt to take advantage of the demand economy.

Q: What’s the biggest shift, in terms of perspective, that managers are going to have to make to embrace an “on-demand” model for talent?

Gary: The difference comes in how they value their workers and the work performed. Much like overstocked warehouses, people don’t thrive when put on a shelf. A worker who sits in a cube every day is not necessarily more productive than one who works from her home office. Employers need to recognize which skills they should keep on-demand, what roles have full-time responsibilities, and how to effectively establish context for a workforce with varied roles.

Q: The Inc. article talks a lot about “demand” in terms of selling to consumers, and it points out a growing global middle class, and a growing number of households led by single women, as the key markets to sell to. Since oDesk is about the global labor pool, how do these growing demographics affect the talent supply?

Gary: The global talent supply is going to keep growing. The flexibility of the online contracting model spreads the available talent pool to a wider demographic than is available in a local area—and with a larger pool of applicants to choose from, employers are more likely to be able to locate the right person to get their work done quickly and reliably.

Q: In oDesk’s early years, remote contractors were a fairly novel idea for medium and small businesses.  These days, where does contract work fall on a spectrum from “novelty” to “necessity”?

Gary: For SMBs, it’s definitely far to the “necessity” side. Businesses of all sizes are trying to do more with less and mitigate extra costs. Contractors are becoming a core part of the business model — the combination of a scalable, customizable workforce, then access to worldwide talent, and the decreased costs of maintaining office space and HR overhead keeps businesses of all sizes nimble, fast and competitive.

Q: What would you say is the key for employers to get comfortable with remote work — to take it from “we do this in rare cases, with a few specific functions” to “this is an ongoing part of our overall business model”?

Gary: I’d begin by encouraging them to think of a contract worker as a valuable, on-demand team member. This is how we, at oDesk, are able to run a business affecting over a million users with only 38 employees — we have over 150 contractors who are valuable additions to our team.

We use three main criteria to think through our hiring process:

1. Do we need work done fast? The recruiting, hiring and ramp up for a contractor can take hours or days, not weeks or months. This is valuable time to a small business.

2. Do we need flexibility? This is important if you have an idea of what you want to accomplish, but little understanding of what is required to get it done. Contractors allow you to keep your business nimble and flexible, and you can scale your team up and down based on how much work needs to be done.

3. Can we use different expertise? As a small business, you may not need a person to fill every seat at your table every single day. Getting ready to launch a new product? Consult a PR pro. Need a logo and basic website design? Grab a graphic designer. As your business needs grow and change, you’ll find plenty of examples of problems that need specific expertise that is beyond your in-house team’s abilities. Contractors fit the bill to have an expert handy only when you need one.

Q: Lastly, how’s it feel to be the literal poster boy for the demand economy and the remote workplace?

Gary: For me, it really is the culmination of work done by so many people over the years. Not just oDesk’s incredible employees, but also the hundreds of thousands of contractors and employers who come to work through oDesk every single day. While it’s my face on the cover, I’m just a representative of something so much bigger — a movement of career contractors and employers who are connecting, innovating and creating an economy that is borderless and where the opportunities are boundless.

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The 1M Hours Infographic: How We Did It https://www.upwork.com/blog/2010/10/the-1m-hours-infographic-how-we-did-it/ https://www.upwork.com/blog/2010/10/the-1m-hours-infographic-how-we-did-it/#comments Wed, 30 Nov -0001 00:00:00 +0000 http://www.odesk.com/blog/?p=13249 Our one million hours infographic project is an incredible example of what can be created, with the help of oDesk, in less than 24 hours. Wanna know how we did it?

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A few weeks ago, oDesk announced that it had just surpassed one million hours worked in a single month. However, rather than simply put out a press release, we decided to create a nifty infographic to show what exactly can be accomplished in one million hours.

This infographic — something we put together in less than a day — was published by TechCrunch and shared by thousands of people over the days that followed. What we didn’t realize when we started was that this 1M hours infographic project was going to be an incredible example of what can be created, with the help of oDesk, on an incredibly tight timeframe. Wanna know how we did it? Here’s how a gal with no design skill created a compelling visual aid in less than 24 hours:

one million diarySeptember 1, 1:15 pm PT

The Discovery: While reviewing the previous month’s data, our oDesk team discovers the 1M hours per month milestone has been reached. In order to wrap our brains around the reality of a million hours, we decide to measure the hours in different terms. A fun discussion ensues about what one million hours actually looks like (114 years!) and what can be accomplished in that many hours. The result of the brainstorming session: a short list of fascinating things we quickly realize is worth sharing with the people who made reaching the 1M milestone possible. (Some of the “Things you can do in 1M hours”  didn’t make the final cut. A personal favorite was Watching all the Star Wars movies 75,187 times, with a few hours to spare to watch your favorite movie just one more time!)

September 1, 5:43 pm PT

The Job: I post a job for an “infographics expert” on oDesk. I intentionally don’t structure this as a traditional job post — I want someone who can think on her feet and bring a strong design sense to the table. I also know I need the infographic created quickly, and I’m willing to hire multiple people for the assignment in order to have options to choose from. So, after posting the job, I search the marketplace with the keyword “infographic” in the category of “graphic design” and come up with three candidates. I invite them to the position based on the experience and relevant items in their portfolios. Yes, it takes a little research, but within three hours I have a likely candidate in Ernesto, who — as it turns out — is up for the challenge of making an infographic happen under a tight deadline.

September 1, 9:00 pm PT

The Contractor: I make the hire and send Ernesto the brainstormed list of “1M hours” ideas from my coworkers, along with links to two existing infographics and an explanation of what I like about each. (One has a lot of text, but blocks the data out visually to make it easy to read. The other has a great sense of fun and the visual presentation is fantastic, but the data is a bit simplistic for our needs). In other words, I let Ernesto know what I have in mind — with concrete examples, not just a wordy description of a graphic that doesn’t yet exist. Ernesto assures me he’ll get right to work, and I leave the project in his capable hands, knowing I’ve communicated all I can.

infographic_pencil[1]September 2, 7:15 am PT

The Progress Report, Part 1: Good morning, sunshine! While I’ve been sleeping the night away in the U.S., Ernesto has been hard at work on the other side of the world in Spain. He sends me a pencil sketch of his idea, which I review first thing in the morning. A quick check of his oDesk Work Diary reveals that he has (in a brilliant move) grabbed the color scheme off our website, and is well on his way to turning the pencil sketch into a vector graphic. I send him a quick note to let him know he is on the right track, and I eat some breakfast.

September 2, 9:38 am PT

The Collaboration: Rough draft, first vector graphic received! I make a few suggestions, based on standardizing the format of the “red dot highlights” and add pithy callouts to the top of each data section. (Look, Ma! I added value!) Feeling the excitement of knowing we are almost there and we are a great team, I send the draft and my suggestions back to Ernesto.

one_million_graphic_580September 2, 3:15 pm PT

The Progress Report, Part 2: I receive Ernesto’s revised draft of the infographic, with my revisions made and the lorem ipsum text replaced by his stab at the written content. I share the draft among our internal designers and marketing team for input, draft in my “wordsmithed” content and return the feedback to Ernesto.

September 2, 4:53 pm PT

The Job Well Done: I open my email to receive the (almost) final draft, with our last round of revisions. Loving it! One of our design team points out a small improvement in the intro text that would improve readability, so I transfer the file to him. He makes the suggested change from two columns of text to one. Finito! I write the blog post to introduce the infographic and queue it for release the following morning.

WE DID IT! A job started, hired, and completed in less than 24 hours on oDesk!

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Trend Spotlight: WordPress https://www.upwork.com/blog/2010/09/trend-spotlight-wordpress/ https://www.upwork.com/blog/2010/09/trend-spotlight-wordpress/#comments Wed, 30 Nov -0001 00:00:00 +0000 http://www.odesk.com/blog/?p=13345 Wordpress has become synonymous with blogging. While it isn’t the only content management system, it is certainly the most popular in the oConomy, amongst the Technorati Top 100 blogs, and arguably the largest on the Internet with over 27 million publishers . The Wordpress trends page offers additional insight into this hot online publishing platform.

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WordPress has become synonymous with blogging. While it isn’t the only content management system, it is certainly the most popular in the oConomy, amongst the Technorati Top 100 blogs, and arguably the largest on the Internet with over 27 million publishers . The WordPress trends page offers additional insight into this hot online publishing platform.

The Numbers

wp-chart
With nearly 4,000 WordPress related jobs posted last month, the popular blogging platform sported continuous growth this year and currently outranks the job volume of Typepad, Drupal and Joomla combined.

Why?

Simply put. It’s free and it works.

The open source solution offers most users a relatively short setup time and, through its modular framework, the look and feel can be quickly changed with off-the-shelf themes. For more advanced users, plug-ins can extend the simple blog platform to handle e-commerce, analytics, photo galleries, connectivity with social networking sites, and much more.

The WordPress large library of plug-ins gives developers time saving tools that can greatly reduce development time and create a quick, working solution ranging from excellent to “good enough” for most projects.

As this WPShout.com post makes light of, there are a lot of different paths that lead users to WordPress. Users there cite their experiences, ranging from its advantages as a content management system, developers praising the huge library of user developed plug-ins, and others simply because of its popularity.

Employers seeking WordPress professionals are most likely seeking to fulfill one of three roles: content creators–or in this case, bloggers, blog managers, or theme designers/developers. This breadth may account for the large number of job postings. However, if this indicates an overlap with your skills, and you aren’t WordPress savvy, then  it might also indicates some room for growth.

Learn MoreWordpress Logo

The huge amount of available  information and documentation is yet another reason for WordPress’s large user base. WordPress.org is a great starting place for learning more, and below are some links to more specific articles.

Learning Nerd’s – Welcome to WordPress.com: Beginner Resources
Net.Tuts+’s – Top 50 WordPress Tutorials
oDesk Blog – Building a Blog: From the Ground Up

 

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oDesk Surpasses 1 Million Hours Per Month https://www.upwork.com/blog/2010/09/odesk-surpasses-1-million-hours-per-month/ https://www.upwork.com/blog/2010/09/odesk-surpasses-1-million-hours-per-month/#comments Wed, 30 Nov -0001 00:00:00 +0000 http://www.odesk.com/blog/?p=13067 More than 1 million hours were worked online via oDesk during the month of August. We're showing you just how much can get accomplished during that amount of time in a nifty infographic.

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We’re tickled to announce that oDesk saw more than 1 million hours worked online during the month of August. Just in time for Labor Day here in the United States, this milestone shows just how far the working world has come since the holiday was first initiated in 1882, and marks an increase of 118% in hours worked on oDesk over the same period just last year.

But a million is a big number, and a long time when you’re counting in hours. So, we tapped one of our 720,000 talented contractors to show you just how much can happen in one million hours.

one_million_graphic_580
To accomplish so much in such a short period of time, it’s obvious that online work is truly changing how the world works. The entire team at oDesk is so proud to have reached this milestone with our employers and contractors. In honor of Labor Day and this tremendous accomplishment, we congratulate online workers around the world over for many jobs well done!


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Don’t Discount Android… https://www.upwork.com/blog/2010/05/dont-discount-android/ https://www.upwork.com/blog/2010/05/dont-discount-android/#comments Wed, 30 Nov -0001 00:00:00 +0000 http://www.odesk.com/blog/?p=11954 Q1 2010 mobile phone sales figures are rolling in from several research firms, and in turn, the analysis of Android devices and iPhone sales are flowing in the news and blog world as well. Android has grown significantly to become a serious iPhone competitor, but Google's App Market is yet to follow suit.

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Q1 2010 mobile phone sales figures are rolling in from several research firms, and in turn, the analysis of Android devices and iPhone sales are flowing in the news and blog world as well. Android has grown significantly to become a serious iPhone competitor, but Google’s App Market is yet to follow suit.

The Numbers

Gartner Research has released figures that suggest that there has been a 17% increase in global mobile phone sales. That’s good news for everyone except Microsoft, whose Windows Mobile OS was the only smart phone OS to stagnate during the market’s rise.

Some bloggers have gone ahead and declared things like, “Android whips the iPhone in 2010 sales.” The majority of these reports are based upon data from The NPD Group. The research does suggest a significant rise, giving Android up to 28% market share, which is – by all accounts – amazing growth. However, the accuracy of NPD’s data has been questioned by Apple.

Image via AllThingsDigital.com

Image via AllThingsDigital.com

Another data source of note is AdMob, who publishes the data collected by their advertising network. This data is more of a metric for browser usage. You’ll notice that RIM, who has a huge percent market share in the studies above, is not well represented in the AdMob data. Blackberry users are email and text-heavy, but they are not big browser/app users.

Admob March 2010 Mobile Metrics Report

Admob March 2010 Mobile Metrics Report

All of the above data suggests a significant rise in Android’s market share. So, regardless of who’s “winning,” Android is not to be ignored, leaving Android and Apple Devices as dominate leaders in the App-centric smartphone market.

The App Markets

Apple’s App Store has been a hugely successful outlet for developers to connect with iPhone users, and Google’s App Market is attempting to replicate this success. But recent reports (like this one at SFgate.com) suggest that the users of the two markets are significantly different. CNN/Fortune writer Philip Elmer-DeWitt has an excellent commentary as well, titled “6 ways iPhone and Android users differ”. Like the SFGate article, DeWitt’s post draws upon more AdMob data. The report outlines several informative stats–notably, that 50% of iPhone users download at least one paid app per month, where as only 21% of Android users download at least one paid app per month.

The user data lags a few months behind the sales data, so it’s not a perfect 1:1 relationship, but we’re yet to see Google monetize apps as successfully as Apple. If Android’s growth continues at its current rate we may see this change by sheer volume.

alex_avatar

Alex Hornbake is one of several freelance writers on the oDesk Blog team. He joined the oDesk marketplace in 2009, and brings more than a decade of technical expertise to his clients. Alex shares his point of view to help you make informed decisions for your personal and business technology choices.

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Games and Apps Drive Android and C++ Demand https://www.upwork.com/blog/2010/04/games-and-apps-drive-android-and-c-demand/ https://www.upwork.com/blog/2010/04/games-and-apps-drive-android-and-c-demand/#comments Wed, 30 Nov -0001 00:00:00 +0000 http://www.odesk.com/blog/?p=11571 The monthly oDesk Online Jobs Report is a great chance to take a look at where the demand for skills are and - more importantly - where they are headed. Following the trends in demand for online work can help you make sure you're harnessing the right skills to secure work in the future, and help you command top-dollar for your in-demand skillset.

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The monthly oDesk Online Jobs Report is a great chance to take a look at where the demand for skills are and – more importantly – where they are headed. Following the trends in demand for online work can help you make sure you’re harnessing the right skills to secure work in the future, and help you command top-dollar for your in-demand skillset. This post is focused on the programming and development skills in the Online Jobs Report, but have a look at the report directly if you’re curious about other skills.

PHP still ranks at the top of the pack for requested programming skills, and it’s unlikely that we’ll see a change in this any time soon.

However, when we look at the biggest movers on the Top Skills list, we notice that demand for both C++ programmers and C# developers have climbed +22 and +20 rankings, respectively. In the lower half of top 50 skills list, we can see the high-level, readability-friendly, object-oriented languages Ruby on Rails (+22) and Python (+26) moving quickly up the chart as well.

The Highlights

#13 C++ Demand

c++_demandThe term “C++” gets used a lot to describe both C++ knowledge and as a marker for many different sub-skills – all of which are in demand. It’s often mentioned along side iPhone development–although “Objective C” is the proper term for this skill–and Android development, which is traditionally developed with Android’s C++ libraries. As demand for Apps and Games for these devices grows, so does the demand for C++ and related development abilities.

Concurrently with the jump in C++ demand,  Android gains deeper market penetration–see more on this from TechCrunch here— and it breaks in to the top 50 skills this month at #49 with a leap up 31 places over last year’s demand.

android_demand

The use of C++ isn’t limited to just mobile device programming, but the growth in that segment of the oConomy is likely responsible for this specific jump in demand.

#17 C# Skills Wanted

c#_demandC# is most notably used in conjunction with Microsoft’s .NET Framework, which makes it a popular choice for all things Microsoft. Considering that .NET made a more modest climb (+6) to #8 on the charts, this might indicate the shift away from other .NET/CLI languages like Visual Basic towards the more Java-esque object-oriented C#.

#40 Ruby on Rails & #45 Python

Ruby on Rails is winning over developers seeking out alternatives to the sometimes obfuscated nature of PHP and Perl scripting. Savvy buyers are aware of the time-saving nature of Ruby code, which is generally faster to develop due to it’s object-oriented nature, and easier to understand when compared to PHP and PERL.

Python makes the same leap forward, in this case being both object-oriented, and extremely readable. This, in turn, can make for faster development time. Time is money, and high level languages like Ruby and Python climb the skill rankings for their speed and readability.

Moving Forward

While we’re unlikely to see the death of scripting languages like PHP any time soon, the growth in demand for both web, application, game, and other development using object-oriented languages indicates a move towards more rapid development using modular languages. Sounds like progress to me. Let us know what you think in the comments–does the Online Jobs Report mirror your firsthand experiences?

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The Dropout Economy and Remote Workers https://www.upwork.com/blog/2010/04/the-dropout-economy-and-remote-workers/ https://www.upwork.com/blog/2010/04/the-dropout-economy-and-remote-workers/#comments Wed, 30 Nov -0001 00:00:00 +0000 http://www.odesk.com/blog/?p=11271 As independent contractors working remotely are we members of the Dropout Economy? Are we the tame corporate-friendly dropouts who've voluntarily traded in our benefits packages to have the freedom to work without a tie, be home to see our kids after school, go for a hike on a Tuesday afternoon, or have the freedom to build and grow our businesses without feeling like our hands are tied by a slow moving bureaucrat overlord? Of course we are.

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The phrase Dropout Economy (made popular by Reihan Salam in the recent Time Magazine article) tells a tale of community activism and radical thinking — sparked by a rejection of traditional norms that revolve around working for “The Man.” In a time when corporate profits are privatized and losses are socialized in the form of unemployment and bailouts, it’s not so hard to imagine that the people bearing the most hardship might reject the traditional socio-economic framework and seek out an alternative Dropout Economy.

Remote Workers: The Road Warriors of the Information Superhighway.

Mad Max references aside – as independent contractors working remotely, are we considered members of the Dropout Economy as laid out by Salam’s article? Are we amongst the tame, corporate-friendly folks who’ve voluntarily traded in benefits packages to have the freedom to work without a tie, be home to see the kids after school, go for a hike on a Tuesday afternoon, or have the freedom to build and grow businesses without slow-moving bureaucrat overlords?

Of course we are. But I’m not sure if our future is as gritty and post-apocalyptic as Salam makes it out to be:

Imagine a future in which millions of families live off the grid, powering their homes and vehicles with dirt-cheap portable fuel cells … Faced with the burden of financing the decades-long retirement of aging boomers, many of the young embrace a new underground economy, a largely untaxed archipelago of communes, co-ops, and kibbutzim that passively resist the power of the granny state while building their own little utopias.

But, Salam does bring up a few good points…

A Better Way

The idea behind the Dropout Economy may be a bit hyperbolic, but it reflects a growing rejection of the status quo work/life balance. The concept of balancing work and lifestyle choices is one on many people’s minds. For some, that scale gets tipped to the side of remote work — either through their current employer or as freelancers. For good reason too, having the freedom to work from home can be an invaluable boost to both productivity and family relationships.

cubicle_prison

Not all companies are stuck in the cubicle mindset either. Many companies manage to create open, relaxing, healthy environments for their workers. For some examples of progressive work environments, see Fortune’s 100 Best Companies to Work For.

The corporate rejection of a traditional office is just as significant as a worker’s decision to “drop out”. It represents a shared experience of the problems facing the workforce at large. In addition, the integration of teleworkers into the traditional work environment shows an understanding of the value of remote talent. This survey from Microsoft offers more insight into the support for remote work in the workplace.

We’re All Dropouts

We all make choices as to how we’re going to fit in to the marketplace, and sites like oDesk strive to make it easier for remote workers to capitalize on their skills. It’s really about increasing the efficiency of connecting forward-thinking businesses with skilled remote workers.

The idea of dropping out of the economy is a bit outlandish. We are the economy. While dodging taxes and living off the grid may be choice to limit participation in the traditional economy, it’s still a part of a fringe economy and an indicator of the overall health of a larger, and so far, self-correcting system.


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The Net Neutrality Debate https://www.upwork.com/blog/2010/04/the-net-neutrality-debate/ https://www.upwork.com/blog/2010/04/the-net-neutrality-debate/#comments Wed, 30 Nov -0001 00:00:00 +0000 http://www.odesk.com/blog/?p=11393 Since Comcast's successful appeal of the FCC's enforcement of Net Neutrality, the blog world has been buzzing with opinions surrounding the ruling by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit. While the court cases and policy debates are far from over, this was the first big ruling in the US, enforcing an ISP's authority to filter and throttle traffic on it's network--in this case, peer to peer file sharing over the bit torrent protocol.

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Since the recent success of Comcast’s appeal of the FCC’s enforcement of Net Neutrality, the Internet has been buzzing with opinions surrounding the ruling. While the court cases and policy debates are far from over, this was the first big decision on Net Neutrality in the US, enforcing an ISP’s authority to filter and throttle traffic on it’s network. Here’s a brief primer on the issue:

Further Reading:
BusinessWeek.com Comcast Wins in Case on FCC Net Neutrality Powers (Update6)
Wired.com – Appeals Court Throttles FCC’s Net Neutrality Authority

What is Net Neutrality?

Net neutrality is the concept that the internet should operate as a “dumb network” and as a result treat all traffic equally. It’s “dumb” in the sense that the network is unaware of the traffic it is carrying. The FCC’s own definition of Net Neutrality states that consumers should have access to the connection of their choice, using the services and applications of their choice, on their devices of choice, in a market place where there is competition among providers.

The debate focuses on the control of regulation. Should network owners be allowed to self-regulate, or should the government regulate both private and public network infrastructure to ensure that all traffic is treated equally?

Furthermore, should ISPs have the right to use Deep Packet Inspection, or DPI to look at the content of information on their network? This has all kinds of implications, from discrimination of services and traffic, to the replacement and targeting of advertisements found on websites.

Keep in mind the influence of money in this debate, as both sides of the issue have deep pockets. Amazon.com, eBay, Google, Intel, Microsoft, Facebook, Skype and Yahoo all benefit from unfettered access to the networks of Time-Warner, Comcast, AT&T, and other broadband providers. While this will ultimately effect consumers, the battle is being waged via lobbyists.

Further Reading:
Wikipedia.orgNetwork Neutrality
Wired.comNet Neutrality Debate Is Secretly All About Internet Television, Net Pioneers Say

fists_airPro-Neutrality

Advocates of the FCC’s regulations argue that allowing Time-Warner, Comcast, AT&T and Verizon to regulate themselves would result in the reservation of large chunks of bandwidth for service provided by those companies, allowing them to levy a toll to anyone wanting to deliver high-performance competing services. The concern is that the small companies and innovators in the market would be unable to compete, and therefore consumers would be at the mercy of the ISP, and have access only to the services the ISPs would be willing to offer them.

Examples include charging consumers access to higher bandwidth services like YouTube, or charging companies like Google a premium for priority service on the network. Whether or not ISPs would charge for tiered service is yet to be seen, but the argument is that they would have the opportunity to do so in the future.

Further Reading:
News.Yahoo.comNet neutrality faces serious setbacks
SaveTheInternet.com
WeAreTheWeb.org

Anti-Neutrality

Opponents of Net Neutrality often cite that ISPs own their networks–that they aren’t publicly-owned networks, as many previously assumed. The ISPs’ investment in broadband infrastructure has helped push the Internet to where it is today, and some argue that if they aren’t allowed to collect a return on this investment and invest further, then network speeds and innovation in network technologies could come to a grinding halt. The ISPs state that they would become overwhelmed by the growing amount of video, voice, peer to peer and other media rich traffic that would be allowed to flow freely over their networks.

The internet is not currently “neutral”. ISPs already filter spam, and regularly blacklist computers that violate their Terms of Service. Most people view this as a good thing, and the opponents of net neutrality argue that self-regulation has worked so far, and that the market will find the right balance over time if allowed to continue in this way.

Further Reading:
PcWorld.com Net Neutrality Foes: What If The ‘Bad Guys’ Are Right?
ZeroPaid.comVerizon CEO: “We Will Find Pirates, Throttle Them, and Charge Extra”
DontRegulate.org

the future exit signMoving Forward

The complexities of the issue extend beyond the simplification above and, moving forward, the FCC may make a move to either gain the necessary authority, reclassify broadband service under its jurisdiction, or for lobby Congress to pass some sort of Net Neutrality legislation. Either way, changes are coming.  Let us know where you think things are headed, and how you think the Net Neutrality debate will impact you.

Further Reading:
Barron’s Tech Trader DailyWill FCC Choose “The Nuclear Option” In Net Neutrality Fight?

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Online Social Media Skills Not a Passing Fad https://www.upwork.com/blog/2010/03/online-social-media-skills-not-a-passing-fad/ https://www.upwork.com/blog/2010/03/online-social-media-skills-not-a-passing-fad/#comments Wed, 30 Nov -0001 00:00:00 +0000 http://www.odesk.com/blog/?p=11026 In the age of recession, everyone wants to know what job skills are in and what job skills are on their way out.

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In the age of recession, everyone wants to know what job skills are in and what job skills are on their way out.

No one wants to stockpile know-how in a field with a short shelf life, and some of the once-popular, ultra-specific tech skills have been needed one day and obsolete the next. Predicting the future can be a tricky game, but – according to the recent Online Jobs Report – the demand for social media skills here at oDesk is clearly still on the rise, with no downward turn in sight.

Twitter Skills

Though many predicted the world would tire of Twitter by now — or the creators would tire of not making any money off of it — we still haven’t seen the end of the Twitter skills demand. Twitter skills ranked as the 38th most requested skill in February here on oDesk.

Not impressive, you say? Consider this: Twitter was ranked the 106th requested skill just twelve short months ago. What’s more, just last month it wasn’t even in our top 50. That, friends, is what we call ‘booming’.

Twitter skills aren’t limited to knowing what to do with those 140 precious characters. It’s about knowing how to use Twitter-related apps and Twitter skins too. Writers, developers and graphic designers can all get in on the action!

Facebook Skills

As for Facebook, it’s also still on the rise. Many companies want a presence on Facebook – we’re on there too – but don’t have the skills or bandwidth to take it on themselves. While those who are specialize in social media via Facebook may be the butt of jokes (you mean you play on Facebook all day long?), but right now they are having the last laugh. Facebook skills are the 23rd most requested skill at oDesk, which puts them almost neck and neck with ever-popular iPhone skills in our 22nd spot.

What’s more, Facebook skills were only 28th last month and back at 45th one year ago. This skill set is crawling up the list at a steady pace, and Facebook opportunities can include developing Facebook-related apps, writing and networking.

The bottom line is that the demand for social media skills isn’t going away anytime soon.


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Coworking and the Future of Work https://www.upwork.com/blog/2010/03/coworking-and-the-future-of-work/ https://www.upwork.com/blog/2010/03/coworking-and-the-future-of-work/#comments Wed, 30 Nov -0001 00:00:00 +0000 http://www.odesk.com/blog/?p=10973 Yesterday, Gary shared his vision for the future with attendees at SXSW 2010 as part of the panel “What Coworking Tells Us About the Future of Work”. Today, he shared with me some of his thoughts on coworking, co-location, and the future of work: Coworking is the future of work. There’s a community, a synergy, […]

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Yesterday, Gary shared his vision for the future with attendees at SXSW 2010 as part of the panel “What Coworking Tells Us About the Future of Work”. Today, he shared with me some of his thoughts on coworking, co-location, and the future of work:

Coworking is the future of work. There’s a community, a synergy, bred by coworking that may not exist in corporate-mandated structures. Where I differ from the other panelists, though, is that I don’t believe coworking needs to be tied to a physical location.

Spinuzzi quote
Clay Spinuzzi shared this earlier. The key for me is that this “space of endless mobility” this “space made of flows of information and communication” is managed by the Internet.

Think about it… If its managed by the Internet, why do I have be at a physical THERE?

With this in mind, what does the future of work look like? It’s Coworking without location.

Currently, people are telecommuting. They’re working from home, from coffeeshops, from coworking spaces. They are making a shift away from rigid corporate structures towards a more flexible, more online way to work.

And it’s a shift that will keep growing. How do I know? Because oDesk has more than doubled in size, year over year, for the past 3 years. How much work is really happening online? To provide a little perspective:

In just one week, online workers accomplish more online workers accomplish more than 80 years worth of 40-hour workweeks. How do they do it?

It’s transparency. The Internet has opened the door for this open, free flow of information and communication between workers and employers, beyond the limitations of the physical environment.

As an employer, you gain the ability to collaborate with workers anywhere in the world, and find the best worker for each and every job.

What does this mean for you as a worker? This means you have the ability to work from anywhere in the world, on any job that suits your skills – no matter where it’s located.

Think about it. If you can work for anyone, anywhere in the world – does it make sense to work in one place for 50 years? It would feel like standing still. You wouldn’t. On the flip side, if you can hire people who only have the skills your company needs, would you keep hundreds of full-time employees? You wouldn’t.

What you would do is follow the path that Hollywood has been treading for decades. It’s like producing a movie: You get together a group of people with really specialized talents to create something unique, that taps into each one’s skills in a different way. You don’t ask the Best Boy Grip to direct. You don’t get Brad Pitt to organize the catering. You get the right person for the right job. Then, at the end of the day, they go their separate ways – they may work together again, or they may not. But the point is that this group of talented individuals is flexible and on-demand. They have the ability to change at a moment’s notice. The action script can shift to a romantic comedy by switching out a couple of screenwriters, replacing a stuntman with a lighting specialist, etc.

And if the work model mimics movie production, then there is no need for big office buildings. There’s no need for a physical location to dictate where work happens.

When work is tied to the physical world, much like real estate, location is key. You have to live near where you work. You have to commute or relocate based on where there is demand for your skills. If you’re a CAD Engineer in Flint, Michigan, and the auto maker you’re working for shuts down, you’re hosed.

But that’s the old model – work as a place. Let me stress this – “Work is not a place!

This is the new model, enabled by the Internet. It’s about communication. It’s about connection. It’s about community.

For workers, this means they have access to opportunities far beyond their hometowns. The Internet becomes the road from all points beyond, lead into Austin, Texas, into Greensboro, South Carolina, even into Flint, Michigan. It brings jobs, it brings community, it brings opportunity.

But with the Internet bringing any opportunity to anyone in the world, it’s going to get competitive out there.

As a worker, you are competing for work against a much larger candidate pool than those within commute distance of a company’s office. You’re competing against everyone else with similar skills.

But the Internet gives you ability to truly stand out – to share your work experience, your portfolio, feedback from previous employers, certification tests, etc. with anyone. You can showcase yourself, without ever meeting your clients. We have a member of our marketing team named Jacqui, who travels the world with her husband. She’s worked for us for over a year, we love her work… and we’ve never met her.

Jacqui’s just one of hundreds of online workers we’ve hired over the years. As a company that is embracing the new model, we love having access to providers like Jacqui – in the old model, we never would be able to have her on our team! It’s the access to a global talent pool that lets companies pick from a worldwide offering of talented workers, and select the right person for the job – regardless of location.

So why should you consider all of this?

When you’re thinking about the future of work…. when you’re thinking about coworking…. remember: “Work is not a place!”

The community and synergy that coworking affords doesn’t come from what table you sit at, what building you go to… It’s about you.

It’s about your talents, your skills, your passion, and taking advantage of all the myriad of opportunities a world of work has to offer. It’s about finding the community that fits your needs, no matter where you are. It’s about creating synergy, communicating and connecting with other people. “Work is not a place!” It’s anywhere you are.

View more presentations from oDesk.

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Online Jobs Report: Web Design Isn’t Dead https://www.upwork.com/blog/2010/03/online-jobs-report-web-design-isnt-dead/ https://www.upwork.com/blog/2010/03/online-jobs-report-web-design-isnt-dead/#comments Wed, 30 Nov -0001 00:00:00 +0000 http://www.odesk.com/blog/?p=10893 The oDesk Online Jobs Report was just released, and after having a chance to review the numbers, there is a very interesting anomaly. The "skill", "web design" is down 26 places from last year, however the category "Web Design" has remained unchanged in it's #2 spot. Below we'll see if we can shed some light on to this interesting discrepancy.

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The oDesk Online Jobs Report was released last week, and after having a chance to review the numbers, there is a very interesting trend that popped up. The skill “web design” is down 26 places from last year, however the category “Web Design” has remained unchanged in its #2 spot. Below we’ll see if we can shed some light on why the skill and category results are so different.

A Narrowed Scope

Several sub-skills outrank the parent level “web design” skill: HTML (#2), CSS (#3), Photoshop (#4), WordPress (#8), Flash (#12), Joomla (#16). It appears that buyers are getting more specific with their hunt for skills.

This isn’t to say that you should stop billing yourself as a web designer. However, highlighting your specific skills under the umbrella of web design is a must. As buyers become increasingly aware of the specific skills their project requires, honing these skills, and highlighting them on your oDesk profile is essential.

Showcasing Your Niche

You may be a highly diverse, “Jack/Jill of all trades,” which can make it difficult to find your niche. Although you may be skilled enough to advertise yourself as such, try giving your strongest, most in-demand skill top billing on your profile title, and let your profile and portfolio speak for your diversity.

Be a Team Player

The move towards hiring specialists to complete individual pieces of a web design puzzle is nothing new, its the same approach you would find internally at a large design firm. There you might find artists, designers, and various specialty coders, working along a pipeline. Being part of the oDesk marketplace means that you may be asked to be part of a such a team.

Skills like building themes and templates are increasingly popular as buyers become increasingly educated about the use of Content Management Systems, and come to expect them and depend on them.

php_skill_feb10In addition, web programming skills like PHP are the most in demand skills on oDesk. The hefty supply and efficiency of PHP specialists makes it very difficult to justify hiring a “Jack/Jill of all trades” to do both coding and design work. The same is true for other specialties and languages, so be prepared to specialize.

Closing Thoughts

While being able to see a web design/development project through from start to finish is a valuable and admirable skill, it may be unrealistic to expect that it is the expected norm. While there is no single “right” way to get a project done, the data suggests a trend towards specialization within web design/development. Let us know in the comments if you’ve experienced this trend yourself!


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Trend Watch: New Startup Activity Could Spur Hiring https://www.upwork.com/blog/2010/03/trend-watch-new-startup-activity-could-spur-hiring/ https://www.upwork.com/blog/2010/03/trend-watch-new-startup-activity-could-spur-hiring/#comments Wed, 30 Nov -0001 00:00:00 +0000 http://www.odesk.com/blog/?p=10865 A rebound in the economy could lead to the emergence of new startup companies and result in an uptick in tech-industry hiring.

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A rebound in the economy could lead to the emergence of new startup companies and result in an uptick in tech-industry hiring.

Last Friday, the Commerce Department revised upward its already impressive gross domestic product growth estimate for the fourth quarter of 2009. Previously, the department said that growth was 5.7 percent on an annualized basis: The new figure is 5.9 percent – the best observed in six years.

While most experts anticipate that that red-hot growth will cool off in the coming quarters, the late-2009 GDP growth surge shows that there’s still life left in the American economy. Some startup innovators may advantage of the fact, following the tactic proscribed by Procter & Gamble chairman A.G. Lafley – who was quoted in a recent Newsweek article as saying that “that the best time to gain ground on competitors is when they are retreating.”

dartsThe tech sector is a likely breeding ground for new companies. There is a market for small tech firms, as Google demonstrates – many of the tech giant’s current offerings were conceived by smaller companies that Google bought. The company’s ad sales platform, AdSense (which gives website owners a share of ad revenue), was created by a Los Angeles company called Applied Semantics.

And, more recently, Google bought mobile ad sales firm AdMob for $750 million – one of the company’s more expensive acquisitions, but also one with the potential to be extremely lucrative. Mobile ad sales are poised to take off: Research firm Gartner said last August that the mobile ad market would grow 74 percent in 2009 and explode after 2011.

Twitter, too, will begin hosting an ad sales platform in the near future – making internet advertising a growth industry.

It’s not just rapidly expanding sectors that would benefit from a proposed jobs bill, though.

Political website The Hill reported Thursday that Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid was working on a small-business bill that would help startups in particular.

“Zeroing out capital gains taxes for budding companies has been mentioned and could gain traction,” The Hill said.

Even in the absence of aid bills and government stimulus programs – which are expected to be wound down this year – private investors may be stepping in to promote startup incubation.

Last week, tech titan Intel reported that it would partner with 24 venture capital companies to offer $3.5 billion to tech startups over the next two years. Their partnership, called the Invest in America Alliance, will “target key innovation and growth segments such as clean technology, information technology and biotechnology.”

On top of its provision of multibillion-dollar tech-firm investments, the alliance has received commitments from 17 large corporations to hire more college graduates – “an investment,” Intel CEO Paul Otellini said, “in the country’s innovators and a signal to the global marketplace about America’s commitment to innovation and future competitiveness.”

While Sand Hill Road VC firms may be an integral part of Intel’s plan to boost tech-industry innovation, it’s not just California companies that will benefit. The Boston Business Journal reported on Friday that Boston-area companies raised an aggregate of $87 million in private funding this week.

It was, the newspaper said, “a solid investment rebound for local tech and life sciences companies after a tepid funding stretch earlier in the month.”

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Buzzworthy! (Feb 2010) https://www.upwork.com/blog/2010/02/buzzworthy-feb-2010/ https://www.upwork.com/blog/2010/02/buzzworthy-feb-2010/#comments Wed, 30 Nov -0001 00:00:00 +0000 http://www.odesk.com/blog/?p=10792 Checking out the blog buzz, it seems oDesk is doing well in taste tests. First, buyer Simon Bunker compares our marketplace to a competitor and declares we’re “now the site of choice for all my outsourcing activity.” Then for the provider perspective, the remote-work gurus at CertifiedFreelance.com provide “Five Reasons Why oDesk Tops Other Freelance […]

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Checking out the blog buzz, it seems oDesk is doing well in taste tests. First, buyer Simon Bunker compares our marketplace to a competitor and declares we’re “now the site of choice for all my outsourcing activity.” Then for the provider perspective, the remote-work gurus at CertifiedFreelance.com provide “Five Reasons Why oDesk Tops Other Freelance Sites.”

Network Solutions blogger Steve Fisher talks about using oDesk with your iPhone, and a provider writing as “Sufidreamer” offers his fourth in-depth post about getting started on oDesk, this time focusing on cover letters and interviews.

If you’re tired of reading websites, here are a couple of YouTube videos you can watch: Camitta Davis offers a video intro to becoming an oDesk provider, and “MrWebMarketing” asks, “Is Outsourcing Just a Fad?” Watch and learn, folks — and remember to send us your links when you talk about oDesk online. For a few lucky winners each month, there’s a free T-shirt in it.

Over at the developing oDeskGuide.com, Rikki John De Castro continues to create an independent resource for oDesk providers. Recently he offered a friend advice on dealing with a difficult buyer who kept demanding broad revisions on a fixed-priced project (check it out just for the cartoon about a web design project gone awry), and he finished January by celebrating his first $1,000 in earnings through oDesk. Congratulations, Rikki!

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A Developer-Centric Look at the Smartphone OS Market https://www.upwork.com/blog/2010/01/a-developer-centric-look-at-the-smartphone-os-market/ https://www.upwork.com/blog/2010/01/a-developer-centric-look-at-the-smartphone-os-market/#comments Wed, 30 Nov -0001 00:00:00 +0000 http://www.odesk.com/blog/?p=10148 As we usher in 2010, the blogosphere is buzzing regarding Google's Android-based Nexus One. So it seems like a fitting cue to take a look at the mobile phone OS market, investigate some of the newest data rolling in from 2009, and see how the market might impact freelance developers.

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As we usher in 2010, the blogosphere—including  Endgadget, Techland and Geek.com—is abuzz around Google’s Android-based Nexus One. So, it seems like a fitting cue to take a look at the smartphone OS market,  consider some of the newest data rolling in from 2009, and consider how the market might impact freelance developers.

Mobile Phone Market Data

While sifting through the available data on mobile phone sales, smartphone OS market share, and Internet traffic by mobile OS, it became very clear that the relevant market leaders for developers were different than the global leaders in terms of sales volume.

Global Smartphone Market Share

By this metric, Nokia – with their Symbian OS – is the global smartphone leader. However, if you look at how people are using their phones (by how many requests they make to Admob’s ad network) you’ll find that the iPhone has the highest amount of requests globally and in the U.S.

Smartphone Request by OSUnited States Smartphone Requests by OS

oDesk Market Data

The first chart on global market share by sales does not necessarily translate to jobs on oDesk, but the traffic requests in the U.S. do have a strong correlation to the volume of job posts on oDesk. For more, take a look at the job post trends in December 2009 for iPhone, Symbian, Android and Blackberry (or click on the charts below).

iPhone

oDesk Demand for iPhone Developers

The demand for iPhone developers on oDesk is still larger than its competitive mobile operating systems. It was recently reported by Brighthand.com that the soon-to-be-released Apple iSlate tablet will run the still-unreleased iPhone OS 4.0. While it’s still unconfirmed, that would give developers a third hardware platform running iPhone apps, including the iTouch and iPhone. The overwhelming volume of iPhone development jobs might be due in part to the suspected “App Store Bubble” reported here by MocoNews.net.

Android

oDesk Demand for Android DevelopersGoogle’s mobile OS, Android, is featured on the new Nexus One, with devices from HTC, Motorola and Samsung, shows steady growth in demand. (For a full list of Android devices you can visit this wiki entry.) The important thing is that the Android OS is growing both in market share, device support and development jobs here on oDesk. For more in depth coverage, Techie Buzz has a great quick blurb on Android’s market gains.

Blackberry

bb-chart Blackberry is the leader in the enterprise level smartphone market. Its QWERTY keyboard has always been a symbol of no nonsense emailing and texting. There is still a growing demand for Blackberry developers and — as the market data shows — a growth in user base as well.

Nokia’s Symbian, Meamo and the Others

The above report can’t simply indicate that everyone is winning. The platforms above are gobbling up the lost market shares from Palm, Windows Mobile, Symbian and a small number of Linux variants. One of the others that is too big to ignore is Nokia’s Symbian.

While there hasn’t been a historically high demand for Symbian developers on oDesk (nor is Symbian necessarily the ideal platform for an entrepreneur’s next killer mobile app), it is the utilitarian global mobile OS of choice and the OS of the declining (but still largest) manufacturer of smartphones. Recent reports  have pointed out that Nokia’s open-source, Linux-based Maemo OS is slated to replace Symbian, however the official word from Nokia is that the two operating systems will coexist. At present, Maemo only runs on Nokia’s flagship N900 smartphone, and its Internet tablets. However, it seems that Nokia will be moving to replace Symbian on their high-end N-Series smartphones. Fierce Wireless has more in-depth coverage of these OS changes.

The current development market for Maemo is truly in its infancy, while the incumbent Symbian has a historically large global market share, and if Nokia does end up shifting more phones to the Meamo OS, then we may see a shift in the demand for developers in the future.

The Cautiously Optimistic Outlook

The mobile OS market is far from having a true winner yet, and while that may mean developers’ skill sets are far from settling in, there is going to be plenty of work adapting — and re-adapting — applications to the changing platforms.

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Google App Engine VS. Amazon AWS: Apples and Oranges https://www.upwork.com/blog/2009/11/google-app-engine-vs-amazon-aws-apples-and-oranges/ https://www.upwork.com/blog/2009/11/google-app-engine-vs-amazon-aws-apples-and-oranges/#comments Wed, 30 Nov -0001 00:00:00 +0000 http://www.odesk.com/blog/?p=9239 Building an application that runs “in the cloud” is easier than ever before utilizing Amazon’s Web Services (AWS) and/or Google’s App Engine. Both give individuals and businesses the ability to start small and think big, while being prepared for the potential that your website or online application will grow in ways that would require the […]

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Building an application that runs “in the cloud” is easier than ever before utilizing Amazon’s Web Services (AWS) and/or Google’s App Engine. Both give individuals and businesses the ability to start small and think big, while being prepared for the potential that your website or online application will grow in ways that would require the kind of massive infrastructure that both Amazon and Google have already invested in. When comparing the merits of the two, it’s tempting to pit them against each other, however it’s really the case of selecting the right tool for the job.

Programming opportunities for these platforms has steadily increased on oDesk over the last year, and its unlikely that we’ll see either company or platform going away any time soon. As you’ll see in the graphs below the demand for Amazon AWS developers is higher on oDesk, and upon closer inspection of the trends pages for Amazon AWS and Google App Engine, you’ll notice that the ratio of programmers to available jobs is also higher for Amazon AWS.

Amazon AWS

Amazon’s Web Services, is an entire suite of services dedicated to providing cloud computing, database, and storage services. The main strength – and also main weakness – of AWS is in its extremely flexible configuration.

AWS Trend Data

EC2 (Elastic Compute Cloud) is the main attraction, offering users the ability to configure any combination of operating systems and servers imaginable via Amazon Machine Images. There is an entire library of pre-configured machine images to select from.

Amazon offers fair pricing for these services, but the configuration can be complex if you are developing an application that wants to take advantages of load balancing and other benefits of the cloud, you have total control, but have to do many tasks explicitly.

Google App Engine

The Google App Engine, is a Google-centric approach to cloud computing, that allows users to develop online applications using Python and Java based API’s that run specifically on Google’s App Engine servers. Google’s App Engine’s main strength – and also its weakness – is its ease of use.

GAE Trend Data

Many tasks are done automatically for you, which is great, unless you want them done in a very specific way, in which case you may be out of luck. Google offers a free trial of 500mb of storage space, and 5 million page views per month. Beyond that, pricing is comparable to Amazon’s.

Which one?

If you need flexibility, or are planning on integrating or migrating an existing web application, Amazon AWS is probably your best bet. If you need to get a simple application online quickly, and you or your development team are already comfortable in Java or Python, then Google App engine may be your quickest development path. If you are a provider looking to learn a new skill, Amazon AWS  appears to be the more fruitful skill.

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Optimizing Computer Performance for Online Work Success https://www.upwork.com/blog/2009/11/optimizing-computer-performance-for-online-work-success/ https://www.upwork.com/blog/2009/11/optimizing-computer-performance-for-online-work-success/#comments Wed, 30 Nov -0001 00:00:00 +0000 http://www.odesk.com/blog/?p=7906 If you’re working with others online, as a small business owner or freelancer, then your computer is the conduit to your work. Your computer’s efficiency correlates directly to the your work productivity. Below are some tips to optimize performance and make the most out of the computer you already own. Disclaimer: Changes of this type […]

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If you’re working with others online, as a small business owner or freelancer, then your computer is the conduit to your work. Your computer’s efficiency correlates directly to the your work productivity. Below are some tips to optimize performance and make the most out of the computer you already own.

Disclaimer: Changes of this type may have the potential to cause loss of data. Before making any alterations to your system, backing up your data is strongly recommended. Proceed at your own risk!

laptop and stethoscopeOS and Memory
Memory (RAM) is where programs live while your computer is turned on. Your operating system(OS) is the first program loaded in to memory. You or your OS can then load more programs. However, if your OS has been instructed to load spyware, viruses, worms, or non-essential software in to memory, this can cause your computer’s processing speed  to grind to a halt.

This particular article is aimed at users running Windows XP. However, if you are running a Mac, check out Onyx. In my experience most Mac problems stem from Disk Permissions issues. Onyx is great at fixing these issues.

Malware Cleaning and Prevention
PC Tools Spyware Doctor and PC Tools Anti-Virus, are both available as free downloads. They can help you identify and remove malware from your system.  Once they’re installed they will auto-update unobtrusively and let you know if there are any more problems.

If the above doesn’t work, then the offending piece of software is brand new and really evil. Check out the forums on MajorGeeks.com. Chances are someone else has had the same problem and the solution is there, or they are in the process of figuring it out.

Unwanted Legit Applications
Now, if your machine is still running slow there are probably some programs running that just aren’t necessary.

If you truly do not use the application, then remove the application using “Add/Remove Programs” (Located by click “Start” and then “Control Panel”).

Net Squirrel has a great article on “How to use MSCONFIG” a windows systems tool that can help  you make sure that only necessary programs are running at startup.

Clean Slate
If your problems originate with the “blue screen of death” (windows goes to a blue screen, and there will be a lot of text that you don’t understand), or if none of the tips above have yielded performance on par with your computer’s original state (from the manufacturer), then reformatting and reinstalling may be a good option. This is a sure fire way to get back to a good performing system. Consult your computer’s user manual, or see below. Re-installing windows will cause data loss. Backup.

Microsoft’s Instructions on How to Install/Upgrade/Reinstall Windows XP.

Final Thoughts
Keeping your system in a healthy state isn’t too tough if you do regular maintenance. However, keep in mind that some of the programs above have the potential to cause permanent data loss. Backing up your data is highly recommended before undertaking any of the above. If you are hesitant to delve this deep in to your system, then consider consulting a professional computer technician in your area.

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The Future of Work https://www.upwork.com/blog/2009/10/the-future-of-work/ https://www.upwork.com/blog/2009/10/the-future-of-work/#comments Wed, 30 Nov -0001 00:00:00 +0000 http://www.odesk.com/blog/?p=9180 The oDesk team recently pulled together our thoughts on the ways business, technology and the working world intersect. The result of our brainstorm? The Future of Work: An educational presentation that explores how technology is changing how the world works. The Future Of Work View more documents from Jeff Brenman. Check it out, share it, […]

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The oDesk team recently pulled together our thoughts on the ways business, technology and the working world intersect. The result of our brainstorm? The Future of Work: An educational presentation that explores how technology is changing how the world works.

Check it out, share it, discuss it – We’re excited about the future of work, and we hope that you will be too!

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iPhone vs. Android – Goliath vs. Goliath? https://www.upwork.com/blog/2009/10/iphone-vs-android-goliath-vs-goliath/ https://www.upwork.com/blog/2009/10/iphone-vs-android-goliath-vs-goliath/#comments Wed, 30 Nov -0001 00:00:00 +0000 http://www.odesk.com/blog/?p=8827 As sales of smartphones rises so does the demand for talented developers to exploit these new platforms. The two most popular mobile platforms in the oDesk marketplace are Apple’s iPhone OS, and Google’s Android OS. Below is a run down of how the demand for these skills has fared over the last 12 months, and […]

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As sales of smartphones rises so does the demand for talented developers to exploit these new platforms. The two most popular mobile platforms in the oDesk marketplace are Apple’s iPhone OS, and Google’s Android OS. Below is a run down of how the demand for these skills has fared over the last 12 months, and where developers can get started developing on these platforms.

iPhone
The Apple iTunes App Store for the iPhone and iPod Touch has been open for just over 15 months, with Apple reporting over 2 billion App downloads. The gold rush to develop iPhone apps, fueled by Apple’s marketing efforts and ambitious entrepreneurs, has led many buyers to the expert developers in the oDesk marketplace and fueled steady growth in demand for skilled iPhone developers. The iPhone’s addictive multi-touch screen and sleek design offer an attractive platform for potentially viral Apps.

oDesk iphone Trend Data

iPhone and iPod Touch development requires that you have an Intel-based Mac running Mac OS X Leopard, X-code, the iPhone SDK, and some knowledge of Objective-C language. Owning an iPhone or iPod touch would be necessary for proper testing, but isn’t required for writing and running programs in the included iPhone Simulator. Apple also offers a $99 iPhone Developer Program, but this is only necessary if you plan on releasing an app to the app store directly.

Android
Google’s Android mobile phone OS, without the fuel of Apple’s App Store has not garnered the same popularity on oDesk, but still employs a significant number of Android developers, outpacing demand for developers of any other mobile OS on oDesk aside from the iPhone.

oDesk Android Trend Data

Android is an Open Source, Linux-based OS running on phones from HTC, Motorola, Samsung and LG, with rumored devices appearing soon on devices from Sony Ericsson, BenQ, and Dell. The number of Android devices on the horizon makes it poised to be a dominant mobile OS. The Android Market also offers a free service for developers to sell their apps.

The Android SDK will run on Mac, Windows, or Linux, and requires Java JDK 5 or 6. Eclipse 3.5 is the recommended IDE for development. Android’s Developers site has everything you need to get started, except for a handset which can be any Android Device, or the official Android Dev Phone 1, a special unlocked HTC Dream.

The Market
While programming for the iPhone and Android OS are the most in demand mobile phone development skills on oDesk, they aren’t the only mobile operating systems. Admob’s August 2009 Mobile Metrics report shows that of phones using their ad network globally, iPhone OS claiming the majority, and Nokia’s Symbian OS, and RIM’s Blackberry OS both beating out Android. However, Android is rising from last year, and Symbian and Blackberry are both falling. This breakdown speaks volumes for the confidence in Android’s future, and to the brilliantly standardized outlet that the Apple App Store and Android Market provide as both a service to end users and developers.

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Trend Spotlight: Microsoft Silverlight https://www.upwork.com/blog/2009/10/trend-spotlight-microsoft-silverlight/ https://www.upwork.com/blog/2009/10/trend-spotlight-microsoft-silverlight/#comments Wed, 30 Nov -0001 00:00:00 +0000 http://www.odesk.com/blog/?p=8448 Microsoft Silverlight is a browser plugin that allows the delivery of rich media experiences over the web. If you’ve ever watched a movie on Netflix using “Watch Instantly” then you are familiar with the power of Silverlight’s video streaming capabilities when coupled with Microsoft’s IIS Media Services Server. While streaming video was Silverlight 1.0’s main […]

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Microsoft Silverlight is a browser plugin that allows the delivery of rich media experiences over the web. If you’ve ever watched a movie on Netflix using “Watch Instantly” then you are familiar with the power of Silverlight’s video streaming capabilities when coupled with Microsoft’s IIS Media Services Server. While streaming video was Silverlight 1.0’s main focus, iteration 2.0 expanded upon that, offering the ability to run programs written using any .NET language. Version 3.0 has been out since July (notice the spike on the trend chart for Silverlight developers below) and boasts the ability to stream 1080p HD video, as well as a slew of upgrades that speed up performance and improve the development process.

Silverlight on oDesk
There are currently 520 programmers on oDesk with Silverlight experience. oDesk’s data on the trends for Silverlight developers shows a significant increase in demand over the past six months. While this isn’t as impressive as oDesk’s data on recent Flash developers trends, Silverlight 3 offers some fantastic new features that should keep the demand for talented Silverlight developers on the rise.

silverlight_trend

Key Features
Highlighted below are some of the key features that Silverlight offers. See Scott Gu’s article on Silverlight 3 for more in depth reading.

GPU accelration – Processing of video and graphics can be offloaded to the client’s graphics card, making streaming of 1080p and rendering of 2D and 3d graphics less CPU intensive.

Smooth Streaming – Microsoft’s IIS Media Services Server can vary video streaming bit rates on the fly to insure smooth playback, regardless of client’s CPU load or network congestion.

Codec Support – H.264, MPEG-4, and AAC formats are now supported, as well as the ability to write custom decoders.

Offline Support – Silverlight applications can be configured for local installation and offline use.

Expression Blend 3 – A developer’s tool for Expression Studio that offers a whole other blog post’s worth of tools, including: importing photoshop layers, Sketchflow application prototyping, support for behavior components that encapsulate complex design interactions, and much more.

How To Get Started Developing
Microsoft is offering all of the tools needed to get started for free. Download Microsoft’s Web Platform, which includes Visual Web Developer, SQL Server Express, Silverlight Tools and IIS and ASP.NET Extensions.

Silverlight.net is a great place to read tutorials, and view example projects, and Shawn Wildermuth’s Blog has some great examples and screencasts as well.

Considerations
When choosing to use a new technology, it can be tough to justify being one of the early adopters. Some statistics are showing that Silverlight 3 is currently installed on nearly 20% of all computers. While this is great – especially considering it has only been available for just under 3 months – it is no where near Flash’s 80-90% installation representation. However, Silverlight does tackle some media applications, particularly streaming video, that Flash and Java just can’t handle as well.

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Stay Employed Q4 2009 – Jobs with the Least Competition and Greatest Opportunity https://www.upwork.com/blog/2009/10/stay-employed-q4-2009-jobs-with-the-least-competition-and-greatest-opportunity/ https://www.upwork.com/blog/2009/10/stay-employed-q4-2009-jobs-with-the-least-competition-and-greatest-opportunity/#comments Wed, 30 Nov -0001 00:00:00 +0000 http://www.odesk.com/blog/?p=8560 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 […]

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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.

opportunity_sign

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.

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Top Tech Skills You Used to Know https://www.upwork.com/blog/2009/09/top-tech-skills-you-used-to-know/ https://www.upwork.com/blog/2009/09/top-tech-skills-you-used-to-know/#comments Wed, 30 Nov -0001 00:00:00 +0000 http://www.odesk.com/blog/?p=7115 The speed of innovation means new technologies are being introduced every day. What you may not realize is that some of the “older” tech knowledge is still in demand today, and with an abundance of new-generation programmers flooding the digital realm, programmers with some old-school knowledge can be worth a pretty penny.  Here are five […]

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The speed of innovation means new technologies are being introduced every day. What you may not realize is that some of the “older” tech knowledge is still in demand today, and with an abundance of new-generation programmers flooding the digital realm, programmers with some old-school knowledge can be worth a pretty penny.  Here are five savvy skills from yesteryear that can still prove themselves valuable, even if they don’t pop up in every day conversation.


LOTUS NOTES

Lotus Notes has a history spanning more than 20 years, causing some industry analysts and mainstream business press writers to make predictions of its impending demise, but the numbers don’t lie: IBM reported an increase of 100 million seats over the last decade. While the market for jobs requiring Lotus Notes skills has been up and down, there are a few folks out there consistently looking for those with the knowledge to handle any Lotus-related curveball that may come their way.

UNIX SHELL

The Unix shell was unusual when it was first created in 1977. On systems using a windowing system (as many do these days) some users may never use the shell directly. On Unix systems, the shell is still the implementation language of system startup scripts, including the program that starts the windowing system, the programs that facilitate access to the Internet, and many other essential functions. Due to the recent movement in favor of open source software, most Unix shells have at least one version that is distributed under an open source license, which may further explain why this “old school” technology is still a desirable job skill.

COLDFUSION

ColdFusion was anything but cold when it hit the digital realm in the mid 1990s. As the internet exploded in popularity, CF and its legions of programmers rode the dot-com wave to great success thanks to a winning combination of functionality and simplicity. Stiff competition over the years has left  ColdFusion overshadowed by other offerings such as Rails and PHP, though the language does maintain a devout following that actively seeks out other CF aficionados.

ColdFusion Graph

COBOL

No, we’re not talking about the ancient planet that served as the cradle of humanity in SyFy Channel’s Battlestar Galactica (besides, that’s spelled with a K), but it is nearly as old. With roots dating back to the late 1950s, COBOL is one of the industry’s oldest programming languages, and according to Stephen Kelly of Micro Focus, still “equates to 80% of the world’s actively used code.” It may not be cutting edge, but there’s no denying the benefits of being able to work with, modify, and update a language that remains so prevalent in modern society. It may not lead to an exclusive contract, but in a world where few institutions even teach COBOL, knowing this language can be a valuable asset indeed.

FORTRAN

If COBOL is ancient, FORTRAN is prehistoric, at least in the technological timeline. 1953 marks the birth of this particular programming language, and what it lacks in sophistication, it makes up for in speed and simplicity. Versions of FORTRAN code still serve front line duty in numerous applications, especially in the engineering and scientific realm, where FORTRAN’s ability to efficiently crunch numbers with little fanfare make it an ideal language for complex calculations.

The hot jobs aren’t necessarily the “hip” programming gigs. Rather, they exist at the point where demand outweighs supply, and that’s not always at the crest of the wave. Programmers know just how fast this industry moves. Today’s in-demand language could well be tomorrow’s history lesson, but having a diverse background can easily mean the difference between scrapping for work with millions of fresh programmers, or showcasing yourself to an under-served niche segment where knowledge of older languages reign supreme—and gets you the job.


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Of Sinking Ships and Freelance Lifeboats https://www.upwork.com/blog/2009/09/of-sinking-ships-and-freelance-lifeboats/ https://www.upwork.com/blog/2009/09/of-sinking-ships-and-freelance-lifeboats/#comments Wed, 30 Nov -0001 00:00:00 +0000 http://www.odesk.com/blog/?p=6853 One morning you get up and you have a job. By the time you get your cup of coffee, you're unemployed.

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letgo

The drowning starts with the conversation you never saw coming, and the conversation comes regardless of how long you’ve been with the publication or how valuable the publisher once considered you. One morning you get up and you have a job. By the time you get your cup of coffee, you’re unemployed.

Or at least that’s how it happened to me last year. When a certain national magazine pulled me out of the freelance ocean almost six years ago, slapped me with a name tag and brought me on board the ship, I thought my self-employed days were over. For more than half a decade I basked in the glow of a steady income, a snappy business card and a real title: Media Editor.

Never mind that the title itself was a constant bone of contention between me and my boss. I mean, really, I was the book and resource editor, so why not just call me that and spare me the constant clarifications at every introduction. What’s a media editor? It’s a book and resource editor. Oh. Insert quizzical expressions here, ad nauseum. (By the way, the answer “because it’s too long to fit in the masthead”, is not a good reason to keep a title so nondescript.)

Now, the squabble over the title seems silly. The editor with whom I waged this battle was laid off long ago, and now I have been too. The economy is rocky, the fear is on, and fancy titles are being lost every day. One friend took a pay cut to keep her job and title at a major publisher, but many haven’t been be that lucky. Companies are battening the hatches, plugging the leaks and tossing “dead weight” — publicists, writers, and editors — from the hold. I, myself, was mercifully walked off the plank by a friend who couldn’t help but cry. I mean, really, who wants the job of telling someone on their first day back from a medical leave to treat breast cancer that they no longer have a job?

job

So, post-layoff, I scrambled to update and add pizazz to my resume. (Does kicking cancer in the backside count as a relevant skill?) And, in the back of my mind, I couldn’t help but sense that it was a futile effort. Even today, publishers aren’t hiring and periodicals are sinking fast.

What makes a writer think they can get freelance work, let alone another job?

Does it matter that I sold a bunch of personal essays in 2003? Do you think perhaps that could get me a book deal? Does it mean anything to anyone that my cover story in 2005 was one of the magazine’s best-selling issues?

The answer right now, I believe, is no. None of those things helped me keep my job and none of them got me another. As it has always been in the world of publishing, it’s not what you know or what you’ve accomplished, it’s who you know. Know the captain and your ticket is a guarantee; only know the deckhand? You probably won’t make it to the galley.

What I didn’t know, during those first few months of resumes and cover letters, is that there is a whole new — and very different — world of publishing on the internet, where the old “shipping” rules are not as hard and fast. A writer can become part of the right community simply by logging in to the right forum or registering with the right freelancing site. Magic can happen overnight on the internet, publishing can happen overnight on the internet.

Still, I’m digging through the e-mail contacts, looking for the first time at the business cards stuffed in my laptop case (my apologies) and pulling up the cell phone numbers, signaling the shores and hoping against hope that the next time a group of happily employed editors are sitting around a conference table and the subject of a potential freelance gig comes up, my name springs instantly to mind.

Instead of yours.

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Magento vs. osCommerce – Online Stores Mean Business https://www.upwork.com/blog/2009/08/magento-vs-oscommerce-online-stores-mean-business/ https://www.upwork.com/blog/2009/08/magento-vs-oscommerce-online-stores-mean-business/#comments Wed, 30 Nov -0001 00:00:00 +0000 http://www.odesk.com/blog/?p=7070 The past year has been a roller coaster ride for the economy, but tracking open source e-commerce programs over that same time period shows that online sales are still serious business. Here, we take a look at how programmers with skills for two popular choices in open source e-commerce have been faring on oDesk. osCommerce […]

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The past year has been a roller coaster ride for the economy, but tracking open source e-commerce programs over that same time period shows that online sales are still serious business. Here, we take a look at how programmers with skills for two popular choices in open source e-commerce have been faring on oDesk.

osCommerce

osCommerce has been around a while and  there is a very well established and responsive community to offer support. There are also innumerable ‘modules’ to be found on the OS site, which allow for increased customization and osCommerce’s simplicity and flexibility means these can be easy to add.

But the appeal of osCommerce is in its ability to be translated and localized into any language. The structure of the site, written in php and using clear definitions, means all the text seen on an osCommerce store is handily stored in reference files which contain only plain text for translation – minimizing the risk of file corruption by a web page translator.

osCommerce has been around a while, but those versed in this area have seen a dramatic increase in job availability over the last year. The number of jobs posted each month requesting knowledge of the platform has risen to over 5 times the number of osCommerce jobs available in July of 2008.

Magento

This newer store scores highly for its look and overall features. The backend is well organized and most items of concern are thoroughly covered from the get-go, including re-writable URLs (a must for a well optimized online store).

Magento also has ‘Store View’ which allows online shop keepers the ability to set up multiple stores – with the same products, at different prices, and even in different languages – from a single admin area.

This also means that translating a Magento store is facilitated from within – many language packs are already available, so all the hard-coded static content and navigation (add to basket, subscribe to newsletter, invoices, checkout, etc.) are ready at the click of a button, while keeping the admin area in your native language.

Magento is newer, so it isn’t surprising that this area started with fewer jobs posted per month than osCommerce, but has maintained a more steady rate of increase over the past year. The number of jobs posted each month that request a knowledge of Magento has skyrocketed during that time – there are 13 times more jobs available for Magento programmers than there were in July 2008!

Specific Features

For those curious about the specific features of each platform, the folks over at DCKAP have put together a handy chart. But either way you go, online commerce is a rising trend – and serious business!

Had experience with either Magento or osCommerce? Share your perspective in the comments!

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Should Business Executives Be Twittering? https://www.upwork.com/blog/2009/08/business-executives-twittering-twitter-ceos/ https://www.upwork.com/blog/2009/08/business-executives-twittering-twitter-ceos/#comments Wed, 30 Nov -0001 00:00:00 +0000 http://www.odesk.com/blog/?p=5362 With the rise of Twitter, business executives are under pressure to maximize this instant (and mass) social networking medium to leverage their influence for the good of their companies.

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With the rise of Twitter, business executives are under pressure to maximize this instant (and mass) social networking medium to leverage their influence for the good of their companies. Many, like Zappos CEO Tony Hsieh (@zappos), use Twitter both to build community within their corporations and to market their businesses (and, let’s face it, their own names and personalities while they are at it).

Checking phone

However, with this trend, another phenomenon was birthed and now flourishes: the Ghost Tweeter. For those not familiar with the term, here’s a quick explanation. You’re a very busy CEO. You don’t have time to tell your followers what you are doing 15 times a day. Or, perhaps, you simply suck at one-liners. You can’t “micro-blog” via Twitter, because you didn’t get to where you are chatting or learning texting lingo, you got to where you are by being a financial wiz with ideas and leadership skills — among them, the gift of delegating. So, when you feel the pressure to tweet, you hire a ghostwriter to do it for you.

Ghost-tweeting is, by most accounts, about as respected as seducing an intern. Some call it smart, others call it lying, but don’t ever put ghost, Twitter and a CEO’s name in the same sentence unless you mean it. (See the comments about AOL founder Steve Case here. And, one more time, for the record, we didn’t mean to imply the rumor was true.)

Business Meeting

One alternative to ghost-tweeting is having various employees tweet openly under the company name — which works for Jet Blue airlines (@JetBlue) CEO David Barger. The brand is promoted, the business gets a personality, and the CEO doesn’t have to bother tweeting himself or using a ghost-tweeter.

Youth Specialties CEO Mark Oestreicher once dabbled in Twitter, but gave it up when he realized how much time social networking was taking out of his work days. “I loved Twitter while I was using it,” he recently told oDesk, “and did feel there was some benefit to my organization.  But, ultimately, I found that Twitter (along with Facebook and my blog) were stealing too much of my time, focus, presence and creativity.”

Oestreicher went on to explain that since he pulled the plug on social networking, those four important elements have returned to his daily life as a CEO. Like Jet Blue, Youth Specialties currently relies on the company tweets (@YS_Scoop) to build the brand and communicate.

Is it the same thing, for followers, as getting tweets from the CEO herself or himself? Maybe not. But the average CEO may not be able to juggle active tweeting without taking away from her valuable time and energy.

 peoplegettingtweets

So, is ghost-tweeting — provided no one ever knows it isn’t you — the way to go? After all, in the publishing world, ghostwriting has put many an autobiography on the best seller shelf at your local bookstore and no one seems to mind.

The answer, it seems, is that for now some form of tweeting on behalf of the company is an important part of marketing in today’s world. But the pros and cons of actual CEO tweeting might depend on who you ask.

Note: For more CEOs to follow on Twitter, see our 25 Entrepreneurs and Businesses You Should Be Following on Twitter.

tamaraforodesksmaller

How is your company using Twitter? Interested in learning more about companies leveraging the power of social media? Let me know in the comments!

– Tamara

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Freelance-Friendly SXSW Panel Picker Ideas https://www.upwork.com/blog/2009/08/freelance-friendly-sxsw-panel-picker-ideas/ https://www.upwork.com/blog/2009/08/freelance-friendly-sxsw-panel-picker-ideas/#comments Wed, 30 Nov -0001 00:00:00 +0000 http://www.odesk.com/blog/?p=6969 With over 2,000 panels to choose from, how will you ever decide what to vote for? We've come up with out top SXSW Interactive Panels that we feel would be the most valuable to freelancers.

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We were excited to see that the SXSW Panel Picker was open for voting, and even more excited to see that there were a number of panels suggested that freelancers would find valuable. Here are our 15 top picks for your SXSW Interactive panel votes – log in and vote to make sure freelancers and the companies that support them get the tools they need to succeed at SXSW!

Freelancers (and the Companies that Love Them!)
Kill Your Cubicle: Productive Collaboration and Remote Work – oDesk CEO Gary Swart teams forces with leaders of companies who have successfully leveraged remote workers in order to help businesses and freelancers find new ways to overcome the obstacles to working together.
Good Client/Bad ClientDarryl Cili discusses how to separate the best clients from the truly evil ones.
Visual Problem Solving: 5 Diagrams in 15 Minutes – Dean Meyers spells out how to solve problems visually – a useful tool for freelancers trying to communicate with buyers (and vice versa!)
Picking Your Path – A panel of designers and developers will talk about working full-time, part-time and all the time for big agencies, small agencies, and solo.
Successful Networking for Introverts, Rebels and MisfitsJan Triplett, Ph.D. walks participants through creating a realistic networking strategy for those accustomed to alternative work environments.
Funemployed – Success Stories from the Laid Off Community Chris Hutchins, from oDesk favorite LaidOffCamp, showcases some unique ways that people have spent their time while unemployed, featuring not only successful startups, but also touch on the various unique and exciting ways one can spend their newly found “free time”

panelpicker-formula

Freelance Developers
Seven Ways To Stand Out In A Sea of Software DevelopersMicrosoft‘s Jeff Blankenburg presents focuses on 7 things you can DO TODAY to make you stand out in the “sea of the same.”
Coding for the Man: Government Development From HomeMatthew Burton will explain how to get started on the Intelligence Community’s open source platform and other civic coding initiatives.
Selling your Milk When the Cow is FreeJeff Eaton and others discuss making your idea succeed if you work with open source business models.
Coding for Pleasure: Developing Killer Spare-Time Apps – Adam Pash of Lifehacker fame talks about improving your life–and impact others’ lives–by coding for pleasure in your spare time.

Freelance Designers
Once Upon a Web Design – Brand StorytellingDavid Stagg encourages you to step away from mere Web design and live happily ever after in the realms of the digital Brand narrative.
Are You There? Hello? Tips for Better Remote Collaboration Sara Nelson, of Tapir Studios, offers a design-specific look at remote collaboration.
Design, Collaboration, Pokemon: How Not to Offend People Globally – Chris Moeller, of Yahoo!, discusses designing for global markets, collaborating with colleagues overseas, and not offending your international customers.
A Pragmatic Approach to Wild Creativity – Finding your creative strengths and applying them to life and business issues.

EricaMadmen_icon

I may not admit to being caught up in the Mad Men frenzy, but I will admit to wanting to go to SXSW Interactive really really ridiculously badly! What panels are you dying to see at SXSW? What other conferences are you itching to go to? Let me know in the comments!

– Erica

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The Death of Hi5? https://www.upwork.com/blog/2009/08/the-death-of-hi5/ https://www.upwork.com/blog/2009/08/the-death-of-hi5/#comments Wed, 30 Nov -0001 00:00:00 +0000 http://www.odesk.com/blog/?p=6921 Many lately have been predicting the fall of Hi5, the third largest social netowrking site (after MySpace & Facebook)  Does Hi5 have what it takes to co-exist with the big boys?  Lets take a closer look… The Market Share As you can see from the graph below, Hi5 may be in the top three, but […]

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Many lately have been predicting the fall of Hi5, the third largest social netowrking site (after MySpace & Facebook)  Does Hi5 have what it takes to co-exist with the big boys?  Lets take a closer look…

The Market Share

As you can see from the graph below, Hi5 may be in the top three, but it’s a distant third.  In fact, in recent months their unique visotor counts seem to have been in a downward trend while MySpace and Facebook have been gaining market share at a rapid pace.

 

The Demographics

The one thing that has historically kept Hi5 from being more popular in the United States may be it’s one saving grace.  Lets take a look at the user demographics for the top three sites…see anything unusual about Hi5?

table_1

Thats right, Hi5 has the dominant position in every category except “Caucasian”.   The one that especially stands out is “Hispanic”.  Hi5 has over 10 times the market share in the Hispanic community than Facebook, and nearly 5 times that of MySpace!  Right now Facebook and MySpace might be hot in the USA and UK, but eventually their growth will slow in those areas.  If Hi5 can leverage their current user base to expand further into non-english speaking markets, they could quickly become a formidable contender to MySpace and Facebook.
 

The Conclusion: Is There Room For All Three?

Some things are hot in one area of the world and don’t catch on quite as well in others.  Look at the game “Lineage”.  One of the hottest Multiplayer MMO games in the world, with a subscriber base of over 1 million, but almost all of them in Korea.  Even the American juggernaut “World of Warcraft”, isn’t able to penetrate the Korean market with the same success they had in the USA.

Just like there is room for a McDonalds, Wendys, Taco Bell, etc. on every corner, there is room for multiple “flavors” of Social Networking sites.  The one that fails will most likely be the one that tries to be all things to all people.

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Remembering Cory https://www.upwork.com/blog/2009/08/remembering-cory/ https://www.upwork.com/blog/2009/08/remembering-cory/#comments Wed, 30 Nov -0001 00:00:00 +0000 http://www.odesk.com/blog/?p=6740 As all of our Pinoy providers well know, former President of the Philippines Corazon “Cory” Aquino passed away last weekend at the age of 76. Cory was the wife of Benigno “Ninoy” Aquino, the opposition leader who was famously assassinated at the Manila airport in 1983, after which Cory, a self-proclaimed “plain housewife” with no […]

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As all of our Pinoy providers well know, former President of the Philippines Corazon “Cory” Aquino passed away last weekend at the age of 76. Cory was the wife of Benigno “Ninoy” Aquino, the opposition leader who was famously assassinated at the Manila airport in 1983, after which Cory, a self-proclaimed “plain housewife” with no previous political aspirations, was swept into power under the People Power Revolution.

I was lucky enough to meet Cory in 2006 at the Aquino Museum, and I thought I’d post this picture as my little tribute to Cory.

michael_and_cory_2

I’m the big guy on the left, my lovely wife Amanda is second from the right, and my father-in-law (born in Bicol) is on the right. And front and center, gracious and full of optimism, wearing her trademark yellow, is President Cory.

Just thought I’d share!

Michael Levinson
Director of Products, oDesk

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Stay Employed – Today’s Jobs with the Least Competition and Greatest Opportunity https://www.upwork.com/blog/2009/07/stay-employed-todays-jobs-with-the-least-competition-and-greatest-opportunity/ https://www.upwork.com/blog/2009/07/stay-employed-todays-jobs-with-the-least-competition-and-greatest-opportunity/#comments Wed, 30 Nov -0001 00:00:00 +0000 http://www.odesk.com/blog/?p=6413 . Due to the popularity of our Stay Employed – Jobs with the Least Competition and Greatest Opportunity post last December (and the number of requests we’ve received for updated information), we thought we would follow up with more interesting information from the oDesk Trends vaults to help you develop your resume and determine what […]

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Due to the popularity of our Stay Employed – Jobs with the Least Competition and Greatest Opportunity post last December (and the number of requests we’ve received for updated information), we thought we would follow up with more interesting information from the oDesk Trends vaults to help you develop your resume and determine what skills to focus on to stay employed in these challenging economic times. We will take an updated look at various skills and technologies and the competition – or lack thereof – for positions needing those skills.

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In viewing these numbers, keep in mind this is for oDesk which is primarily concerned with placement for freelance and contract positions. This may vary with respect to full time placement numbers, though we think the data is useful to all.

In looking at the table below we give you three columns, one with the skill or technology, the second with the total jobs posted and the last with the Fill ratio. The Fill Ratio  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 high rate indicating high competition for the skill or technology.

Skill Average # Jobs Per Month Fill Ratio
iPhone 93 23.96%
AJAX 315 27.07%
Java 75 27.65%
Graphics 106 29.13%
XHTML 163 29.31%
SQL 112 29.89%
XML 111 30.28%
PHP/IIS/MS SQL 114 30.31%
JavaScript 339 30.90%
SEO 201 30.97%
MySQL 658 31.65%
PHP 731 33.84%
English 109 34.99%
Flash 257 35.86%
Writer 101 36.36%
Joomla 236 37.11%
Drupal 117 37.75%
Data Entry 120 37.95%
html 237 38.16%
WordPress 197 39.36%
Photoshop 285 39.61%
CSS 150 42.71%
Excel 106 48.31%

First up, iPhone Programmer positions have the lowest fill rate which means the competition is lowest in this particular field. Addition good news: the field is growing, as the number of positions requiring iPhone development skills is growing at a rapid rate as witnessed on our iPhone Developer Trends page.

.Moving down the table we see that AJAX developers are still in demand with 315 jobs posted per month and a 27% fill rate. PHP is still very popular and competitive on oDesk, but developing some additional skills in an area with a lower fill rate might help you keep up a steady work flow.

.The .NET languages that showed so promisingly last December have fallen from our chart, as the positions are in high demand and are often-filled.

.Adding fuel to the ongoing PostgreSQL vs. MySQL debate, MySQL programmers have a strong showing on our chart, with the highest average number of jobs posted per month and a respectable fill rate at 30%. At 658 jobs/month, this is almost double the skill needed for those working with the second highest number of jobs per month, Javascript programmers.

On the less technical front, freelance writers and those with English skills are each enjoying an average of over 100 job opportunities per month with a combined average fill rate of 35%.

Hopefully you’ll find this information useful in guiding your career path. More information can be found on the skills and languages above, as well as many other desirable skills, on the oDesk Trends page.

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oDesk Visitors from Near and Far https://www.upwork.com/blog/2009/07/odesk-visitors-from-near-and-far/ https://www.upwork.com/blog/2009/07/odesk-visitors-from-near-and-far/#comments Wed, 30 Nov -0001 00:00:00 +0000 http://www.odesk.com/blog/?p=6482 Here at oDesk, we really enjoy getting visitors. We have a nifty office space, lots of food handy, and you can challenge one of us to a game of ping pong or foosball if you’re feeling lucky. Recently, we had a nice visit from Paul Sedacove, one of our affiliates and principals at Oggetto Web.  […]

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Here at oDesk, we really enjoy getting visitors. We have a nifty office space, lots of food handy, and you can challenge one of us to a game of ping pong or foosball if you’re feeling lucky.

paul_and_gary-667x500px

Recently, we had a nice visit from Paul Sedacove, one of our affiliates and principals at Oggetto Web.  The 17 providers at Oggetto have worked 9,000+ hours on oDesk in the last ten months with a handful of customers.

Paul had great things to say about the help he received from our staff (nice job, Ron and Kendra!), and  Paul mentioned that our platform was ‘perfect’ and had a few very minor suggestions to improve.

Paul left us with a book on Russia, which he signed, ‘from Russia with love’.

We were also visited last week by Elliott Ng, Co-Founder, VP of Marketing at UpTake and founder of CNReviews.com. Elliott brought his video camera, and chatted with our CEO Gary Swart about outsourcing, oDesk, and the global impact of remote work.

The video is also available at The China Business Network at: http://www.thechinabusinessshow.com/special-features/gary-swart-ceo-odesk/2009/07/

Going to be near Menlo Park? Want to stop by and tell us about your oDesk experience? Let us know – we’ll show you around (and maybe even let you win a ping pong game or two)!

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A Retail Employee’s Guide to Free Stuff https://www.upwork.com/blog/2009/07/retail-employees-guide-to-free-stuff/ https://www.upwork.com/blog/2009/07/retail-employees-guide-to-free-stuff/#comments Wed, 30 Nov -0001 00:00:00 +0000 http://www.odesk.com/blog/?p=5505 Long Hours, No Weekends or Holidays off, Low Wages and No respect; If this sounds familiar to you, you just may work in a Retail job. Well, fear no more, my Red-Collared Friends, it's time to get some free stuff and then give yourself a raise with our newly compiled list.

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Long hours, no weekends or holidays off, low wages and no respect… If this sounds familiar to you, you just may work in a typical retail job.  Well, fear no more, my red-collared friends, it’s time to get some free stuff and give yourself a raise with our newly compiled list:
WooHoo!!! We Won!

Intel’s Retail Edge Program
Once again, Intel has come through like a champ with their “Big Deal” bundle for Retail Employees.  This year you get an Intel DX58S0 Motherboard, the Intel i7 920 Processor, and Windows Vista Ultimate 64 Bit (with a free Windows 7 upgrade voucher) for $289!  Lose the motherboard and it’s only $129!  All I can say is wow.  You better hurry up though, the deal ends on July 22nd, 2009 and you have to verify your employment via fax, and take a bunch of online tests (about 1 to 2 hours worth) before you can place your order.
Microsoft’s ExpertZone
Take quizzes, get free stuff, and learn about cutting edge Microsoft technology at the same time.  Can you say Free Windows 7?
AMD’s Retail Access Program
Although slightly more confusing to figure out, the AMD Retail Access Bundle for Retail Employees offers a deal similar to Intel’s: The AMD Phenom II X4 920, ATI Radeon HD 4850. and Free Video Game.  We don’t know the price yet, but it’s not available until August 9th, 2009 so you’ve got plenty of time.  Just make sure you verify your employment well in advance.
Playstation’s Retail Loyality Site
Again, take quizzes, earn points, and get free PS2 or PS3 games.  Sweet!
Freelancing with oDesk!
Free stuff is great, but when you need the real deal (extra cash), we think online work makes the most sense – freedom in scheduling, choose the assignments that interest you, and work from anywhere in the world – no need to commute! For online work, oDesk.com is unmatched.  Find opportunities for almost any skill, whether you are freelance Web developers, freelance software developers, or Virtual Assistants (as well as positions in Data Entry, Sales, Marketing, PR, Statistical Analysis, Networking, Programming and more!)
Did we miss a few links to “free stuff” websites for retail employees?  Please post them below!

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Pricing Skills and Services as a Freelancer: Part 2, Tips and Quotes https://www.upwork.com/blog/2009/07/pricing-skills-and-services-as-a-freelancer-part-2-tips-and-quotes/ https://www.upwork.com/blog/2009/07/pricing-skills-and-services-as-a-freelancer-part-2-tips-and-quotes/#comments Wed, 30 Nov -0001 00:00:00 +0000 http://www.odesk.com/blog/?p=6149 Last week I began my series on pricing with some heavyweight current theory. I believe it’s almost always worth the time to become a better pricing and negotiation expert as the actions taken in the few hours of settling on terms can affect the output of countless hours working under those terms. A big part […]

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Last week I began my series on pricing with some heavyweight current theory. I believe it’s almost always worth the time to become a better pricing and negotiation expert as the actions taken in the few hours of settling on terms can affect the output of countless hours working under those terms. A big part of negotiation is confidence and mental conditioning–how you react and respond will signal how ready you are to do business. People found ZOPA a valuable topic and I’ll find a way to drill deeper into it in future posts – the gist to keep in mind with ZOPA is all about knowing your customer intimately.

This is a topic many bloggers cover and, in that spirit, this week’s post is about exercise for the pricing mind. I’ve collected some of my favorite blogs on the topic of pricing programming and freelance services and extracted the quotes I found most useful.

A web design service’s blog tips on pricing:
Some potential clients will think your prices are high no matter what you charge. Some clients will understand what’s involved with designing and developing a website and others will not. Because there are people out there willing to design a website for next to nothing, some clients will think that you should be willing to do the same, even if your service is completely different. Try not to worry about turning clients off, and focus more on proving a service that’s worth the price (and being able to explain why it’s worth the price).”

A web design blogger’s top pricing tips:
Some jobs will present challenges and opportunities for you to improve your skills and your experience. If you are interested in learning a new aspect of design, you may want to seek out projects that will provide those opportunities and price your services to be very competitive. Of course, if the job is a learning experience for you, you should communicate this with the client so they understand the situation and so they do not assume that you are an expert in this area.”

Price your skills wellAn MBA’s guide to consulting service pricing:
One reason for so many different rates charged by consultants is that we operate in a world of imperfect knowledge. The first step in achieving better fees is to understand the difference between working as a temp and running a business. When consultants realize that their positions are as valid as those of the clients they serve, they will be able to set fees and estimate time for projects that let both of them achieve your goals.”

Competition: GigaOm on pay trends in the US, the pressure is on:
Six months ago, more than half of U.S. employees couldn’t fathom taking a pay cut, but now 42 percent are willing receive a lower paycheck if it increases the likelihood that they’ll keep their jobs. Employees are also willing to do more than just take a pay decrease — nearly three-quarters are willing to take on more responsibilities at work and 64 percent would work longer hours to increase their job security.”

Nine freelance pricing factors:
Signs that demand is high include too much work coming in, other freelancers being overloaded and people telling you they’ve been struggling to find someone to do the job. Signs that demand is low include finding yourself competing to win jobs, a shortage of work and fellow freelancers reentering the workforce.”

How to be a highly paid freelance programmer:
Contribute to open source projects.

Think from the buyer’s perspective
Ask the developer some probing questions about the most important parts of the project. You will likely discover some assumptions that you or the developer are making.”

I’m curious to see what people’s favorite quotes from these selections are. Post your favorite quotes into the comments!

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Humor at the Corporate Layoff Gallows https://www.upwork.com/blog/2009/07/humor-at-the-corporate-layoff-gallows/ https://www.upwork.com/blog/2009/07/humor-at-the-corporate-layoff-gallows/#comments Wed, 30 Nov -0001 00:00:00 +0000 http://www.odesk.com/blog/?p=6025 With US unemployment hitting almost 10% this month, the number of awkward, jarring, painful, surprising and horrific layoff moments at work have hit an all time high. These are the moments in corporate relationships of high emotional tension and dark humor. I saw this phenomenon firsthand; at the end of a spring internship, one of […]

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layoffWith US unemployment hitting almost 10% this month, the number of awkward, jarring, painful, surprising and horrific layoff moments at work have hit an all time high. These are the moments in corporate relationships of high emotional tension and dark humor. I saw this phenomenon firsthand; at the end of a spring internship, one of my friends stuck a “hire me” sign on his back (an homage of sorts to a “kick me” sign). He walked around all day pretending to be oblivious to it, provoking laughter wherever he went. It was gallows humor; after six months his run was ending without an offer to stay full-time. I scoured the web to see just how awkward it can get…

Sequoia’s Mystery Scrooge

When you care enough to send the very worst

“Which startup laid off some folks recently, but had planned to make much deeper cuts? They went as far as having their outsourced HR firm send out final paperwork and checks to a number of employees — and then changed their mind. The CEO was so spacey he wasn’t sure who got sent the paperwork. So he sent an email out to the entire company saying, “Please ignore any package and letter you might get from our HR firm – you’re not fired.” Ouch.

Squidoo’s Layoff Queen

I can’t imagine she was that professional before the lay off…

“I yelled, I ranted and raved, I threw my badge across the office, and I cried. Then I began to beg, much to my chagrin and humiliation. I said I would take a demotion or admin work, anything to keep my job. After about a half hour of enduring what has to be the worst layoff in my entire life, I was ‘escorted’ back to my office to collect my things and then out the door, in front everyone. I was so angry that I wanted to get revenge on everyone in that company, and I am not a violent person.”

Forbes’ Brotherly Love

Because laughter is the best revenge…

The announcement, made late Tuesday by Chairman and Editor-in-Chief Steve Forbes, came amidst a new wave of layoffs at the magazine and caught few observers by surprise. The company in recent years has sold off assets ranging from its south seas island, a helicopter from the company yacht, Faberge eggs, a Colorado cattle ranch, toy soldiers, a palace in Morocco and historical documents including Lincoln’s final address as President. The Forbes building itself, at 60 Fifth Avenue, was put on the market in 2007.

Yesterday’s announcement squelched rumors the company has nothing left to sell.

“Pop always told us,” said Mr. Forbes, referring to his late father, legendary publisher Malcolm Forbes, “that people are our greatest asset. Now the time has come to prove him right by monetizing one of my three brothers.”  Exactly which brother would be sold was not immediately clear.”

layoff2
Snowball.com’s Freezeout

A leaky situation at snowball…

Here’s how the layoffs began,” recalled one former employee of Snowball.com. “The human resources director sends a list of the people that are to be canned within the next few weeks to the CEO. All e-mails to the CEO first go through his personal assistant. The personal assistant’s name happens to be on the list of layoffs (a small, yet crucial fact that the HR director happened to overlook). The assistant starts e-mailing the other people on the list, letting them know of their impending doom.

Listen.com’s Deaf Ear

He’s happy to listen, he just will never pay you again and please leave… but really we are all in this together…

…The final insult came later, as the newly laid-off Listen.com staffers congregated at a bar next door. The company’s CFO and CEO joined the crowd and tried to commiserate with the workers they had just laid off.

“It was the most tone-deaf move I’ve ever experienced. At the very least, they should have left an open tab and walked out.”

Tribune’s Layoff Voicemail

Fired by the answering machine.

“March 11, 2008: I came home to find a message on my answering machine: “Hello S—-, this is Wanda from —-—- Outplacement Services. We’ve been hired by the Tribune to help with your job search. Please call us to schedule a time to take advantage of our outplacement services—no cost to you, the Tribune compensates us. We have classroom openings for next week, so we need to hear from you as soon as possible”.

Hedge Fund’s G-Chat Liquidation

What a G-chat gut shot…

“The hedge fund started liquidating its accounts and the woman who got me from the temp agency turned in her notice, but I still had hope that maybe, just maybe, I could fill that job during the final months of the company, get health insurance and not pinch pennies anymore.

They started interviewing hot, blonde temps for the job instead. By the way, I have dark hair. And that’s when I learned of my demise in a Gmail chat window. One of the assistants led me to her desk to sign my time sheet. As she signed it, my eyes fled to her computer, where I saw these words in the little Gchat box: “Let’s use one of these girls to replace Kristie.”

One week later, I got a call from the temp agency say that I just worked my last day there and that the company couldn’t afford me anymore. Yeah, but they can still afford to hire hot blondes and company-wide bagels on Fridays, right?”

The Fire Alarm Laid Us Off

This can’t be legal…

fireA large office campus was evacuated when the fire alarm rang. Hundreds of employees poured out of the multi-building complex. The employees gathered in groups in their assigned area waiting for the signal to return to work, just like every other fire drill. The employee in charge of the drill began to deliver the following message over a loudspeaker:

‘Due to the ongoing recession and bad business climate, the company is laying off 50% of its staff. So when the announcement finishes I ask all of you to move back to the building. If your employee card does not give you access to the building , it means you have been laid off and will not be allowed inside the building. All of your belongings will be sent to you. The company is using this innovative approach because we do not want to clog our email system with layoff notices and farewell messages. We also wish to avoid any fighting inside the office and the security issues for all staff. We hope you had a rewarding career with us… now please move back to the building and good luck.’

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Interesting Trademark Controversies https://www.upwork.com/blog/2009/07/interesting-trademark-controversies/ https://www.upwork.com/blog/2009/07/interesting-trademark-controversies/#comments Wed, 30 Nov -0001 00:00:00 +0000 http://www.odesk.com/blog/?p=6051 Trademark and copyright is an important topic to many freelance writers, developers, and graphic designers (among many others). Below is a collection of various and interesting trademark controversies – remember to educate yourself and tread carefully when uncertain of ownership rights! Burning Man This case is particularly interesting in that the entity of “Burning Man” […]

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Trademark and copyright is an important topic to many freelance writers, developers, and graphic designers (among many others). Below is a collection of various and interesting trademark controversies – remember to educate yourself and tread carefully when uncertain of ownership rights!

Burning Man

burning-man

This case is particularly interesting in that the entity of “Burning Man” is open source, for lack of a better expression, in that it is near impossible to determine or prove who, if anyone, really “owns” it. The danger of no one owning it is that it now becomes open to outside interests adopting this orphan since no one is really parenting it. When there is money to be made, this is an immediate danger. Burning man sponsored by “Taco Bell” anyone?

Chris Messina over at FactoryJoe does an excellent write-up on the topic , saying:

“What’s so interesting and didactic about this controversy is that it embodies, on a grand scale, the kind of micro-controversies that open source communities have faced for a long time around intellectual property and trademark matters.”

(Photo credit: Original uploaded by Sterling Ely and shared under a Creative Commons License.)

Podcasting

A few years ago, Apple tried to flex their muscles to own the term “podcasting”.  In fact they seemed to be after anything with the word “pod” in it. This, of course, is interesting in that we are now getting into the contentious “common terms” area. What if Coke wanted to trademark the term “Cola”?

adwords

Adwords

Google has tried to dump its responsibility for ensuring that a competitor of a company cannot advertise using Google Adwords the trademarked terms of another company. In other words Coke cannot have Adwords advertising on the term “Pepsi” since it is not their trademark. Google has gotten sued for this and may continue to get such unwanted attention.

Amazon Kindle

This case is curious in that Amazon clearly owns the term “Kindle” but that it would go to the trouble to try and stop Kindle news and fan sites. You would think that a web company would embrace these sites and any other user generated content to do with their product for the value of free advertising and support. If anything this act would seem to scare the web citizens who generally are wary of companies trying to supress information on the internet.

Pwnage

Make what you will of this one but Futuremark had made attempts to trademark the term “pwnage”. A full definition for pwnage can be gotten here. Futuremark’s argument was that:

pwnage

Fellow gamers,

Our purpose in filing for trademark on the name “Pwnage” is not to charge money or stop people from using the expression. That’s not what a trademark is for. Instead, we want to protect ourselves from squatters (or what I call campers) – people looking to trademark the name on false pretenses, just to make a claim against Futuremark Games Studio for its use.

Jukka Mäkinen, Executive Producer, Futuremark Games Studio

This alone would be interesting to see how that would be enforced. How many staffers on XBox Live would be needed for full enforcement on that trademark alone?

(Photo credit: unknown)

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Bing: The Buzz, Microsoft’s Expensive Gamble, and SEO https://www.upwork.com/blog/2009/07/bing-buzz-and-market-share-microsoft-seo/ https://www.upwork.com/blog/2009/07/bing-buzz-and-market-share-microsoft-seo/#comments Wed, 30 Nov -0001 00:00:00 +0000 http://www.odesk.com/blog/?p=5519 Microsoft’s $100 million ad spend seems to have done a great job so far in attracting interest and search queries to their new search engine, Bing.  In terms of recent market share, many search industry data sources are reporting as much as a 50% gain in market share for Bing, from about 8% of search […]

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bizgraphMicrosoft’s $100 million ad spend seems to have done a great job so far in attracting interest and search queries to their new search engine, Bing.  In terms of recent market share, many search industry data sources are reporting as much as a 50% gain in market share for Bing, from about 8% of search queries to about 12%.  According to figures from Compete.com, that equates to roughly 550 million additional queries.  If we use standard web ad metrics, this equates to a cost/click of $.20 (divide $100,000,000 spend by 550,000,000 queries).  Nice job on the ad buy, Microsoft. You’ve generated buzz and also driven a very significant amount of searchers to Bing.

Can this trend hold? We think not. Microsoft’s history in online, in our opinion, is one of playing a game of catch-up, and generally playing it poorly.  When it comes to the Internet, Microsoft copies others’ efforts, and usually does quite a mediocre job of it. Bing is no different – they have copied Google’s search page almost exactly.  Even the color of the premium sponsored ads at the top of the page are shaded orange, just as

bingadshot

Google’s are.  But one doesn’t need to look for long to see the silliness of Microsoft to shine through.  A sponsored ad goes to three lines long and looks amateurish (screenshot at right).  The #2 organic result for the query ‘php developers’ is for the Yahoo! Developer Network, which is billed as “your source for information about using PHP with Yahoo! Web Services APIs.”  It would be a very, very small minority of searchers for this phrase that would care about this specific topic, yet it’s the second result.

We think that the buzz will die down, and Bing’s market share will trend back toward where it has been. If, in the unlikely event Bing.com were to grab and keep a large share of the search market, advertisers would be much, much worse off.  This is because pay-per-click marketing is a self-service activity.  The advertiser interface provided by the search platform is key to enabling the advertiser to use thorough PPC management techniques to achieve positive ROI on a worthwhile scale.  Google does a brilliant job at this, and yet it strives all the harder to improve its advertiser interface.  Microsoft’s AdCenter interface is laughably bad.  I considered not using “laughably” as an adjective here, but decided I had to, for truth in blogging. In addition to an overall horrible interface, AdCenter’s conversion tracking system is unable to report on revenue from e-commerce transactions.

A related question: guess who constitutes a major category of keyword advertisers? Drumroll…that’s right – e-commerce companies.

terry

Terry Whalen is a certified Google AdWords Professional and a partner at CPC Search. Since early 2003, he has managed search and other online marketing channels that have generated millions of dollars worth of revenue for clients such as Stamps.com, CitrixOnline, Autoweb.com, SoftwareOnline.com, Taleo, and Pacific Security Capital, among others.

 

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Top Weird iPhone Apps https://www.upwork.com/blog/2009/06/top-weird-iphone-apps/ https://www.upwork.com/blog/2009/06/top-weird-iphone-apps/#comments Wed, 30 Nov -0001 00:00:00 +0000 http://www.odesk.com/blog/?p=5861 Today we are going to look at the some of the interesting creations that have graced the iPhone App Store. Whether popular or not, these oddities stand out above the rest. Annoy A Teen It gets points for honesty in advertising. Apparently teenagers hear high frequencies that the rest of us do not and use […]

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Today we are going to look at the some of the interesting creations that have graced the iPhone App Store. Whether popular or not, these oddities stand out above the rest.

Annoy A Teen

annoy-a-teen-iphone-app

It gets points for honesty in advertising. Apparently teenagers hear high frequencies that the rest of us do not and use of this app will irritate them thoroughly.

iFart™

ifart

I’ll spare you the explanation. Needless to say, the value this app provides to mankind is immeasurable.

Hello Cow!

hello-cow

It has a cow, that moos at you. Vital!

Hold On

holdon

Hold on to the button as long as you can. Compete against yourself, compete against the world, prove to everyone you’ve got the stamina to out hold them all!

iDrunkTxt

idrunktxt

Here is a disaster waiting to happen. The premise here is that you are out on the town, drunk, and want nothing more than to call up someone and have a conversation. This handy app will randomly select a friend or date from your contacts list and dial for you – no need to trouble yourself with deciding between your boss and “that girl” to determine who is more worthy of hearing your slurred speech!

Zits and Giggles

zitsgiggles

For those who enjoy this sort of thing. Uh … yeah.

That’s What She Said Pro

thats-what-she-said-iphone-app

The easy way to come up with a response for anything and everything.

There you have it. If you like developing iPhone apps, there may be inspiration above.  As always, post missed gems in the comments.

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When Marketing Stunts Attack: The worst of paid viral videos https://www.upwork.com/blog/2009/06/when-marketing-stunts-attack-the-worst-of-paid-viral-videos/ https://www.upwork.com/blog/2009/06/when-marketing-stunts-attack-the-worst-of-paid-viral-videos/#comments Wed, 30 Nov -0001 00:00:00 +0000 http://www.odesk.com/blog/?p=5594 It hurts me to share these. Prepare for major cringe. But with the good viral efforts (thank you, exploding Mentos guys!), we must also accept the bad, as well as the… paid. It’s time for the most contrived corporate viral videos and ad campaigns. Our first hackneyed harlot is from casual dining with Ruby Tuesday. […]

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It hurts me to share these. Prepare for major cringe. But with the good viral efforts (thank you, exploding Mentos guys!), we must also accept the bad, as well as the… paid. It’s time for the most contrived corporate viral videos and ad campaigns.

Our first hackneyed harlot is from casual dining with Ruby Tuesday. They went to the extreme of blowing up a building and still weren’t funny. The whole thing feels staged from the start. Let’s follow the sickly saga, shall we?


The wrap video. It’s at least funny in a dry, office humor kind of way:


And for the truly masochistic, the behind the scenes clip:


Nike’s mistake with the next clip was the same: over-producing it and doing it entirely with suspecting actors and special effects. Do the paparazzi seem believable in this video? It might make a reasonable TV commercial, but there is nothing surprising or worth retweeting here. The two second zoom on her shoes in the beginning is a nice touch though–well done.


Cheetos. OMG this is so hard to watch. Make it stop, please. All told, only 17 people ever blogged about this monstrosity. (Now, the count is up to 18.) I’m going to close my eyes – tell me when it’s over.

>> Visit Cheeto’s Underground


Sony threw a whole slew of pay-for-post PSP drek around for Christmas. Whoever picked out this guy’s hat needs to be abandoned somewhere in the Arctic.


Don’t forget the tribute video to their marketing consultant, I’m sure he is doing well on the back of his work for Sony:


For my money, no one wastes more cash on worse ads than Microsoft. They somehow even took the funny out of Jerry Seinfeld. One day, in some marketing meeting, approval formed around the idea of making a website just to hold back the hoard of people so excited by Vista that they just had to make a video about it. And so, with much meeting approval of their “can’t-fail-grassroots-internet idea”, www.showusyourwow.com was born.

Strangely, the site is now shuttered. I’m shocked. All that remains, as is often the case with corporate viral campaigns, is the blow back mock-u-mmercial.


Trulia earned the top search result for “lame viral” with what you could – generously – call this ‘attempt’ at a viral video. It seems like the only plan was to buy a costume and wing it from there.


In the funny but pointless category:

Charlie Murphy’s kinda silly TV ads ran for a while. Nike is the suspected – and only possible – sponsor. Nothing can be bought there and no brand is advertised on the site. At least they learned not to be blatantly obvious. I went to the site out of curiosity, puttered around a bit on it, and left very confused.

>> Watch Charlie Murphy’s videos


If you need to wash the awful taste of bad viral video ads from your mouth, I recommended the following mixture of Diet Coke and Mentos:

An oldie, but still a goodie.

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Facing a Layoff with Defiance https://www.upwork.com/blog/2009/06/facing-a-layoff-with-defiance/ https://www.upwork.com/blog/2009/06/facing-a-layoff-with-defiance/#comments Wed, 30 Nov -0001 00:00:00 +0000 http://www.odesk.com/blog/?p=5510 It’s a statement of our times. I almost hesitate to mention I’m qualified to write this piece because I’ve gone through a layoff. The experience is ubiquitous, hardly unique. I’ll mention it only because the following isn’t a compilation of what others have written on the topic. There won’t be many links to well meaning […]

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It’s a statement of our times. I almost hesitate to mention I’m qualified to write this piece because I’ve gone through a layoff. The experience is ubiquitous, hardly unique. I’ll mention it only because the following isn’t a compilation of what others have written on the topic. There won’t be many links to well meaning lists of tips about LinkedIn usage; it is just my perspective having gone through it personally and vicariously through countless friends.

Thought 1

I like to start with the basics: what is a layoff? This is especially important if it’s your first one. Think of it this way:

A layoff is when your current employer is no longer a qualified buyer for your skills.

I prefer this simple definition because it reinforces the impersonal nature of the event as well as the market system driving our careers. Many times a subtle game of “but I was very good at my role,” will come into the conversation about layoffs. Don’t go down this road. Don’t even begin to look at a layoff as a measure of your worth. If you want insight into your performance, look at your performance reviews.

Now you’re thinking about the event as a market event. You are also focusing on your previous employer’s financial situation instead of your own self worth. Your emotional approach to this event is very important in the job market; nobody likes to buy even their favorite products if the packaging is badly beaten up and damaged. Your perspective is your packaging.

Thought 2

Hire yourself.

I’m a huge advocate of “working is its own reward”. I hate government statistics about unemployment. Maybe this term made sense in the early 20th century when factories and farms were the primary employers, but it certainly doesn’t in 2009. While you may have faced an immediate drop in your pay, you are now working for yourself, not unemployed.

When you were company employed, more of your task direction was dictated by your organization’s needs and inputs. Now that you are working for yourself, hour is just as precious as when you were on the clock, probably more so.

Realizing you are now the manager of your own day is my most important step in facing a layoff. Managers have goals, objectives, and tasks to monitor and metric. What are your management metrics for yourself?

Don’t try to boil the ocean. What are the three big areas where you can accomplish something related to your employable skills? Are you a writer? Keep writing. A coder? Keep coding. An executive? Write a business plan and study your market.

It’s important to have your own vision and understanding of what you are uniquely good at. If you don’t know, figure it out. Where have you had success in the past and why?

Don’t fall into the trap of accomplishing generic, perhaps household, tasks to feel better. It’s great if you finally have an opportunity to clean your pool, but will it contribute to rejuvenating your career?

Thought 3

Use your self-driven accomplishments to network meaningfully. Who can you collaborate with on your projects? How can you market and promote them? Big companies no longer have a strangle hold on our attention. The TV advertising era is over and this is the era of social media, Meetup, LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook, blogs, and more.

The best way to get hired is to be a product someone wants to buy. How much easier is it for a friend to help promote something you have accomplished or created to a hiring manager vs. simply mentioning you are available?

Contract work is a great way to network and impress new contacts with your abilities. This is thinking like a marketer. Maybe the pay isn’t the same as your prior role, but what is the value of the new connections? Perhaps it’s better to take a lower offer with a company with a long-term future.

Meaningful networking is putting your highest value skills on display in front of qualified buyers and their recommending peers. Build your life around this metric – it’s your new job.

Use social media to build and support these networks. Not only will it help you in the present, but it will be a good investment the next time you may be looking for a new job.

Summary

Defiance for me is self-autonomy in work, growth, and accomplishment. It’s knowing your employer was only a buyer of your skills, not a parent evaluating your worth. It’s having the ability to relentlessly pursue qualified buyers with a “WOW must have” product demonstration.

If you are looking for a blog that will help to boost your spirits and give some good advice, you should look into Rajesh Setty’s blog “Life Beyond Code“.  It’s a high-tech way of looking at the world without focusing so much on the work.

Photo credits: pirano, Andrew Feinberg

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Research: Provider Feedback and Freelance Rates https://www.upwork.com/blog/2009/06/research-provider-feedback-and-freelance-rates/ https://www.upwork.com/blog/2009/06/research-provider-feedback-and-freelance-rates/#comments Wed, 30 Nov -0001 00:00:00 +0000 http://www.odesk.com/blog/?p=5330 Chris Stanton, a PhD candidate at Stanford Business School, is using oDesk data in his research. Below, he shares some basic economic insights about the oDesk market. Introduction In this post, I will concentrate on the role of feedback on provider wages. I hope these results, coupled with previous posts on the returns to tenure […]

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Chris Stanton, a PhD candidate at Stanford Business School, is using oDesk data in his research. Below, he shares some basic economic insights about the oDesk market.

Introduction

In this post, I will concentrate on the role of feedback on provider wages. I hope these results, coupled with previous posts on the returns to tenure and training, help providers form expectations about long-run earnings trajectories. Overall, the results suggest that providers who receive good feedback and gain experience on oDesk can receive significantly higher wages over time.  I find that a change in feedback score from 2.5, the mean score in the data, to the maximum score of 5, results in wages that are about 5.4% higher.

Method

While oDesk users surely expect a positive relationship between feedback and provider quality, quantifying the economic effect of feedback on wages is statistically tricky. The difficulty arises because the best providers are likely to get the best feedback, but these same top-notch providers are also likely to have unobserved attributes like superior interviewing skills that simultaneously result in high wages. I use a statistical procedure to account for unobserved provider skills.

The data covers matched assignments on oDesk from the platform launch until May 2008. This includes observations on 7,123 providers matched to 28,321 assignments.  The description of my statistical strategy may be esoteric, so the casual reader may wish to skip to the results section. The basic idea is that I use fixed effects multivariate regressions to control for any time-invariant provider characteristics which may be correlated with a provider’s feedback. Because I am able to identify how changes within a single provider’s feedback influence his or her wages over time, this strategy addresses unobserved provider characteristics which otherwise hamper the measurement of the effect of feedback on wages. In my preferred specification, I regress the logarithm of hourly wages on a polynomial of the provider’s weighted feedback score, time using the platform, and overall platform time trend.  I also include controls for the number of tests a provider has taken.

Results

cstaton-june-2009-graph1

In this first graph, the overall effect of feedback on wage percentage changes is given in blue. Separate results for Indian and Russian providers are also provided.  Not surprisingly, the results show that relative to having zero feedback, providers with low scores do slightly worse. On the positive side, providers can expect 2.5%-5% more earnings from the best feedback scores.

cstaton-june-2009-graph21

The second graph breaks out the effect by job type. The graph is a bit difficult to interpret because the effect of feedback on wages for writing jobs appears huge. But be warned – the effect for writers looks large in the sample, but is not statistically significant. Web and software developers can expect to earn about 5.6% more with a feedback score of 5 versus 2.5, while providers of administrative support earn even larger percentage increases with good feedback.

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Study: Freelancers Earn More through Tenure, Training https://www.upwork.com/blog/2009/06/study-freelancers-earn-more-through-tenure-training/ https://www.upwork.com/blog/2009/06/study-freelancers-earn-more-through-tenure-training/#comments Wed, 30 Nov -0001 00:00:00 +0000 http://www.odesk.com/blog/?p=5028 We recently completed a study the analyzed the impact of worker tenure, training, and country of origin on hourly wages. Our initial hypotheses were that there are positive returns to tenure (length of employment) and training (number of tests taken, scoring of tests taken), and that the worker’s country of origin affects wages. TENURE: Based […]

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We recently completed a study the analyzed the impact of worker tenure, training, and country of origin on hourly wages. Our initial hypotheses were that there are positive returns to tenure (length of employment) and training (number of tests taken, scoring of tests taken), and that the worker’s country of origin affects wages.

TENURE:
Based on the results of several regressions to test our hypotheses, we concluded that there are positive returns to tenure for certain job types, particularly those that require technical expertise.

microsoft-powerpoint-odesk-final-project-v2-read-only-06-08-2009-090553

Overall, it appears that managers have been willing to pay a premium for tenure but they do so selectively. For example, a manager may be willing to pay higher for a developer with a longer tenure on oDesk, but may not be willing pay more for a data entry worker for a longer tenure.

TRAINING:
Though oDesk does not provide formal training to workers, we defined “training” based on oDesk’s skill-specific tests.

microsoft-powerpoint-odesk-final-project-v2-read-only-06-08-2009-091424microsoft-powerpoint-odesk-final-project-v2-read-only-06-08-2009-091625

We concluded that wages increase with the number of exams taken, higher exam scores yield higher wage returns, and some exams affect wages more than others.

COUNTRY OF ORIGIN:

microsoft-powerpoint-odesk-final-project-v2-read-only-06-08-2009-092210

Our analysis on country of origin led us to conclude that workers living outside North America earn wages higher than the mean in their home markets. The analysis also showed that North American workers earn higher wages than workers in other countries at a statistically significant level.

At a high level, it is clear that workers from the United States and Canada are earning wages that are higher than their counterparts from Eastern Europe and Asia. Upon closer inspection, however, the story is more subtle and complex than it first appears.

microsoft-powerpoint-odesk-final-project-v2-read-only-06-08-2009-094141

Much of the apparent country effect can be explained by observable differences in the labor forces. There may be something structural about the environment in each of these countries that prompts the differences in the makeup of the labor force, but it cannot be ignored that workers with similar characteristics around the world selling their services through oDesk are earning wages that are more similar than a simple analysis would imply. When the data is reweighted to take into account similarities in tenure and training, the mean wages in each country adjust to a more common level.

WHAT DOES THE DATA IMPLY?

Coming back to our initial hypotheses, the data reinforces that there are positive returns to tenure (length of employment) and training (number of tests taken, scoring of tests taken). Additionally, while a worker’s country of origin affects their potential wages, similiarly-skilled providers on oDesk command wages that are statistically more alike than not.

Our results were based on a study of providers over a three-year period. Are you seeing these results played out in the marketplace? Has your experience been different?

Special thanks to Ashley Carroll, Ruth Bryson, Jeremiah Dillon and Brandon Paulson – MBA 2010 candidates at Stanford’s Graduate School of Business – for their research efforts and contributing this guest blog post!

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PostgreSQL vs. MySQL: A Comparison of Speed, Integrity and Popularity https://www.upwork.com/blog/2009/06/postgresql-vs-mysql/ https://www.upwork.com/blog/2009/06/postgresql-vs-mysql/#comments Wed, 30 Nov -0001 00:00:00 +0000 http://www.odesk.com/blog/?p=4999 We know that the PostgreSQL vs MySQL debate is a heated one, with passionate (and sometimes fanatical) communities on either side. When exploring this topic, most bloggers will politely ask you to forego the flame wars and instead heed to their half-baked, opinionated logic. This, however, is not your average blog post! We know that you, the communities of users actually using the software, know best. So, as Johnny the Human Torch would say, "Flame on!"

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postgres_vs_mysql

Today we’re going to look at open source databases. Ten years ago, corporate systems like Oracle and MS Access & SQL Server dominated the landscape. Since then, MySQL and (to a lesser extent) PostgreSQL have made serious inroads into the market. The PostgreSQL vs MySQL debate is a heated one, with passionate (sometimes fanatical) communities on either side.  These two camps position themselves differently – PostgreSQL, as the world’s “most advanced,” and MySQL as the world’s most “popular.”  When exploring this topic, it will come down to a few determining factors and – in some cases – it will come down to the preference of the developer. For our purposes, we will look at the currently recorded tangible factors and let personal opinion take over after that.

The center of the debate between these two open source databases revolves around three key issues: speed, data integrity, and popularity. We’ll quickly go over the basics before leaving the conversation open for your comments.

Speed

Many attest that MySQL is a much faster database than PostgreSQL, and hundreds of benchmarking websites and blogs further this notion. But as loads increase, PostgreSQL seems to win the race.  PostgreSQL has made vast improvements in recent releases, but the jury is still out….is MySQL still faster than PostgreSQL?

Data Integrity

Comparing the two on data integrity, we get PostgreSQL getting the overall nod.  Why, you ask?  PostgreSQL has always maintained a strict adherence to the academic principles of “data integrity,” placing it above all else in importance.  MySQL on the other hand, started off  with a more open attitude on the matter, instead focusing on easy acceptance, increased flexiblity, and a high level of forgiveness for the average user.

Popularity

MySQL is still the world’s most popular open source database, with over 50,000 downloads per day. Its accessible attitude fostered high popularity and rapid growth of the MySQL community, something its poor, nerdy brother was never able to compete with.

As the marketplace for online workteams, we can look at our own data (which happens to be stored in a PostgreSQL database) to get a sense for the two communities’ sizes. As of this week there were 18,317 freelance MySQL developers and 594 open jobs on oDesk, versus only 1,239 PostgreSQL developers and 18 open jobs.  Quite a big difference!

Growth, on the other hand, appeared somewhat flat in the past 12 months for both contenders as the charts below show:

PostgreSQL Jobs on oDesk by Month

Now it’s your turn to tell us what you think!  Please post your comments below…

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Programming, Development and Design Skills to Survive the Recession https://www.upwork.com/blog/2009/06/programming-development-and-design-skills-to-survive-the-recession/ https://www.upwork.com/blog/2009/06/programming-development-and-design-skills-to-survive-the-recession/#comments Wed, 30 Nov -0001 00:00:00 +0000 http://www.odesk.com/blog/?p=4937 With the current recession in a constant state of flux, today we are going to look at the various skills that have remained robust through these challenging economic times – and those that look to have an strong future. These statistics are based upon oDesk’s own trends pages. When viewing these trends, keep in mind, […]

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With the current recession in a constant state of flux, today we are going to look at the various skills that have remained robust through these challenging economic times – and those that look to have an strong future. These statistics are based upon oDesk’s own trends pages. When viewing these trends, keep in mind, we are experiencing some overall growth ourselves – so the up-trending graphs will show more growth than average for the skill and the down-trending (or flat) graphs will exhibit more decline than we show.

Computerweekly has some telling statistics that would seem to back us up with respect to PHP and Dotnet (we did notice a drop in Dotnet developer demand in the early year but it has since picked up).

Anyway, on to the numbers!

iPhone Development

As you can see, iPhone development maintained strong growth through the whole of last year, with only a slight decline in the most recent months.

Twitter Application Development

Meteoric would be the only way to describe the growth of demand for those with skills to develop for this latest social networking craze, much like the growth of the service itself.

Writing

While not a development or design skill, writing has continued a steady strong growth through the last year.

.NET

.NET continues its growth and shows continuous steady increasing demand, after pulling out of its end of 2008 slump.

PHP

While not much growth, the quantity of demand shows PHP will be around for a long while – and the developers who provide it will remain employed for the foreseeable future.

Javascript

Showing decent range and stable upward trend, Javascript skills are reliably in-demand.

Photoshop

Photoshop skills also continue to grow nicely and maintain a nice range.

WordPress

Ability to develop for WordPress is a very nice expanding market and any PHP freelancer would do well to have it on his resume.

Facebook

Another specialist platform that a freelance developer would do well to have on his or her resume. Not a great range, but a healthy trend.

Interested in trends on oDesk? Visit www.odesk.com/trends to learn more!

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Freelance Software Developer Rates Up 35% in the U.S. https://www.upwork.com/blog/2009/05/freelance-software-developer-rates-up-35-in-the-united-states/ https://www.upwork.com/blog/2009/05/freelance-software-developer-rates-up-35-in-the-united-states/#comments Wed, 30 Nov -0001 00:00:00 +0000 http://www.odesk.com/blog/?p=4428 Recently oDesk discovered good news for US freelance software developers. Our automobile industry may be flailing, but "Made in the USA" is not a dying dream. In the United States—despite the recession—software developers are now charging an average of 35% more than they did in 2008.

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Recently oDesk’s own Henry Walker delved deeply into our wealth of rate trend data and discovered good news for American freelance software developers. America’s automobile industry may be flailing, but “Made in the USA” is not a dying dream in the software world.

U.S. Software Development Growth by Country
It seems that while the UK and Bolivia have seen a dramatic decrease in the hourly fees software developers are able to charge, in the United States—despite the recession—software developers are now charging an average of 35% more than they did in 2008.

This phenomenon flies in the face of Softera Director Mikko Kontio’s predictions on IBM.com last September, when he stated that the future of software development was essentially going to involve a buyer’s demand for faster turnaround and lower cost.

Even earlier last year, in July of 2008, software developer Roy Lawson suggested on his PolkVoice blog that smaller, more skilled software development teams were a better bet in bad economic times. Thus, it could be that companies are simply willing to pay more for skills, as long as they are getting the work done by fewer individuals. In the long run, perhaps this is a savings for the buyer, despite the marked pay raise for the freelancer.

The exact reasons for the incredible rate increase in the face of America’s much-beleaguered economy may remain a mystery. However, it’s good news for those with software skills. As for the less tech-savvy freelancers among us, it’s a sign of hope. Doom and gloom predictions of meager future paychecks don’t always turn out to be true.

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A Tweeters Guide to Twitter Scams https://www.upwork.com/blog/2009/05/a-tweeters-guide-to-twitter-scams/ https://www.upwork.com/blog/2009/05/a-tweeters-guide-to-twitter-scams/#comments Wed, 30 Nov -0001 00:00:00 +0000 http://www.odesk.com/blog/?p=4383 With Twitter’s monumental growth, there has been an increase in the amount of scammers looking to exploit individuals for profit either by the technology itself or by “social engineering“. Many of the same security disciplines required when using email or the web in general now apply to Twitter. Sounds Phishy: Just like in email, getting […]

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With Twitter’s monumental growth, there has been an increase in the amount of scammers looking to exploit individuals for profit either by the technology itself or by “social engineering“. Many of the same security disciplines required when using email or the web in general now apply to Twitter.

Sounds Phishy: Just like in email, getting a direct message or invitation to click a link has to be judged before following it. There have been many instances of scammers inviting tweeps to follow a link with a phrase such as “Who posted that pic of you on Twitter!!!!” Any Tweep following the link will be directed to a fake twitter logon page or other similar data gathering page. With enough data, any scammer can fill in the rest.

Give me your security question answers: This was an excellent example of social engineering. The recent twitter porn names scam was simply a hashtag trend started inviting people to create a twitter porn name by adding various common security question answers such as your pet’s name. Once someone tweets this info the scammers had the username and a selection of common security question answers. A few trips to Yahoo mail or Gmail would probably get you into someone’s bank account.

Sure buddy, just send me your credit card number: Tweet about how much you want product X. A certain scammer will befriend you as an employee of the company that makes Product X. After he builds up a little trust, he will offer you Product X at a special, insider price. Email him your credit card or bank info, game over.

Phone Home: “You have just won a free cell phone!” the tweet says. Clicking on the link and after filling out you cell number and basic details, you will just auto-enrolled on a $20/month horoscopes or similarly unwanted messages direct to your phone by text scam.

Worming in: Another recent Twitter attack that was more benign than malicious where an industrious but “bored” hacker used a javascript hack to take over Twitter accounts to spam twitter. Titled “Stalkdaily” or “Mikeyy”, it owned twitter for a few days. This, in honesty, was Twitters problem and not the users but users who used third party software clients to access Twitter like Tweetdeck were immune. This exploit in the hands of a more ill-intentioned individual might have delivered a few sad stories.

If we missed on any, simply tell us in the comments or link to the info. Safe tweeting.

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Top 10 Banned iPhone Apps https://www.upwork.com/blog/2009/05/top-10-banned-iphone-apps/ https://www.upwork.com/blog/2009/05/top-10-banned-iphone-apps/#comments Wed, 30 Nov -0001 00:00:00 +0000 http://www.odesk.com/blog/?p=4290 Since the introduction of the iPhone, a swarm of controversial apps have been relegated to the iPhone app graveyard. Here are ten of the most publicized kills since the dawn of Apple's little magic phone.

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Developing an iPhone App?  Here’s what not to do:

baby-shaker-iphone-app

1. Baby Shaker

Without a doubt, it may be the most tasteless, most ban-worthy banned iPhone app of all time. It involved a badly drawn crying infant, a lot of shaking, and (eventually) a quiet–but mostly dead–little tike. Tech Crunch’s MG Siegler called it horrifying and eventually Apple did too.

2. I Am Rich

It didn’t last, but German developer Armin Heinrich did get 8 buyers before Apple shut down his $999.99 application, which was nothing more than a shiny red gem glimmering in the middle of your iPhone screen.  The pricey app would, Heinrich proposed, prove to all your friends that you really are that rich. And stupid.

3. Podcaster

Alex Sokirynsky’s podcast application was banned by iPhone, not for being obscene or otherwise offensive, but for seeming a little too much like competition–i.e. Podcasts on iTunes.  Sokirynsky’s iPhone version of Podcaster allows users to download podcasts via Wi-Fi or EDGE. (Read a defense of Apple’s decision here.) Sokirynsky–with a lot of techies rooting for him–has found a way around the ban though, by sending potential buyers here.

4. NetShare

Before it was unceremoniously banned, a tethering application called NetShare from Nullriver allowed iPhone users’ 3G access to extend to their laptops and get them on line. This ban can’t be blamed entirely on Apple, however. It was all about AT&T, money and territory.

5. iBoobs

Well, folks, it was exactly what it’s name implied, and demonstrations are still available. These almost life-like boobies/breasts/hooters would jiggle just for fun, until Apple gave them a proper bra and sent them home. Since iBoobs’ banning, an app called Wobble has allowed users to simulate an almost identical scenario on real pictures, however Apple has been up in Wobble’s grill since day one. Its jiggling days may also be numbered.

6. SlingPlayer

Using your 3G iPhone to get television from your SlingBox would be uber-convenient. However, AT&T was ultimately terrified of the bandwidth, congestion, etc. that could have resulted when untold masses tried to watch television on their iPhones at the same time via 3G. For now, its 3G banning is a bummer, but the Wi-Fi use is still available.

iphone-murderdrome

7. Murderdrome

One of the oddest iPhone app bannings was that of Murderdrome, a graphic novel app from Infurious. The banning was due to the content of the specific Murderdrome series, however the app itself would’ve allowed other–less offensive–Infurious graphic novel releases via iPhone. Never fear, in the end Infurious got their app back in the store for a different comic: EyeCandy.

8. Prohibition 2: Dope Wars

This iPhone game from Hardy Macia at Catamount Software had all the drug fun that made John E. Dell’s ’80s version (Drug Wars) such an addictive–no pun intended–success. Apple didn’t see the irony or the fun, so Macia had to go with a candy prohibition game instead.

obama-trampoline

9. Obama Trampoline

Swamiware was simply not ready to back down when its iPhone app was banned due to cartoon graphics of politicians jumping up and down on a trampoline in the Oval Office. So, they stuck to their guns … sort of. You can now get the app from the iPhone store, but you’ll have to play it with paper bags over the politicians’ heads. (Let’s face it, Apple, we all know who’s in the tight red skirt.)

10. Freedom Time

This last app–banned for reasons similar to #9–makes the list for one reason and one reason only: Steve Jobs himself took the time to give creators Alec Vance and Court Batson a response. This app was meant to give those anxious to get Bush out of office a fun way to count the days in 2008; but in the end, even Democrat-leaning Steve Jobs didn’t see the point in firing up the potential controversy.

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oDesk Milestone: 100,000 Support Tickets Resolved https://www.upwork.com/blog/2009/05/odesk-milestone-100000-support-tickets-resolved/ https://www.upwork.com/blog/2009/05/odesk-milestone-100000-support-tickets-resolved/#comments Wed, 30 Nov -0001 00:00:00 +0000 http://www.odesk.com/blog/?p=4222 Last week, oDesk crossed more than $70M in dollars billed through our service, and surpassed 13k online hours/day. But we also passed another important milestone – we resolved our 100,000th Support Ticket. Customer Service and Support is an important priority for oDesk. Our stellar team has tripled in size, from just four team members to […]

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Last week, oDesk crossed more than $70M in dollars billed through our service, and surpassed 13k online hours/day. But we also passed another important milestone – we resolved our 100,000th Support Ticket.

Customer Service and Support is an important priority for oDesk. Our stellar team has tripled in size, from just four team members to 12 this year. With this investment, we have been able to launch Chat Support from the hours of Midnight to 5:00 PM PST, and hope to expand to 24 hours Chat within the coming months.

Our commitment as a team is to help all customers be successful and thriving members of the oDesk Ecosystem, and as such, our team has been renamed the oDesk Customer Success team.

To celebrate this important milestone, we have gathered a few anecdotes to share with you that demonstrate our commitment, and might just give you a laugh.

  • While chatting with a new provider, I learned that the first assignment she was rewarded was not legitimate. She was being hired now for the 2nd time, but she was concerned by a request to register on an outside site. I advised her to hold off and email the buyer asking for more information, but after we disconnected, I did a little more digging. I was relieved to see that the buyer was legitimate, and a GREAT buyer. I quickly called the provider back and advised her to go ahead and accept the work. A few hours later I got an email that the assignment had begun, but that the provider was looking for a little help getting started on oDesk Team. I asked her to call me on my cell phone during my commute, and we were able to walk through all of the best practices for ensuring success. I learned that this provider had been struggling to find a source of income after moving to a remote location in order to assist a loved one. I am confident that taking the extra time to ensure she had a great first assignment really made a difference, and set her up for future success on oDesk.
  • Customer: How will oDesk know that I have submitted my job to buyer and if buyer pays me, keep oDesk %?
    Shannon: All payments go through the oDesk system, and will show up on your Financial Activities screen
    Shannon: Our fees are withdrawn before you are paid
    Customer: Well then. Thank you Shannon. I love you.
    Shannon: Good luck to you and you are welcome
  • We had a provider contact us on chat, frantic that he was unable to withdraw funds. There was a significant language barrier, but we identified that the provider was having difficulty withdrawing funds from his Payoneer Debit Card. Perplexed, we decided to investigate this case, and at that time we realized that the provider had never been hired, or done any work on oDesk. While we are here to help, there are things that even we cannot support, and a self funding debit card is one of them! Darn.

Meet the Team:

Joe, Arizona
Joe, Arizona
Karissa, Phillipines
Karissa, Philippines
Shannon, California
Shannon, California
Bernadette, Bahrain
Bernadette, Bahrain
Stephanie, Tennessee
Stephanie, Tennessee
Doreen, Massachusetts
Doreen, Massachusetts
Jasmine, Philippines
Jasmine, Philippines
Michelle, Texas
Michelle, Texas
Barbara, Massachusetts
Barbara, Massachusetts
Karen, Philippines
Karen, Philippines

We look forward to chatting with you soon!

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Palm Pre Preview: A Look at the Apps and Operation https://www.upwork.com/blog/2009/05/palm-pre-preview-a-look-at-the-apps-and-operation/ https://www.upwork.com/blog/2009/05/palm-pre-preview-a-look-at-the-apps-and-operation/#comments Wed, 30 Nov -0001 00:00:00 +0000 http://www.odesk.com/blog/?p=4210 Enter the Palm Pre, a phone/pocket computer/web surfing device/camera/etc.

At the very least, the Palm Pre is going to give the iPhone a serious run for its money. Is it an iPhone killer? Probably not

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Getting it all together is one of the biggest challenges of the work-from-home lifestyle. Appointments, due-dates, family, clients… There’s always something or someone trying to slip through the cracks, a post-it that comes unstuck and flutters under your desk, an email that just doesn’t get flagged. For about a decade now we’ve been waiting for the promised pocket-secretary, an all-in-one device that helps us stay on top of all aspects of our lives. Enter the Palm Pre, a phone/pocket computer/web surfing device/camera/etc.

At the very least, the Palm Pre is going to give the iPhone a serious run for its money. Is it an iPhone killer? Maybe not, but I’d certainly expect the next generation of iPhone to tackle a lot of the Palm Pre’s extra features Stuff.tv shows off in this video:

I don’t know about you, but consolidating all my calendars, is a HUGE deal. Jumping between my work calendar, my family calendar, my Facebook calendar, my Yahoo Groups Calendar, and trying to keep them all synchronized is, quite simply, impossible. It’s everything that’s wrong with modern communications technology in microcosm: a flood of useful information, but so utterly dispersed as to be more disrupting than old-fashioned ignorance.

What we need is a way to unify all this sort of thing in one place, at one time, so we can see it, process it and make good decisions based on it. Palm Pre isn’t quite everything we need. It’s still subject to the old GIGO rule: Garbage In, Garbage Out. It won’t read your post-its, or the scribble on the dry-erase board that you fail to input on your computer, but it certainly looks like a huge leap in the right direction.

Unifying and capturing communications is another big step forward. About the only thing it doesn’t seem to do here is record our calls and transcribe them as text files. Still, being able to handle the email and simple research with access to Google docs and LinkedIn makes me a networking machine no matter where I am, especially since the Palm Pre supports multitasking. And apparently, it multitasks very well:

Ten to fifteen apps at once is hopefully more than most of us need, but in all honesty, I’d probably end up pushing it. As the war for the ultimate uber-phone intensifies, applications are going to become a major battleground. While the Palm Pre might not be the pocket-secretary we all desire, there’s a good chance it just might emerge from the coming clash between Palm and Apple.

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Anatomy of a Viral Twitter Blog Article: How to Get a Lot of Retweets https://www.upwork.com/blog/2009/05/anatomy-of-a-viral-twitter-blog-article-how-to-get-a-lot-of-retweets/ https://www.upwork.com/blog/2009/05/anatomy-of-a-viral-twitter-blog-article-how-to-get-a-lot-of-retweets/#comments Wed, 30 Nov -0001 00:00:00 +0000 http://www.odesk.com/blog/?p=4162 Last week we had somewhat of a coup with our “25 Writers You Should Follow on Twitter” Post. We got it out and it enjoyed over a week of twitter traffic based upon hundreds of retweets, some from the royalty of Twitter. Analysis of the article and the manner in which it spread reveals the […]

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Last week we had somewhat of a coup with our “25 Writers You Should Follow on Twitter” Post. We got it out and it enjoyed over a week of twitter traffic based upon hundreds of retweets, some from the royalty of Twitter.

twitter-trimmed

Analysis of the article and the manner in which it spread reveals the following:

1. It was a list post: Minimal search on the web finds plenty of evidence to back up the fact that lists posts are not only popular but highly “bookmarkable”. Problogger’s own Darren Rowse recently made the case for the list post and it held up here. One other point to note from experience is that naming a list with a number “Top 25 …” as opposed to “Top ….” Also seem to be more attractive.
2. It was about Twitter: Tweeps love Twitter and love to talk about Twitter. This is in itself an indicator of the health of this social network – the users promote and defend it. This is not to say that you can’t go viral on Twitter without talking about Twitter, but it helps. A look at Twitturls.com gives you a look at how much the topic of Twitter is a popular topic on Twitter.

twitturls-small

The subject of Twitter is a topic common to all Tweeps so, as a topic, has a great chance of success on the platform.

3. It was a good article: Yes, self praise is no praise but Danalyn, who sculpted the piece, spent a lot of time actually finding good writers and really looking for quality. She spent the time and effort to find not only quality writers but make the case as the why these writers were on the list. Some of the comments on the article and on retweets showed that people were appreciative of the article for its quality. Content is indeed king.
4. We made friends: The article complimented a lot of good, popular people (and deservedly so). So we received either tweets from them or the followers who know, appreciate and respect them. Many, many tweets were congratulations from the followers of our top 25 thereby spreading the story further.
5. Some power tweeps found it: All of the above contributed to this happening but to not acknowledge the value of the tweets from @zaibatsu, @guykawasaki and other well connected and respected tweeps would be a sin. It would appear @zaibatsu found us via retweets and @guykawasaki found it by the alltop.com site.

That would seem to be it. Social media for the most part is based on getting what you give and it played out here. Danalyn wrote an article that was well researched, on a topic of interest to Twitter, in a popular format and the article made us lots of friends.

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Business and Project Management Through Disasters: Disperse Your Operations https://www.upwork.com/blog/2009/05/business-and-project-management-through-disasters-disperse-your-operations/ https://www.upwork.com/blog/2009/05/business-and-project-management-through-disasters-disperse-your-operations/#comments Wed, 30 Nov -0001 00:00:00 +0000 http://www.odesk.com/blog/?p=4117 Thankfully, swine flu does not appear to be a repeat of the waves of influenza pandemics that swept across the world in the early parts of the 20th century. Still, as with other natural disasters such as earthquakes, tsunami, and volcanic eruptions, there will eventually be another one. The businesses that thrive through the disaster […]

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Thankfully, swine flu does not appear to be a repeat of the waves of influenza pandemics that swept across the world in the early parts of the 20th century. Still, as with other natural disasters such as earthquakes, tsunami, and volcanic eruptions, there will eventually be another one. The businesses that thrive through the disaster will be those that are hardened against it. The easiest way to harden your business is to spread it out geographically.

With most natural disasters, simply not being there is enough. An earthquake in San Francisco, for instance, has little effect on an office in Chicago. Pandemics are different beasts entirely. They spread rapidly across continents and while they don’t hit everywhere at once, they do hit everywhere eventually. The infamous 1918 influenza pandemic killed between 20 and 40 million people world wide, making it even deadlier than the entirety of the first World War.

Dispersing your operations gives your organization a flexibility to roll with these sorts of punches. It also gives you a wider talent pool to draw from and makes you less susceptible to regional economic fluctuations. Even if you’re not facing down a plague more virulent than the Black Death, a dispersed organization is healthier, more flexible, and more robust.

The key to making this sort of thing work is communication. oDesk provides the tools to organize a scattered team and insure that everyone is working towards the same goal without wasting resources by duplicating the same effort in multiple places or working at cross purposes.

This opens up a wide array of options for companies. It means no longer being tied to the skills and labor pool of a single geographic location. It means having input from different regions and cultures. It means being able to organize and unify a far broader array of talents and aptitudes on the challenges facing your company.

And it means the next time the earth shakes or a visiting client sneezes, it doesn’t have to be the end of the world.

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Twitter Job Growth Accelerates https://www.upwork.com/blog/2009/05/twitter-job-growth-accelerates/ https://www.upwork.com/blog/2009/05/twitter-job-growth-accelerates/#comments Wed, 30 Nov -0001 00:00:00 +0000 http://www.odesk.com/blog/?p=4072 If this is the first reference to Twitter you’ve come across, surely you must have been living under a rock. Twitter is the new online phenom, the new killer app of Web 2.0.  Breathless gushing aside, Twitter is the real thing, a surprisingly useful and fun tool that has already proven to be extremely popular. […]

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If this is the first reference to Twitter you’ve come across, surely you must have been living under a rock. Twitter is the new online phenom, the new killer app of Web 2.0.  Breathless gushing aside, Twitter is the real thing, a surprisingly useful and fun tool that has already proven to be extremely popular. And the Twitter wave hasn’t even crested yet. Tech journalist Michael S. Malone has said of Twitter:

The real social breakout – 100 million U.S. and 500 million world-wide users and all of the social transformations that will come in their train – has not yet occurred. Remember the frenzy surrounding eBay when just about everybody you know started buying and selling on it? It’s going to be like that for Twitter six months to a year from now.

Twitter’s not just for fun, but is also now making a splash in the world of big business. Dell recently announced that they’ve moved more than one million dollars worth of merchandise through their Twitter groups. And again, if Malone is correct, this has only really just begun, with bigger things still in store.

So it’s no surprise to find that Twitter is creating jobs. Like the rise of Twitter itself, the trend points towards meteoric rise.

twitterjobsbymonth

There are 105 new twitter jobs posted on oDesk per month, and 282 twitter professionals.

Many of these jobs are traditional SEO services, simply adding Twitter to the battery of tools which can drive traffic and increase Google page rank. Others are programming jobs, creating automated services that create a tweet reporting activity elsewhere from the web. Twitter’s also becoming a part of other, more traditional services as well. Saying something useful in just 140 characters is a skill, and we’re beginning to see it mentioned in job postings for copywriters. Keeping up with a Twitter feed is also being listed among the duties of virtual assistants.

If you’re already a skilled hand at Twitter, these sorts of Twitter jobs are already available for you. If you haven’t already, you’ll want to add your Twitter skills to your profile so those looking for “tweeters” can find you. Today, mentioning Twitter in your skill set makes sense. Before long, like email before it, aptitude may simply be assumed.

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Skilled Technical Hourly Rates Rise or Remain Flat; Other Categories Decline – Good For Developers, Bad For Writers https://www.upwork.com/blog/2009/04/skilled-technical-hourly-rates-rise-or-remain-flat-other-categories-decline/ https://www.upwork.com/blog/2009/04/skilled-technical-hourly-rates-rise-or-remain-flat-other-categories-decline/#comments Wed, 30 Nov -0001 00:00:00 +0000 http://www.odesk.com/blog/?p=3830 With the economy as it is, one would assume that hourly rates would be declining across the board.  We’ve certainly seen a faster increase in the number of providers than buyers, leading to increased competition for jobs. Let’s look at some real numbers to see what’s happening to hourly rates. This data for providers goes […]

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With the economy as it is, one would assume that hourly rates would be declining across the board.  We’ve certainly seen a faster increase in the number of providers than buyers, leading to increased competition for jobs. Let’s look at some real numbers to see what’s happening to hourly rates.

This data for providers goes back over two years.  The top line on the graph, the average hourly rate for developers, is actually up from $13.17 to $15.59 over that time, an increase of 18%.  Network Administration is flat over this period.  Data entry work and technical writing, however, have seen steep declines of -39% and -53% each.

Thus, providers in skilled technical categories are seeing rising or flat rates, whereas technical writers seem to be taking a bath.  However, this next graph helps to complete the story for writers.

writerjobs2

The number of writing jobs posted in the last year has seen an incredible explosion of over 500%.  There are 380 open writing jobs and 20,372 freelance writers on oDesk today.

How can demand for writers increase so dramatically while rates decrease? The number of lower hourly-rate writing jobs jobs has increased over time.

writingratedist

This chart shows the number of jobs at each hourly rate over the past calendar year. You can see that while the bulk of the jobs are clustered at the left end of the rate axis, there are still jobs on the far side, including jobs that pay as much as $110.00 per hour. The high paying jobs are still there.  Thus, even in the sector that showed the largest decrease in average hourly rates over the past two years, top performers are still commanding exceptional rates.  However, these jobs are fewer and far between.

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Celebrate Earth Day by Staying Home https://www.upwork.com/blog/2009/04/odesk-earth-day-go-green-carbon-emissions/ https://www.upwork.com/blog/2009/04/odesk-earth-day-go-green-carbon-emissions/#comments Wed, 30 Nov -0001 00:00:00 +0000 http://www.odesk.com/blog/?p=3398 We like Earth Day around here. We usually talk about how oDesk benefits small & medium sized businesses and remote contractors on this blog, but we feel like we’re offering something for the planet, too.  Remote workers do a lot of things, from software development to customer support, but one thing they don’t do is […]

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We like Earth Day around here. We usually talk about how oDesk benefits small & medium sized businesses and remote contractors on this blog, but we feel like we’re offering something for the planet, too.  Remote workers do a lot of things, from software development to customer support, but one thing they don’t do is commute.

The average solo car commuter produces more than a thousand pounds of CO2 per month.  A lot of hot air, yes, and then add in all those disposable coffee cups, heating and cooling the cubicle farms, the reams of paper, the gallons of printer toner, the cleaning agents … on and on. The environmental impact of the average office of 100 workers adds up to more than 650 tons of CO2 annually, and a lot of landfill space.

Working from home doesn’t eliminate all that — you still need heat, and maybe the occasional printout. But you drink from a real mug. In general, working from home is much more efficient. You’re getting dual use out of your living space, and not sucking added resources for a sprawling office park surrounded by endless fields of obsessively striped asphalt.

If being green is important to your company, then start by buying recycled-content paper towels. But take it a step further: Encourage telecommuting. Since last Earth Day, oDesk has helped 10,693 software developers from around the world work from home. In that group, Americans alone accounted for nearly 2,000 individuals, saving an estimated 600,000 gallons of gasoline. That day you were running late and couldn’t believe how light the traffic was?  That was us.

Want to see what sort of impact your office can have on the environment? Use the Green Office’s calculator to tally up your environmental impact based on common office habits and consumption. Rideshare’s Commute Calculator tells you how much your driving habits are costing the environment (and your wallet).

Saving the planet also saves the bottom line. Telecommuting cuts gas prices, reduces office rent, utility and supply bills, and even makes workers happier and healthier, containing the cost of sick days. We hope you’ll think about how telecommuting can work for you.  Go ahead and bookmark this post — just don’t print it out!

Happy Earth Day!

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America’s Workforce Adapts: What Outsourced Jobs Do We Want Back? https://www.upwork.com/blog/2009/04/americas-workforce-adapts/ https://www.upwork.com/blog/2009/04/americas-workforce-adapts/#comments Wed, 30 Nov -0001 00:00:00 +0000 http://www.odesk.com/blog/?p=3314 Asked when Americans could expect jobs outsourced to other countries to return, President Obama replied, “Not all of these jobs are going to come back … And it probably wouldn’t be good for our economy for a bunch of these jobs to come back because, frankly, there’s no way that people could be getting paid […]

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President ObamaAsked when Americans could expect jobs outsourced to other countries to return, President Obama replied, “Not all of these jobs are going to come back … And it probably wouldn’t be good for our economy for a bunch of these jobs to come back because, frankly, there’s no way that people could be getting paid a living wage on some of these jobs — at least in order to be competitive in an international setting.”

Catch a Falling StarIf you view the world economy as a zero-sum game, this is grim news — if each nation’s economy is a bucket of water, and you only fill one by emptying another, we seem to be running dry pretty fast. Fortunately, it doesn’t really work that way. Sometimes jobs slosh out of one bucket into another, but other times, to totally belabor a metaphor, some entrepreneurial genius adds fresh water to several buckets at once.  We may not yet be at the next wave of entrepreneurship (but remember, both Apple and Microsoft were launched in the wake of the ’70s oil crisis), but even as waves of layoffs make national headlines, jobs are sloshing back into our bucket as companies around the world are outsourcing to United States professionals.

America’s national myth is cowboys, pioneers, revolutionaries — not couchbound whiners.  Displaced U.S. workers are not idly waiting for their old jobs to magically return.  An oDesk survey found that of its 70,000+ U.S.-based contractors, 32 percent had taken up freelancing after recently losing a job.

Satellite Dish by Gerard EvistonThese Americans are adapting to today’s market needs.  For example, just 20 years ago, graphic artists and designers competed for a tiny pool of newspaper and magazine jobs. Today, those same newspapers are tottering or failing.  But the web is increasingly offering opportunities for freelance designers, opportunities that can come from anywhere in the world.  Similarly, opportunities for freelance writers are on the rise, as businesses need compelling content for their websites, blogs, sales material, help content and even Twitter accounts.

We agree with President Obama that new skills will serve Americans well as the world continues to evolve.  So will new thinking about opportunities, work environments, and the way we apply ourselves.  Flexible thinking, entrepreneurialism and a diehard work ethic have made America what it is today, and while specific jobs come and go, these qualities endure.

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Outsourcing to the United States on the Rise https://www.upwork.com/blog/2009/04/outsourcing-to-the-united-states-on-the-rise/ https://www.upwork.com/blog/2009/04/outsourcing-to-the-united-states-on-the-rise/#comments Wed, 30 Nov -0001 00:00:00 +0000 http://www.odesk.com/blog/?p=3288 When Americans think of outsourcing, they typically think of U.S. work going overseas to lower-cost countries like India and Russia.  However, we’re seeing an interesting trend in small and medium sized businesses around the world increasingly turning to U.S.-based talent.  The last time we reported on this, we focused on homeshoring, or U.S.-based companies hiring […]

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When Americans think of outsourcing, they typically think of U.S. work going overseas to lower-cost countries like India and Russia.  However, we’re seeing an interesting trend in small and medium sized businesses around the world increasingly turning to U.S.-based talent.  The last time we reported on this, we focused on homeshoring, or U.S.-based companies hiring U.S.-based freelancers.  Today we’re going to look at the growth in overseas companies doing the same.

Last year, we saw over 300% growth in the number of assignments overseas companies outsourced to United States professionals on oDesk.

Assignments outsourced to US

Overseas companies have employed more than 700 U.S. workers since January 2008.  These jobs are coming from places as diverse as Jamaica, Egypt, Norway, and Singapore.  However, the top countries outsourcing jobs to U.S. workers were:

Rank Country Rank Country
1 United Kingdom 6 Sweden
2 Canada 7 United Arab Emirates
3 Australia 8 Saudi Arabia
4 Netherlands 9 Israel
5 Spain 10 Germany

Top 10 countries outsourcing work to the U.S. on oDesk

The top categories of U.S. professionals being hired on oDesk are freelance web developers, virtual assistants, and freelance writers.

Why are businesses choosing to outsource their jobs to U.S.-based professionals, who are more expensive than their international counterparts?  One possible explanation is that there are more U.S. providers on oDesk today, providing buyers a wider variety of U.S.-based skills and experience, than ever before. In December alone, over 20,000 new U.S. providers signed up on oDesk, the largest monthly percentage increase (over 40%) that we have seen since 2005.  Another possible reason is that U.S. providers’ average feedback score is consistently higher than the oDesk average.

This is certainly an interesting trend that we intend to keep tabs on.

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Want Freelance Work? Become a Web Developer https://www.upwork.com/blog/2009/04/want-freelance-work-become-web-developer/ https://www.upwork.com/blog/2009/04/want-freelance-work-become-web-developer/#comments Wed, 30 Nov -0001 00:00:00 +0000 http://www.odesk.com/blog/?p=3193 As the web's importance in the global economy grows, so do opportunities for people with the right skills, especially web developers.

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We’ve been talking about the web a lot lately, like when we reported on WordPress, the number one blogging platform, or web programming languages like Ruby and Python.  The web looms large in the lives of freelancers, not just as a platform for finding work but also as a medium for that work.  As the web’s importance in the global economy grows, so do opportunities for people with the right skills, especially web developers.

At oDesk, we define “web development” to include web design and programming, web applications, ecommerce, streaming media, user interface design, marketing (SEO/SEM), project management, and QA.  Web development is the largest category of work done on oDesk.

Web development has breached 35,000 hours of work per week, which is enough work for 875 full-time web developers.  And the trend looks good.  The next busiest segment of oDesk, virtual assistants, doesn’t quite reach half that numbers of hours, falling just short of 17,000.

The trend in pay is also appealing. Hourly rates for web development hovered around the oDesk average until December of 2007.  After that, they broke free, climbing further away from the average nearly every month.

The trend seems solid.  Business today happens on the web.  Gone are the days when a corporate website was a fun novelty, a way to reach the hip or trendy.  Today’s college graduates cannot remember a time in their lives before the internet.  With the web growing more and more ubiquitous, from being a regular feature in our favorite TV shows to having internet access on our cellphones, businesses today are finding they need to be online and in a big way.  Every aspect of business is now online, from sales (ecommerce) and marketing (social media and SEO), to intracompany communications (email and VOIP), to management and even production.  And as companies become more deeply invested in the web, the more they will seek to make the most of every penny.  Web skills offer the savvy freelancer numerous opportunities today, and show every indication of only offering more in the future.

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Good Times for Freelance Writers: Job Demand Accelerates https://www.upwork.com/blog/2009/04/demand-for-contract-freelance-writing-gigs-grows/ https://www.upwork.com/blog/2009/04/demand-for-contract-freelance-writing-gigs-grows/#comments Wed, 30 Nov -0001 00:00:00 +0000 http://www.odesk.com/blog/?p=3185 It might be hard to believe, but right now is a very good time for freelance writers. In 2000, the US Bureau of Labor Statistics estimated there were 41,410 employed writers in the USA.  That number rose to 135,246 in 2006, an increase of more than 300%.  Where is all this demand for writers coming […]

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It might be hard to believe, but right now is a very good time for freelance writers. In 2000, the US Bureau of Labor Statistics estimated there were 41,410 employed writers in the USA.  That number rose to 135,246 in 2006, an increase of more than 300%.  Where is all this demand for writers coming from?

It appears to be spurred by the internet.  At the time of this post, jobs listed on oDesk for blog and article writing are nearly double the number listed for the next largest category of writing jobs.  While many bemoan the death of dead-tree newspapers, in truth the internet has been a great boon for writers.  Every serious business now needs a webpage, and with the growth of social media, many are beginning to embrace blogging as well.  This means not just a one-time posting of the company’s mission statement, but frequent updates, press releases, and blog posts written in an engaging, inviting style.  The webpage that isn’t updated frequently isn’t visited.  As businesses learn to leverage social media for their marketing, the demand for writers will only grow.  This may explain why over the past year, the number of jobs posted on oDesk for writers has increased over 500%.

writerjobs

There are currently 390 open writing jobs and 762 new jobs posted each month.  There are 19,723 freelance writers on oDesk today.

The growth in jobs, however, is only part of the story.  A good blog post catches peoples’ attention and gets passed on.   Social media networks like Twitter and Digg can carry a story far beyond the original audience.  Google searches can also keep an old story alive long after it was written. To achieve those sorts of results, however, a story has to be interesting and include factual information and hard data.  This means research, so it’s not a bit surprising to see that the growth in hours worked has kept pace with the growth in jobs.  A year ago, we saw 1,081 hours per week on oDesk.  Today, that number is 5,590 hours.

hoursworkedwriters

What does the future hold?   The Bureau of Labor Statistics predicted a 10% growth in writing jobs between 2006 and 2016.  Judging by what’s happening at oDesk, this is an extremely conservative estimate.  As companies seek new ways to make use of the social networks becoming a larger part of our daily lives, the demand for good writers will grow.  In spite of YouTube, the internet is still primarily a textual medium.  So long as that is the case, the outlook for writers who can capture the attention of their audience and aren’t afraid of a little research should be good.

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Employees vs Contractors – comparing the UPS & Fedex models https://www.upwork.com/blog/2009/03/employees-vs-contractors-comparing-ups-fedex-models/ https://www.upwork.com/blog/2009/03/employees-vs-contractors-comparing-ups-fedex-models/#comments Wed, 30 Nov -0001 00:00:00 +0000 http://www.odesk.com/blog/?p=3110 In the good old days, landing a job with a big, stable company and riding that horse to retirement was the way to go.  Employees’ lifelong loyalty was rewarded with generous pensions.  But that, as they say, was then and this is now.  Employee perks of the previous century, including holiday parties, company cars, and […]

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In the good old days, landing a job with a big, stable company and riding that horse to retirement was the way to go.  Employees’ lifelong loyalty was rewarded with generous pensions.  But that, as they say, was then and this is now.  Employee perks of the previous century, including holiday parties, company cars, and 401(k) matching are vanishing.  In fact, companies that were assumed to be unshakable and supposed to endure for generations are being absorbed and brought to their knees.  Both sides – companies and employees – have begun to question the assumptions of previous generations.

One of the great things about capitalism is that it allows companies and individuals to experiment with new ways.  Take UPS and FedEx for example.  While both of their services may appear similar to the casual observer, their business models are as different as day and night.  UPS delivery personnel – the folks in the brown uniforms driving the brown trucks – are full-time employees.  The trucks they drive are provided, gassed, and serviced for them by UPS.  The drivers are unionized and their performance is carefully scrutinized by the company.  The company pays attention to every little detail of their activities to shave off even the smallest inefficiencies.

FedEx drivers, on the other hand, are independent contractors.  They get no benefits, no overtime, no sick leave, and no insurance.  They pay for and maintain their own vehicles.  However, they are given independence in how they operate.  A successful independent contractor can even hire their own drivers and manage multiple routes, allowing them to grow their delivery business.  And FedEx provides very little oversight; so long as the customers are happy, FedEx is happy.

FedEx is neither a young company nor a small one, but it has embraced a new model of doing business.  By utilizing independent contractors for their delivery fleet, they’ve both decreased their own costs and created opportunities for others to run their own businesses.  The independent contractors are now incented to make smart business decisions because of their impact to their own bottom lines – for them, “raises” come from their own ingenuity, efficiency, and hustle – not their bosses.

It’s not yet clear to what extent America is ready to shift to independent contractors over full-time employees.  What is clear is that American businesses are more willing then ever to experiment with ways to increase their own efficiencies and decrease their expenses.  At oDesk, we’re certainly seeing an increase in outsourcing and homeshoring, as more small businesses discover the value of contractors.  Only time can tell how far this trend will take us.

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Python gaining on Ruby https://www.upwork.com/blog/2009/03/python-gaining-on-ruby/ https://www.upwork.com/blog/2009/03/python-gaining-on-ruby/#comments Wed, 30 Nov -0001 00:00:00 +0000 http://www.odesk.com/blog/?p=2952 Web 2.0 is still quite the wild frontier, and it’s not always clear which horse you should back in any race.  Take programming languages; Ruby has been dominating Python for some time now.  Things, however, may be changing.  Google recently chose to support Python first for the Google App Engine, and our trends seem to […]

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Web 2.0 is still quite the wild frontier, and it’s not always clear which horse you should back in any race.  Take programming languages; Ruby has been dominating Python for some time now.  Things, however, may be changing.  Google recently chose to support Python first for the Google App Engine, and our trends seem to show this fight isn’t over yet.

Ruby is a dynamic, reflective general purpose object-oriented language designed in Japan.  It supports multiple programming paradigms, and combines syntax inspired by Perl with Small-talk like features.  Founder Yukihiro Matsumoto “wanted a language that was more powerful than Perl, and more object-oriented than Python,” so he developed Ruby.

Python is another multi-paradigm language conceived in the Netherlands.  Simplicity and flexibility are central to the design of Python.  Python was designed to encourage the creation of extensions, rather than having everything built into the language core, allowing programmers to customize it.

Until recently, Ruby has been greatly outpacing Python.  Our oDesk job data shows that a year ago, Ruby jobs outnumbered Python jobs four-to-one.  Today, that lead has dropped to approximately two-to-one.

ruby-vs-python

There are 1,838 Ruby programmers and 1,175 Python programmers on oDesk.

One possible reason for Python’s recent surge is Google’s choice of Python for implementing its Google App Engine applications.  Google’s App Engine allows you to run web applications on Google’s infrastructure, giving you stability and reliability, and also allowing you to utilize things like Google accounts.

The momentum appears to be with Python for now, and is likely to stay that way so long as Google favors the language. And since Python’s author, Guido van Rossum, works at Google, that’s not likely to change soon.  This fight’s not over, as Python clearly has a lot of ground to make up on Ruby.  But things seem to be going Python’s way today.

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Demand for .NET Developers Remains Strong https://www.upwork.com/blog/2009/03/demand-net-developers-remains-strong/ https://www.upwork.com/blog/2009/03/demand-net-developers-remains-strong/#comments Wed, 30 Nov -0001 00:00:00 +0000 http://www.odesk.com/blog/?p=2848 Last week we looked at PHP in our ongoing coverage of hot skills in demand on oDesk.  This week, we’re highlighting Microsoft’s .NET software framework. In spite of some strong growth by Apple’s Mac OS X operating system in the last few years, Microsoft Windows still rules the roost with nearly 90% market share.  This […]

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Last week we looked at PHP in our ongoing coverage of hot skills in demand on oDesk.  This week, we’re highlighting Microsoft’s .NET software framework.

In spite of some strong growth by Apple’s Mac OS X operating system in the last few years, Microsoft Windows still rules the roost with nearly 90% market share.  This doesn’t seem likely to change in the near future.  The ability to write code for computers running Windows continues to be a valuable skill and the .NET software framework is a key component of many applications.

A major reason the .NET software framework is valuable is that it was designed with Windows in mind.  This means, among other things, that installing an application built on .NET is simplified, since issues such as potential conflicts with other software and security are largely handled for you.  .NET programs also run under the Common Language Runtime, which means you don’t need to jump through a lot of hoops to optimize your code for all sorts of different memory configurations.  Programmers also have access to a large library of .NET classes that manage common functions like manipulating files or handling graphics.  And, since .NET is the backbone of many popular programming languages, like C#, VB.NET, and Cobra, .NET coding skills can improve your ability to code in these languages.

Now, let’s take a look at .NET jobs on oDesk.

net-developers

As you’d expect from a bedrock skill like .NET, demand has remained steady, despite the difficult economy.  Over 225 .NET jobs are posted each month on oDesk, for the over 4,300 .NET Developers on oDesk to apply for.  In good times and bad, we all rely on our computers to get our work done.  So long as Windows maintains its dominance in the businessplace, .NET should continue to enjoy such strong, unwavering demand.

This tutorial is a good place to start if you’re interested in mastering the .NET framework.  Microsoft, of course, maintains a Developer Center for .NET users as well.  The BCL Team, in charge of maintaining the Basic Class Library that .NET programmers utilize for handling the little common tasks that pepper most projects, also have a blog.

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WordPress: The Number One Blogging Platform https://www.upwork.com/blog/2009/03/wordpress-the-number-one-blogging-platform/ https://www.upwork.com/blog/2009/03/wordpress-the-number-one-blogging-platform/#comments Wed, 30 Nov -0001 00:00:00 +0000 http://www.odesk.com/blog/?p=2828 Today we continue our coverage of hot skills in demand at oDesk by shining a spotlight on WordPress.  WordPress is the most popular blogging platform on the net, especially for corporate blogs.  A combination of flexibility, ease of use, and reliability has led many, including us at oDesk, to choose WordPress to power their blogs.  […]

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Today we continue our coverage of hot skills in demand at oDesk by shining a spotlight on WordPress.  WordPress is the most popular blogging platform on the net, especially for corporate blogs.  A combination of flexibility, ease of use, and reliability has led many, including us at oDesk, to choose WordPress to power their blogs.  Yep, the blog you’re reading right now is run on WordPress.

WordPress is open-source and free.  One of WordPress’s major strengths is the variety of widgets available for the platform. Widgets are small programs that add extra features to your blog.  Many of these are behind-the-scenes sorts of things to make life easier for the blogger, but others, like the animated tag cloud towards the bottom-right of this blog are fun toys for readers to play with.  And since WordPress was designed with a such a flexible plugin architecture, bloggers and developers will continue to improve upon what is already available as blogging continues to evolve.

Now, let’s take a look at WordPress’s growth on oDesk.

wordpress-developers

In early 2008, there were just over a hundred WordPress jobs posted per month on oDesk.  A year later, it’s grown to over 500, and the growth seems to be accelerating.  This growth seems recession proof, likely because as budgets get tighter, and companies are looking for ways to stretch every dollar, they are realizing that blogging is a cheap but effective way of furthering a company’s marketing goals.  But, to make the most of a blog, companies need someone who can infuse it with their style, branding, and look-and-feel.  That’s where WordPress developers, like the 3,351 on oDesk, can provide value.

The best way to learn more about WordPress is to start your own WordPress blog.  The official WordPress site has almost everything you need to get started.  Be sure to check out their Plugin Directory to find all the latest editions and widgets available to make your blog unique.  You can then turn your new blog into a showcase of your (or your company’s) many talents.

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PHP Job Search Success with Certification https://www.upwork.com/blog/2009/03/php-job-search-success-with-certification/ https://www.upwork.com/blog/2009/03/php-job-search-success-with-certification/#comments Wed, 30 Nov -0001 00:00:00 +0000 http://www.odesk.com/blog/?p=2615 We’re going to start blogging about the skill sets that are really hot in our marketplace. The demand for tech skills evolves rapidly, and a smart freelance professional is always looking for the next step in his or her growth. We think the best way to kick this series off is with PHP. PHP, a […]

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We’re going to start blogging about the skill sets that are really hot in our marketplace. The demand for tech skills evolves rapidly, and a smart freelance professional is always looking for the next step in his or her growth. We think the best way to kick this series off is with PHP.

PHP, a scripting language that delivers customizable content on web pages, is all in sorts of popular sites — Yahoo, Digg, Facebook … If you’re on the web these days, that’s probably PHP in the background. It’s flexible, stable and free — and extremely popular with Web 2.0 developers.

The language was developed in 1994 and has relentlessly expanded ever since. These days, PHP 5, powered by Zend Engine II, is no longer the up-and-coming iteration – it’s now fully mainstream.

php-jobs-by-month-posted

In early 2008, there were just over a thousand PHP jobs posted per month on oDesk. A year later, it’s 2,000 and climbing, a 75% percent year-over-year increase. There’s not a lot in today’s business world growing at that rate, is there? But the global economic meltdown doesn’t seem to be turning this growth curve around. We’ve been talking about PHP for a while now — back in December, we listed PHP as the web developer skill in most demand, and highlighted its meteoric rise: from 800 jobs posted in November 2007 to 1,800 last July. Clearly, PHP is a skill with legs.

If you’re a PHP developer there is every indication you skills will remain marketable for the next decade. As with any technical skill, maintaining and increasing your skill set should be part of day to day living. PHP training is available online and in formal classes if you are not one to learn as you go. The PHP development page is an obvious good first start and w3schools offers some excellent tutorials also.

Once you have the basics down, it might be time to visit Zend’s website for some more in-depth training, with an eye towards certification. Certification from Zend will carry weight in any interview and establishes a formally measured minimum level of competence. Now that PHP is fully mainstream and the level of competition has increased, certification can be expected to be a given as opposed to a bonus like many other mainstream technologies. Certification will give you an advantage over developers who are not in this competitive job market. Once certified, you can join our own Zend Group as a location employers will look to find fully certified PHP developers as an added resource for your job search arsenal.

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Demand for iPhone App Development Passes Facebook https://www.upwork.com/blog/2009/02/demand-for-iphone-application-development-passes-facebook/ https://www.upwork.com/blog/2009/02/demand-for-iphone-application-development-passes-facebook/#comments Wed, 30 Nov -0001 00:00:00 +0000 http://www.odesk.com/blog/?p=2456 In December, we demonstrated that iPhone application development was beating the pants off Android – jobs to develop the Apple apps were leading by 10 to one.  This week, we comb our trend data to look at Facebook app development vs. iPhone app development.  Facebook became open to third party development when it launched the […]

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In December, we demonstrated that iPhone application development was beating the pants off Android – jobs to develop the Apple apps were leading by 10 to one.  This week, we comb our trend data to look at Facebook app development vs. iPhone app development.  Facebook became open to third party development when it launched the Facebook platform on May 24, 2007.  Apple announced the iPhone SDK on March 6, 2008 at a Town Hall meeting.

Facebook and iPhone are, of course, very different platforms.  One is the leading social network, whereas the other is the world’s fastest growing device.  Not only are these different technologies, they also follow different business models.  Facebook apps are free and depend on traffic and advertising for revenue.  iPhone apps, on the other hand, are either free or charge installation or upgrade fees, usually $0.99 to $2.99.  Distribution of facebook apps is primarily viral (via invites, newsfeed, etc) whereas iPhone applications are downloaded via Apple’s app store.

However, both technologies, and application development for each, have captured mainstream imagination.  So let’s look at the numbers!  There are currently 1,246 Facebook Developers on oDesk.  Demand for Facebook app development rose fast at the beginning of 2008, plateaued, then started a dramatic upswing late in the year, peaking at 159 job posts last month.  Meanwhile, over on the iPhone aisle, we see a much steeper, more prolonged rise in demand starting last May.  217 iPhone jobs were posted last month.  There are 561 iPhone programmers on oDesk.

facebook-vs-iphone-chart

(Caveat: oDesk is a growing service, so upward trends can partly be attributed to our growth).

Looking at both the January 2009 totals and the angle of these rising curves, it’s clear that iPhone has caught, and is now beating Facebook for developer demand.  Considering Facebook’s head start, and its 175 million users, iPhone’s rising popularity is even more impressive.  Apple’s old-fashioned “make it, sell it, cash the check” business model seems to be humming along while the social networking app business model is a longer-term play.

That’s our latest technology-versus-technology cage match, but the hard-core stats fan can find tons more data on iPhone, Facebook and more than 40 other skills and platforms on our Trends pages.  Comments are open — let us know what you think of the iPhone/Facebook comparison, or tell us which trends you think we should be spotlighting.

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The Freelance Economy according to oDesk: Improve Your Job Search https://www.upwork.com/blog/2009/02/the-freelance-economy-according-to-odesk/ https://www.upwork.com/blog/2009/02/the-freelance-economy-according-to-odesk/#comments Wed, 30 Nov -0001 00:00:00 +0000 http://www.odesk.com/blog/?p=2218 Still sick of hearing dreadful news every day about the U.S. economy?  Earlier this month, we provided some rare good news when we reported on the acceleration of U.S. freelance job growth.  Today, we’re going dig deeper into our data to try to provide a fair & balanced assessment on the state of the Freelance […]

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Still sick of hearing dreadful news every day about the U.S. economy?  Earlier this month, we provided some rare good news when we reported on the acceleration of U.S. freelance job growth.  Today, we’re going dig deeper into our data to try to provide a fair & balanced assessment on the state of the Freelance Economy.  We are going to answer three questions:

1)    Is outsourcing growing or shrinking as companies are tightening their belts in the recession?
2)    Is competition for freelance jobs heating up?
3)    If so, are wages being depressed?

As a marketplace for online workteams, we keep close tabs on outsourcing trends, including growth, wage statistics, and country-by-country comparisons.  We share as much of this data as possible with our community of businesses & freelancers in our oConomy. This analysis is based off of oConomy data.

1. The growth of outsourcing
Jobs aren’t just being slashed these days — they’re being clearcut like an old-growth forest. Yet work still has to get done, which is why freelancing and outsourcing continue to grow at a furious rate. With unemployment rates at their highest in 15 years, more skilled professionals are looking for freelance work, and leaner companies are looking to outsource functions rather than hire more full-time staff. The bottom line: Last year, outsourcing on oDesk nearly tripled.

Hours Per Quarter

This broad-based trend, stretching across continents, had an interesting twist — a resurgence of homeshoring, in which U.S. buyers outsource to U.S. providers.  We reported on this trend earlier this month.  Notice that growth in the amount of work done in the U.S. was faster relative to other countries known for outsourcing, like India and Russia:

Growth in New Hires - US vs India vs Russia

We concluded that higher satisfaction rates are helping U.S. workers gain ground against the often cheaper competition overseas.

2. Competition for jobs
Although more freelance work is happening than ever, there are also more people looking to do it, which gives more leverage to employers. Eighteen months ago, there were 2.5 service providers for each buyer. Today, there are nearly 4.

oDesk User Ratio (Providers vs. Buyers) by Month

More jobs means more providers are finding work than ever before, but that spike in competition means it takes new workers longer to find their first jobs and get themselves established. In January 2007, 11% of providers found their first job within 90 days of signing up on oDesk. Today, that number is down to 3%.

microsoft-excel-02-17-2009-191312

Increased competition leaves the freelance provider with two recourses as she shapes her resume, especially in tech-oriented categories such as software development: Pursue the skills and jobs showing the greatest growth in 2008, or those with the least competition.

3. Wages
You’d expect greater competition to push down pay rates. Surprisingly, oDesk is seeing wages within countries escape that downward spiral. For example, our U.S. hourly rate stats show key areas holding steady or, for highly technical skills such as software development, actually rising.

United States Hourly Rates

So there are more people competing for jobs, but it seems that not everyone is truly competitive.  The provider with valuable skills and the ability to market himself online and deliver results over great distances can still demand healthy rates.

So what’s the state of the freelance economy from our perspective? The bad news is the same that you’re reading in every newspaper — full-time workers are losing their jobs, and companies are tightening their belts. The good news, though, is that there there is more freelance work than ever, and the smart, skilled freelancer is well-positioned to thrive.  And, of course, businesses have more qualified freelancers to choose from than ever.

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oDesk crosses milestone & unveils new oConomy https://www.upwork.com/blog/2009/02/odesk-crosses-milestone-unveils-new-oconomy/ https://www.upwork.com/blog/2009/02/odesk-crosses-milestone-unveils-new-oconomy/#comments Wed, 30 Nov -0001 00:00:00 +0000 http://www.odesk.com/blog/?p=2082 We’re a little obsessed with analytics here at oDesk. We start each day with a vigorous round of “Daily Predictions.” The rules of the game: Guess how many hours of work will be logged worldwide on oDesk that day (ending 4 pm Pacific time). Players must log their guesses in a Google doc by noon, and […]

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We’re a little obsessed with analytics here at oDesk. We start each day with a vigorous round of “Daily Predictions.” The rules of the game: Guess how many hours of work will be logged worldwide on oDesk that day (ending 4 pm Pacific time). Players must log their guesses in a Google doc by noon, and no one can pick a total within 20 hours of anyone else’s guess. Don’t even ask about the disciplinary procedures for sneaking in after lunch and changing your guess — they involve severe public shaming.  The winner gets bragging rights, his or her name in the official “winners column,” and the (grudging) admiration of colleagues.

This is not a game for the faint of heart. Each of us has developed a personal algorithm, taking into account such variables as the number of hours already logged a the deadline approaches, the percent increase over the same day and time from the week before, and which guesses have already been claimed by rivals. It’s amazing that any work gets done before noon.

Last week was an especially exciting for this pulse-pounding mental sport.  We crossed 10,000 online hours in a single day for the first time on Tuesday.  What does 10,000 hours mean?  That’s five man-years of work logged on oDesk in a single day.

oDesk daily hours, 2009

We couldn’t have crossed this important milestone without you – the more than 200,000 buyers and providers in 150 countries, so thanks for building our success, and for giving us a thrilling afternoon.  Imagine if we had money riding on this game.

When we’re not swimming through our data for fun and sport, we’re crunching numbers to better serve our community.  We always like to be transparent, and like to share data with you whenever possible.  To better live up to that, we recently redesigned our oConomy this week, which is chalk full of fascinating trends and data.  Check out the new look:

oConomy

In case you’re wondering, it’s Product Manager Anand Hattiangadi who’s on a winning streak at “Daily Predictions” these days.  But we’re all gunning for him now, refining those personal algorithms every chance we get.  Work hours might be going up, Anand … but you’re goin’ down!

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Joomla vs Drupal – Battle of the CMSes https://www.upwork.com/blog/2009/02/joomla-vs-drupal-battle-of-the-cmses/ https://www.upwork.com/blog/2009/02/joomla-vs-drupal-battle-of-the-cmses/#comments Wed, 30 Nov -0001 00:00:00 +0000 http://www.odesk.com/blog/?p=1939 Today we’re going to look at the growth of Content Management Systems, software packages that allow non-technical users to make changes to existing websites with little or no HTML training.  Joomla and Drupal are the two most popular CMSes on oDesk.  Earlier this month, we listed both of these platforms among our skills with the […]

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Today we’re going to look at the growth of Content Management Systems, software packages that allow non-technical users to make changes to existing websites with little or no HTML training.  Joomla and Drupal are the two most popular CMSes on oDesk.  Earlier this month, we listed both of these platforms among our skills with the fastest growing demand of 2008, showing that they are more relevant than ever.  WordPress topped that list, but we’re considering it a blogging platform for the time being.  Now, let’s take a look at trends in Joomla and Drupal.

There are currently 4,695 Joomla developers on oDesk, and 201 open jobs.  Joomla has shown steady growth over the last two years, from 300 jobs posted per month at the start of 2008 to over 500 today.  The average Joomla job size is 125 hours.

joomla-chart

There are about half as many Drupal developers (2,212) and jobs (108) on oDesk, but the average job is almost twice the size, at 234 hours.  Drupal, too, has shown steady growth from 125 jobs posted per month last year to 250 today.

drupal-chart1

So, Drupal jobs have half the frequency and are twice the length, which may point to the platform being used more by larger enterprises, vs. smaller projects for smaller businesses for Joomla.  Although there are fewer Drupal jobs for providers to choose from, it seems to be much less competitive of a skill.  In fact, it made our list of the top 10 skills with the least competition and most opportunity, which we published in December.

In any case, it looks like both Joomla and Drupal have sizable communities and continue to grow.  Providers with PHP skills should certainly promote them on their resumes to improve their marketability.

Now, onto the question you have been waiting for – which CMS is ‘better’?  It doesn’t matter — both have a lot of buyers looking to spend money.  Both have their own strengths & weaknesses when it comes to factors such as ease-of use, compatibility to databases like MySQL and Postgres, and interoperability with various elements like Shopping Carts, Event Calendars, and Themes.  They have been, and continue to be, analyzed time and again by knowledgeable experts (see here, here, and here.)  But don’t let that stop you from telling us which CMS is better.  What’s a blog for, if not passionate techie arguments?

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Freelance Job Growth Accelerates in the U.S. https://www.upwork.com/blog/2009/02/freelance-job-growth-accelerates-in-the-us/ https://www.upwork.com/blog/2009/02/freelance-job-growth-accelerates-in-the-us/#comments Wed, 30 Nov -0001 00:00:00 +0000 http://www.odesk.com/blog/?p=1577 Are you sick of hearing dreadful news every day about the U.S. economy?  40,000 job cuts here, 15,000 layoffs there.  Unemployment potentially rising to 10% in this recession.  Fortunately, we have some good news for Americans today. We see over 11,000 jobs posted every month, and historically many of those jobs have gone offshore to […]

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Are you sick of hearing dreadful news every day about the U.S. economy?  40,000 job cuts here, 15,000 layoffs there.  Unemployment potentially rising to 10% in this recession.  Fortunately, we have some good news for Americans today.

We see over 11,000 jobs posted every month, and historically many of those jobs have gone offshore to lower-cost countries.  But, oDesk is a free market, and over the past year we’ve seen a resurgence in homeshoring, or U.S. companies outsourcing to U.S.-based talent. Why is this the case?  While rates are higher for U.S. providers, feedback scores tend to be higher, too.

Work done in the U.S. grew at a rate of 367% from 2007 to 2008, 50% faster than oDesk’s overall rate of growth.

United States Hours by Week

This growth was faster relative to other countries known for outsourcing, like India and Russia.

Growth in New Hires - US vs India vs Russia

One driver for offshore outsourcing has been the lower cost of living in other countries like the Philippines and Ukraine.  Software developers and other skilled professionals in these countries require less income than their counterparts in the U.S.  As seen in the chart below, the U.S. average hourly rate is more than $6 higher than our average.

United States Hourly Rates vs oDesk Average

In fact, when we break U.S. rates into job categories, we see that they are actually rising in skilled categories like software development.

United States Hourly Rates

So then why are businesses choosing to outsource their jobs to U.S.-based providers?  One possible explanation is that there are more U.S. providers today, providing buyers a wider variety of U.S.-based skills and experience, than ever before. In December alone, over 20,000 new U.S. providers signed up on oDesk, the largest monthly percentage increase (over 40%) that we have seen since 2005.  Other possible reasons could be better ability to co-ordinate due to time-zone differences or fewer language and cultural barriers.  Regardless of the exact cause, the chart below shows that U.S. providers’ average feedback score has been consistently higher than the oDesk average:

US Average Feedback vs oDesk Average

It seems that customer satisfaction on work done by U.S. freelancers is playing a key role in this promising new trend for talented U.S. professionals.  It goes to show that outsourcing is not just about finding the lowest price, and that’s why U.S. professionals are able to command higher rates.  We will keep monitoring this trend and keep you updated on our findings.

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Кто самый трудолюбивый? https://www.upwork.com/blog/2009/01/do-russians-work-the-hardest-ru/ https://www.upwork.com/blog/2009/01/do-russians-work-the-hardest-ru/#comments Wed, 30 Nov -0001 00:00:00 +0000 http://www.odesk.com/blog/?p=1863 На прошлой неделе мы немного поиграли с цифрами, вычисляя, какая из стран предлагает лучшее соотношение «цена-качество» на рынке фрилансерских услуг. На этой неделе мы решили поискать ответ на другой вопрос – кто самый трудолюбивый? Чтобы это выяснить, мы опять обратились к нашей статистике. Один из самых простых способов определить степень трудолюбия, это посмотреть, сколько люди […]

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На прошлой неделе мы немного поиграли с цифрами, вычисляя, какая из стран предлагает лучшее соотношение «цена-качество» на рынке фрилансерских услуг. На этой неделе мы решили поискать ответ на другой вопрос – кто самый трудолюбивый? Чтобы это выяснить, мы опять обратились к нашей статистике.

Один из самых простых способов определить степень трудолюбия, это посмотреть, сколько люди работают. Итак, сначала мы посмотрели на среднее количество часов, отработанных пользователями каждой из 7 стран, возглавляющих наш список, в 2008 г. – всего за год, и по дням.

Часов/активных пользователей Место
Часов/день в 2008* Место
Россия 399 1 4.9 2
Украина 308 2 4.5 3
Индия 266 3 5.0 1
Пакистан 241 4 4.0 4
Филиппины 218 5 3.4 5
Канада 142 6 3.1 6
США 89 7 2.8 7

*Общее количество часов, отработанных активными пользователями в каждой из стран, поделенное на количество отработанных человеко-часов.

Пользователи из России возглавляют список по количеству часов в год, и занимают второе место по количеству часов в день.

Причин, по которым некоторые пользователи работают больше, чем другие, несколько. Пользователи с высоким рейтингом, скорее всего, работают больше, потому что меньше времени тратят на поиск работы (Россия занимает середину списка из этих 7 стран со своим средним баллом в 4.30 из 5). Так же, пользователи, работающие над продолжительным проектом, работают больше, чем те, которые заняты краткосрочным заданием. Кроме того, пользователи с более низкой почасовой ставкой, как правило, работают большее количество часов (средняя ставка пользователей из России – $16.86, и она находится в более дорогой части спектра).

В дополнение к количеству отработанных часов, мы также рассмотрели усилия пользователей по прохождению квалификационных тестов. Эти тесты позволяют пользователям продемонстрировать потенциальным заказчикам свой опыт в разных областях. Мы исходим из того, что вероятно, что те, кто проходит больше тестов и получает по ним более высокие баллы, также более трудолюбив.

Пройденных тестов на пользователя Место Средний процентиль Место
Россия 2.5 1 56.6 1
Филиппины 2.4 2 41.0 5T
Украина 2.4 3
53.2 4
Пакистан 2.2 4 37.4 7
Индия 2.1 5 41.0 5T
Канада 2.0 6 54.5 2
США 1.9 7 53.5 3

Пользователи из России занимают первое место как по количеству пройденных тестов, так и по полученным за них баллам.

Dmitry Sokurenko=Пользователи из России заняли первое место по трем из четырех рассмотренных нами показателям, и, таким образом, получается, что русские самие трудолюбивые. Так что, следующий раз, когда у вас будет особо трудное задание, рассмотрите в качестве возможного кандидата русского разработчика Ruby-on-Rails с высоким рейтингом – Дмитрия Сокуренко (нажмите на фото, чтобы увидеть его резюме). Конечно, к этому анализу нужно относиться с долей сомнения. Индивидуальные различия между пользователями намного перевешивают различия национальные, поэтому необходимо найти такого работника, который лучше всего пойдет для ваших нужд.

Если вам было интересно следить за нашим анализом (нам точно было интересно), и вы хотите еще, посмотрите раздел oConomy – богатый источник интересной статистики по аутсорсингу. Например, посмотрите на нашу странцу Аутсорсинг в России, где вы найдете более подробную статистику по России. Обобщенная информация представлена в недавно созданной Презентации по статистике по аутсорсингу в России в 2008 г.

(Russian translation of the previous post)

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Do Russians Work the Hardest? https://www.upwork.com/blog/2009/01/do-russians-work-the-hardest/ https://www.upwork.com/blog/2009/01/do-russians-work-the-hardest/#comments Wed, 30 Nov -0001 00:00:00 +0000 http://www.odesk.com/blog/?p=1728 The week before last, we had some fun with numbers by calculating which countries offer the best “value for money” in providing freelance work.  This week, we thought we’d try to answer a different question – who works the hardest?  To figure that out, we again dug through our data on individuals’ work activity on […]

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The week before last, we had some fun with numbers by calculating which countries offer the best “value for money” in providing freelance work.  This week, we thought we’d try to answer a different question – who works the hardest?  To figure that out, we again dug through our data on individuals’ work activity on oDesk.

One straightforward way to measure hard work is to look at how much people are working.  So, we began by looking at the average number of hours worked by service providers in each of our top 7 countries in 2008, total and per day.

Hours/active provider in 2008
Rank
Hours/day worked in 2008*
Rank
Russia 399 1 4.9 2
Ukraine 308 2 4.5 3
India 266 3 5.0 1
Pakistan 241 4 4.0 4
Philippines 218 5 3.4 5
Canada 142 6 3.1 6
United States 89 7 2.8 7

*Total hours worked by active service providers in each country divided by man-days worked

Russian providers top the list in terms of hours per year, and came in 2nd for hours per day.

There are several reasons why some providers may work more than others.  Providers with higher customer satisfaction scores may work more hours because they spend less time looking for work (Russians’ average feedback score of 4.30 falls in the middle of the spectrum of these 7 countries).  Similarly, providers working on longer-term projects tend to work more hours than those working on shorter gigs.  Finally, providers with lower hourly rates tend to work more hours (Russia’s average hourly rate of $16.86 is towards the more expensive side of the spectrum).

In addition to the number of hours worked, we also considered individuals’ efforts in qualification tests.  These tests allow providers to demonstrate proficiency in various skills to the businesses that hire them.  Presumably, those taking more tests, and scoring higher, are working harder.

# Tests taken per service provider
Rank
Average Test Percentile Rank
Russia 2.5 1 56.6 1
Philippines 2.4 2 41.0 5T
Ukraine 2.4 3
53.2 4
Pakistan 2.2 4 37.4 7
India 2.1 5 41.0 5T
Canada 2.0 6 54.5 2
United States 1.9 7 53.5 3

Russians providers rank first for both the number of tests taken and their scores on qualification tests.

Dmitry Sokurenko=The Russians came in ranked #1 for three out of the four metrics we considered, and thus it appears that perhaps Russians do work the hardest.    So, next time you’ve got a really tough assignment, consider hiring a Russian like top-rated Ruby-on-Rails developer Dmitry Sokurenko (click photo to see profile).  Of course, this analysis needs to be taken with a grain of salt.  Individual differences between providers far outweigh national differences, so you need to find the right provider for your needs.

If you had fun with this analysis (we did), and want to do more, visit the oConomy, which is a goldmine of interesting statistics on outsourcing. For example, take a look at our Outsourcing to Russia page for more complete stats on Russia.  Summary stats can also be found in our recently created 2008 Russia Outsourcing Statistics Report.

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Demand for Linux Surges https://www.upwork.com/blog/2009/01/demand-for-linux-surges/ https://www.upwork.com/blog/2009/01/demand-for-linux-surges/#comments Wed, 30 Nov -0001 00:00:00 +0000 http://www.odesk.com/blog/?p=1409 So here we are in 2009 and if you haven’t been living under a rock, you know that you are no longer stuck with the choice between just Windows and Mac.  A third operating system, Linux, has edged its way into the mainstream, propagated by a passionate group of Linux developers. Today we are going […]

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So here we are in 2009 and if you haven’t been living under a rock, you know that you are no longer stuck with the choice between just Windows and Mac.  A third operating system, Linux, has edged its way into the mainstream, propagated by a passionate group of Linux developers.

Today we are going to examine the growth of Linux from oDesk‘s perspective (oDesk is a marketplace for online workteams), looking at supply and demand for Linux-related freelance work and the geographies it is taking place in.

Today, oDesk typically has 175-200 jobs posted per month with the “Linux” keyword in them.  A yearly snapshot of this metric shows serious growth.

Year # of Jobs*
2006 128
2007 796
2008 2014

*Job openings with “Linux” as a keyword

Linux jobs are clearly on the rise, but a more interesting piece of trivia is that there are currently 87 open jobs with the keyword “Linux,” compared to 134 jobs with “Windows” and 43 jobs with “Mac.” This indicates a 32% market share for Linux among new jobs, significantly higher than the 12.7% share of the server market and 1-2% share of the desktop market that Linux owns according to Wikipedia.  Of course, to suggest that Linux truly has a 32% market share on oDesk is aggressive; many job posters do not specify that they prefer Windows — it’s just assumed.  But perhaps this is a leading indicator of Linux’s continued growth on oDesk.

linux-v-windows3
Job Market Share on oDesk (linux, windows, mac)

Looking at which countries are embracing Linux, we see the United States dominates in both posting Linux jobs and providing Linux professional services.  But, this may be (and probably) is a reflection of the location distributions of oDesk’s buyers and providers.

Top 5 Linux Buyer Countries # of Jobs*
United States 511
United Kingdom 67
Australia 43
Canada 41
India 13

*Job openings, last 12 months, with “Linux” listed as a required skill

Top 5 Linux Provider Countries # of Providers*
United States 335
India 309
Russia 74
Ukraine 70
Philippines 64

*Providers with “Linux” listed in their profile titles

Finally, let’s look at what Linux distributions, if any, are requested in job postings.  We find the following data, which shows that the work is, in fact, spread out between several distributions.

Top 5 Linux distributions $ of Jobs*
Red Hat 224
CentOS 199
Fedora 166
Ubuntu 151
Debian 127

*All-time occurrences of jobs with linux distribution keywords on oDesk.

The upshot seems to be that buyers of professional services around the world investing hard cash in Linux-related jobs is a tribute to the platform’s success and credibility.  It seems Linux is here to stay with respectable growth compared to other job skill trends. What do you think? The comment thread is open …

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Women are 3.5% better than men https://www.upwork.com/blog/2009/01/women-are-better-than-men-at-remote-work/ https://www.upwork.com/blog/2009/01/women-are-better-than-men-at-remote-work/#comments Wed, 30 Nov -0001 00:00:00 +0000 http://www.odesk.com/blog/?p=1273 We don’t want to start a battle of the sexes with that headline, but we spent an afternoon playing around with the age-old — and often controversial — idea that men and women are not the same.  In the world of remote work, though, many of the perceived differences between genders shouldn’t come into play, […]

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We don’t want to start a battle of the sexes with that headline, but we spent an afternoon playing around with the age-old — and often controversial — idea that men and women are not the same.  In the world of remote work, though, many of the perceived differences between genders shouldn’t come into play, right?  When all you’re seeing is the final product of someone you’re never going to meet face-to-face, all our cultural programming, habits and stereotypes shouldn’t matter: all the employer sees is the work.  With that in mind, we decided to check feedback scores to see whether there’s any perceived difference between the work done on oDesk by men and women.

Trouble is, oDesk doesn’t collect gender info from our remote providers — so we had to do it the hard way.  We took a sampling of 3,000 providers and divided the likely men (the Marks, Dmitriys, and Sanjays) from the likely women (the Jennifers, Olgas, Priyankas).  We threw out the names that could go either way (Robins, Shannons, Valeriys).  Here’s what we got:

# of Providers
% of Total
Female 580 17.29%
Male 2774 82.71%

The sample suggests that men outnumber women on oDesk by four to one.  Not surprising, since most of the professionals on oDesk are tech-related (like php programmers & ruby on rails programmers), and the engineering gender gap is well-known.  According to the National Science Foundation, fewer than 20 percent of engineering graduates in the U.S. are women.

However, it’s quality that we’re interested in, not quantity, so let’s look at the feedback provided by employers to their freelance professionals:

Average Feedback*
Female 4.404
Male 4.255
Male vs. Female Normal Curve

*These averages were computed with a standard error of 0.049, and are statistically significant with a p-value of 0.009 (for all the hard-core statisticians).

So there are the numbers, folks — women deliver the goods to their employers, 3.5 percent better, on average. (Gentlemen, that sound you’re hearing is thousands upon thousands of female remote workers cranking up Aretha’s “Respect.”) We know, of course, that in the real world, it all comes down to the individual you’re hiring, not how many X chromosomes he or she has. Still, we’re wondering whether any employers of remote workers would like to share their experiences.  Managers of provider companies that include small armies of remote workers might also chime in.  Have you noticed a gender-based difference, and did it contradict or confirm your expectations?

And hey there, remote-workin’ fellas — you may have the numerical advantage now, but our workplace for non-techie jobs is growing fast, so we expect more women to enter our marketplace in 2009.  You think the competition might start heating up?

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Philippines & Pakistan top oDesk’s “value for money” outsourcing rankings https://www.upwork.com/blog/2009/01/philippines-pakistan-top-odesks-value-for-money-outsourcing-rankings/ https://www.upwork.com/blog/2009/01/philippines-pakistan-top-odesks-value-for-money-outsourcing-rankings/#comments Wed, 30 Nov -0001 00:00:00 +0000 http://www.odesk.com/blog/?p=1142 Today we’re going to have some fun with numbers by trying to calculate “value for money” between countries in hiring contractors to your workteam. The following table summarizes oDesk’s average hourly rates and feedback scores in each of our top 7 provider countries. United States Pakistan Ukraine Canada Russia Philippines India Avg Hourly Rate-Overall $18.32 […]

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Today we’re going to have some fun with numbers by trying to calculate “value for money” between countries in hiring contractors to your workteam. The following table summarizes oDesk’s average hourly rates and feedback scores in each of our top 7 provider countries.

United States Pakistan Ukraine Canada Russia Philippines India
Avg Hourly Rate-Overall $18.32 $11.13 $15.96 $19.60 $16.86 $6.33 $12.52
Avg Hourly Rate-Developers* $29.99 $10.30 $16.61 $21.49 $17.60 $11.27 $13.25
Avg Hourly Rate-Data Entry* $7.91 $3.07 $5.38 $10.90 $15.86 $3.15 $2.81
Avg Feedback Score 4.4 4.36 4.36 4.32 4.31 4.3 4.01

*We’ve only broken out the rates for software development and data entry; there are many other categories of work on oDesk that aren’t listed here.

Looking at this data, it’s obvious that there is much greater variance in average hourly rates ($6.33 to $19.60) than feedback scores (4.01 to 4.40). We therefore scale the numbers to percentiles to compare between countries. We then do a quick-and-dirty calculation, averaging the percentiles, and finally rank the countries to determine their relative “value for money.”

Average Feedback Percentile Average Rate Percentile “Value for money” (avg AFP, ARP) “Value for money” ranking “Value for money” ranking-Developers “Value for money” ranking-Data Entry
Philippines 74 100 87 1 2 2
Pakistan 90 64 77 2 1 1
Ukraine 90 27 59 3 3 3
United States 100 10 55 4 6 4
Russia 77 21 49 5 4 7
Canada 79 0 40 6 5 5
India 0 53 27 7 7 6

The results … the Philippines and Pakistan rank the highest in this admittedly simplistic analysis, which must be taken with a grain of salt. There are many factors to be taken into consideration when hiring contractors to your workteams. But, in the meantime, congratulations to providers in these two countries for topping the list! Fans of outsourcing to the Philippines and Pakistan will also be glad to know that they were also the fastest growing countries on oDesk, by hours worked, from 2007-2008.

2007-2008 Growth Rank
Philippines 789% 1
Pakistan 328% 2
United States 260% 3
Canada 121% 4
India 113% 5
Ukraine 77% 6
Russia 43% 7

If you had fun with this analysis (we did), and want to do more, visit the oConomy, which is a goldmine of interesting statistics on outsourcing. For example, take a look at our Outsourcing to Philippines and Outsourcing to Pakistan pages for more complete stats on these countries. 2008 outsourcing summary stats can also be found in our recently created Philippines and Pakistan slideshare presentations.< –>

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What’s Hot? Skills with Fastest Growing Demand in 2008 https://www.upwork.com/blog/2009/01/top-growth-tech-skills-in-2008/ https://www.upwork.com/blog/2009/01/top-growth-tech-skills-in-2008/#comments Wed, 30 Nov -0001 00:00:00 +0000 http://www.odesk.com/blog/?p=1045 . We are going to take a look today at the technologies or skills that enjoyed the greatest percentage increase in 2008 by keywords listed in job postings on oDesk. The numbers in the table below show the number of job postings on oDesk in which the skills were listed as “required,” and their relative […]

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.

We are going to take a look today at the technologies or skills that enjoyed the greatest percentage increase in 2008 by keywords listed in job postings on oDesk. The numbers in the table below show the number of job postings on oDesk in which the skills were listed as “required,” and their relative increase from the end of 2007 to the end of 2008. You will notice some variance in the numbers between the table and the charts below as the numbers on the charts show keyword mentions in the job post titles, not required skills.

Skill/Experience Openings Last 60 Days 2007 Openings Last 60 Days 2008 Change
WordPress 37 195 427.0%
Writing* 32 138 331.3%
Excel* 30 118 293.3%
SEO 73 250 242.5%
XHTML 24 61 154.2%
Linux 23 58 152.2%
Drupal 70 169 141.4%
Joomla 157 352 124.2%
CSS 119 250 110.1%
Graphic Design* 20 42 110.0%

*Because writing, graphic design, and excel have small starting points, we believe their change reflects oDesk growth, not a general trend.

Since oDesk is a job board for freelance and contract technical jobs, the numbers here may vary from permanent placement job data. There are definitely other skills that are in more demand as noted here and here but these skills represent the greatest increase by percentage in 2008.

Blogging seems to dominate as a tech growth area in 2008. Demand for WordPress designers has increased by more than 4 times. Demand for freelance writers, a good portion of which are online or blog related, more than tripled.

Website (or blog) development and design show up elsewhere on our list with strong demand growth shown for SEO consultantsXHTML designersDrupal developersJoomla developersCSS designers and Graphic Designers.  This list really shows that “web presence” and any of the skills associated with this area were the fastest growing area in 2008.

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Linux continues its march into the mainstream with its 152% increase.

We’ve summarized this data in our latest presentation on the fastest growing skills in 2008:

Enjoy!

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Stay Employed – Jobs with the Least Competition and Greatest Opportunity https://www.upwork.com/blog/2008/12/stay-employed-jobs-with-the-least-competition-and-greatest-opportunity/ https://www.upwork.com/blog/2008/12/stay-employed-jobs-with-the-least-competition-and-greatest-opportunity/#comments Wed, 30 Nov -0001 00:00:00 +0000 http://www.odesk.com/blog/?p=973 . Due to the popularity of our Web Developer Skills in Most Demand post last week, we thought we would follow up with more interesting information from the oDesk Trends vaults to assist you develop your resume to stay employed in these challenging economic times. Last week we looked at the base number of job […]

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Due to the popularity of our Web Developer Skills in Most Demand post last week, we thought we would follow up with more interesting information from the oDesk Trends vaults to assist you develop your resume to stay employed in these challenging economic times. Last week we looked at the base number of job postings for various web technologies and skills over the past year on the oDesk job boards. This week, we will look at various skills and technologies and the competition, or lack thereof, for them. A look at the supply compared to the demand.

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In viewing these numbers, keep in mind this is for oDesk which is primarily concerned with placement for freelance and contract positions. As noted by some of our .NET and Java brethren from the previous post’s comment section, this may vary with respect to full time placement numbers. We think the data is useful to all.

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In looking at the table below we give you three columns, one with the skill or technology, the second with the average jobs posted per month and the last with the Fill ratio below average. The Fill Ratio Below Average will show the competition for these postings as these jobs are not getting filled at our usual rate. A high number indicates great job opportunities whereas a 0% score indicates all those jobs get filled at our usual rate. Anything not on this list is getting filled at a high rate indicating above average competition for the skill or technology.

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Skills

Jobs Posted Per Month

Fill Ratio Below Average

Database Modeling

63

75%

LAMP

51

58%

Sales

43

51%

Facebook

71

48%

Cake PHP

43

38%

Drupal

187

32%

Cocoa

45

29%

Flex

59

28%

Link Building

44

27%

C#

205

27%

Linux

136

22%

Data Entry

195

21%

C++

136

18%

Ruby on Rails

187

18%

SQL

362

16%

Web Design

244

15%

E Commerce

87

14%

Java

221

13%

VB.NET

90

11%

JQuery

60

11%

AJAX

707

11%

Graphic Design

342

7%

SEO

290

6%

Magento

51

6%

Objective C

51

6%

ASP.NET

376

1%

Logo Design

48

0%

CMS

53

0%

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First up, Database Modeling has the lowest fill rate which means the competition is lowest in this particular field but the postings are in the lower ranges of 63 per month.

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Moving down the table we see that Drupal developers are in demand with 187 jobs posted per month and a 32% below average fill rate. PHP is very popular and competitive on oDesk but developing some specialist knowledge of the Drupal CMS might give you an edge in this field.

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The .NET languages have a good showing in demand with ASP.NET developers being most favored and most competitive and C#.NET being the least competitive but with a respectable 205 job postings per month.  

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Java developers and Ruby on Rails developers are similar in fairly high demand per month (180-230 postings per month) and the competition below our average in the 13-18% region below average fill rate.

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AJAX programmers are in high demand with 707 jobs posted requiring this skill and the competition is below average at 11%. This seems like an essential element for any web developer to have on his resume.

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There you have it! Hopefully some useful information when guiding your career path. More information can be found on the skills and languages above as well as many other tech skills on our Trends page.

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Stay Employed – Web Developer Skills in Most Demand (PHP, AJAX, MySQL …) https://www.upwork.com/blog/2008/12/stay-employed-web-developer-skills-in-most-demand-php-ajax-mysql/ https://www.upwork.com/blog/2008/12/stay-employed-web-developer-skills-in-most-demand-php-ajax-mysql/#comments Wed, 30 Nov -0001 00:00:00 +0000 http://www.odesk.com/blog/2008/12/stay-employed-web-developer-skills-in-most-demand-php-ajax-mysql/                        While these may not be a great revelation to many, included below are the web development skills that will get you employed now and by all evidences of their growth, for the foreseeable future. Knowing and being professional in at least some of the skills below to maximize your prospects for being employed. […]

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                     While these may not be a great revelation to many, included below are the web development skills that will get you employed now and by all evidences of their growth, for the foreseeable future. Knowing and being professional in at least some of the skills below to maximize your prospects for being employed.

                     In looking at these graphs, keep in mind that oDesk is a growing site so even a flat trend is a potential sign of decreasing demand.

 

 PHP

PHP developer programmer job outsource demand

PHP is by far the most in-demand web development programming language right now. As you can see from the graph, it has enjoyed a steady climb from November 2007 leveling off in July 2008 at a spectacular 1400 jobs posted. The demand for PHP development work has tripled over the period of a mere 9 months.

AJAX

AJAX programmer developer outsource job demand

The demand for developers with AJAX in their resume or portfolio is also in high demand as the average web page has evolved well beyond animated icons, the presentation and need for a smooth user experience in the front end is more and more essential. The skill enjoyed very similar growth to PHP above from November 2007 to July 2008 where it leveled off holding at around 450 job postings.

 Javascript

 Javascript developer programmer outsource demand

As with the 2 skills above, Javascript enjoys high demand and has a similar shape in demand over the past year. As of November 2008, Javascript demand is steady at 400 after a slight decline since July 2008 but overall demand has doubled over the year.

 XML

XML Developers Programmer outsource job demand
XML is very dominant in web job postings and would seem like a relatively short learning curve to get capable in since it is not a language but a simple framework for describing and manipulating data. XML has very steadily increased over the past year, almost tripling.

MySQL

MySQL developer programmer outsource job demand

MySQL dominates the databases as the data storage method of choice. Increasing to nearly triple over the past year and holding steady at over 1000 jobs posted for the past 8 months.

 CSS

CSS Developer programmer outsource job demand

Cascading Style Sheets is now the way to maintain a uniform professional way to monitor the appearance of modern websites. This method is designer friendly too since one design change does not mean editing every page on a single website but instead one or a few style sheets. It too has near tripled over the past year and holds steady at close to 100 jobs posted.

 Graphic Design

Graphic Design Designers outosurce job demand
Graphic Design is a very in demand skill and although not everyone can color coordinate or design their own icons, if you have any artistic ability or if you can train in it to develop some skills, this will round out your resume nicely. Graphic design demand has tripled over the past year and continues to grow to over 1400 postings.

                     That’s it. These are the skills to have to ensure your resume is not up for long if needed at all. A full view of these skills and 40 more can be seen in our trends page should that interest you.

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Android Getting Slaughtered by iPhone https://www.upwork.com/blog/2008/12/android-getting-slaughtered-by-iphone/ https://www.upwork.com/blog/2008/12/android-getting-slaughtered-by-iphone/#comments Wed, 30 Nov -0001 00:00:00 +0000 http://www.odesk.com/blog/2008/12/android-getting-slaughtered-by-iphone/ A good gauge of the strength of a platform is the trend in demand for development on that platform. Since cell phones are becoming fully featured handheld personal computers, the availability of cool and useful applications they offer will be the battleground by which these platforms will claim their ownership of the cell phone market. […]

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A good gauge of the strength of a platform is the trend in demand for development on that platform. Since cell phones are becoming fully featured handheld personal computers, the availability of cool and useful applications they offer will be the battleground by which these platforms will claim their ownership of the cell phone market.

oDesk’s programming skill trends show the demand for application development across almost 80 different skills.  You can get an interesting look at the iPhone’s strong initial and continuously increasing demand. 

See the full rankings and trends for iPhone Developers

 

               

As you can see in the graph above, we had 40 jobs posted per month in the 3 months from March until June. This shows a very strong belief in Apple and its future as well as a validation of the power of its public relations department in generating strong buzz. This is followed by a dramatic increase in demand for iPhone developers over the next 6 months to 160 jobs per month posted for iPhone application development. Apple “Talked the talk” and then “Walked the walk” by delivering, as it did with the iPod, a product that people wanted to use. 

Google is less aggressive in its release of new products and features. In many cases we are lucky to get a Google blog post on a new product or feature.  Android is not strictly “Google’s” as it is open source and is merely backed by Google. It is not a Google “product” but we can’t help put them together.

The first Android-powered phone snuck out with nowhere near the fanfare of the iPhone release and it shows in its application demand.  Preceding its release, there was literally no demand for application development.

See the full rankings and trends for Android Developers

 

Post release, the demand for application development has increased to a humble 12 jobs per month compared with the iPhone’s very healthy 160 per month. This represents to some the degree the future of the device’s feature set and does not impress at this stage.

In looking at the demand for application development between the iPhone and Android, one can appreciate the power of the Apple PR department, Apples reputation and the continued popularity of the iPhone. Even with Google’s powerful reputation, Android does not even seem to put up a fight with the mighty Apple product. We can’t necessarily count Android out yet, far from it but it has a ways to go yet based upon the past, present and future application development that the iPhone has mustered. 

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The oDesk Manifesto – Don’t settle for less than you deserve https://www.upwork.com/blog/2008/11/the-odesk-manifesto-dont-settle-for-less-than-you-deserve/ https://www.upwork.com/blog/2008/11/the-odesk-manifesto-dont-settle-for-less-than-you-deserve/#comments Wed, 30 Nov -0001 00:00:00 +0000 http://www.odesk.com/blog/2008/11/the-odesk-manifesto-%e2%80%93-don%e2%80%99t-settle-for-less-than-you-deserve/ As anyone who has been tracking oDesk already knows, our community is growing rapidly. In fact, we just passed $50 million in services rendered on oDesk. Kudos to our providers and buyers; we couldn’t have done that without you! Today we released the oDesk Manifesto for Online Work, the first and only such bill of […]

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As anyone who has been tracking oDesk already knows, our community is growing rapidly. In fact, we just passed $50 million in services rendered on oDesk. Kudos to our providers and buyers; we couldn’t have done that without you!

Today we released the oDesk Manifesto for Online Work, the first and only such bill of rights for buyers and providers. Our goal is to show the world that online work is just as viable as traditional work. And since we think oDesk has the best business model for both buyers and providers, we’re publishing this Manifesto to prove it.

oDesk is the only company to offer guaranteed payment to providers and guaranteed work to buyers. The Manifesto is a declaration to professionals who sell their services through the Internet marketplace and the companies that hire them: Don’t settle for less than you deserve.

Check our press release for more information.

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oDesk Achieves 3X Growth in 12 Months https://www.upwork.com/blog/2008/09/odesk-achieves-3x-growth-in-12-months/ https://www.upwork.com/blog/2008/09/odesk-achieves-3x-growth-in-12-months/#comments Wed, 30 Nov -0001 00:00:00 +0000 http://www.odesk.com/blog/2008/09/odesk-achieves-3x-growth-in-12-months/ As anyone who has been keeping track of the oConomy will already know, oDesk is growing rapidly.  Yesterday we announced some exciting milestones including the fact that the value of work done through oDesk has nearly tripled in each of the past two years.  In addition: Over 110,000 professionals from 100 countries now offer their […]

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As anyone who has been keeping track of the oConomy will already know, oDesk is growing rapidly.  Yesterday we announced some exciting milestones including the fact that the value of work done through oDesk has nearly tripled in each of the past two years.  In addition:

  • Over 110,000 professionals from 100 countries now offer their services on oDesk with the addition of 86,000 new providers in just 12 months.  Over 50,000 jobs have been filled at an average hourly job size of 390 hours. 
  • Over 190,000 qualification tests have been taken by more than 55,000 oDesk providers
  • Over 3,000,000 work hours have been logged on oDesk, with 55,000 logged within the last week alone

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What’s driving the growth?  We think word-of-mouth has a lot to do with it, so a huge "oThank you" to everyone who has helped to spread the word.

See the full announcement here.

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oDesk Perspective: Project Managers https://www.upwork.com/blog/2008/05/odesk-perspective-project-managers/ https://www.upwork.com/blog/2008/05/odesk-perspective-project-managers/#comments Wed, 30 Nov -0001 00:00:00 +0000 http://www.odesk.com/blog/?p=8477 Most buyers post their first job to fill a skill or budget gap on a particular project. You find a skilled worker or two and get the project taken care of. But success breeds success – as your needs grow, you hire more providers. Suddenly you’re managing a growing remote team, which may be more […]

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Most buyers post their first job to fill a skill or budget gap on a particular project. You find a skilled worker or two and get the project taken care of. But success breeds success – as your needs grow, you hire more providers. Suddenly you’re managing a growing remote team, which may be more demanding than you’d anticipated.

If you’re feeling overwhelmed trying to keep your remote team in motion, use oDesk to hire a project manager (PM). A good PM minimizes the direct management required on your part, so you can leverage your time and expertise more wisely.

To hire a PM using oDesk you’ve got two options: Search for new candidates, or promote someone who looks promising from your existing team. Either way, you’re looking for exceptional communication skills, business savvy, leadership experience, and technical expertise.

oDesk’s network includes both independent contractors and provider companies with dozens of affiliated contractors working under the same roof. If you hire your PM from a provider company, he will tend to hire from within his company. The downside is that, arguably, there may be better-qualified people for a specific task elsewhere on our network. The upside is that while you are remote, your PM could be on location with his team members, allowing closer management. Plus, a large provider company can quickly move the right people in and out of your team as the project requires.

Once you select your PM, take the time to provide her with in-depth training on your projects. Give your PM ìhiring managerî or ìrecruiterî privileges (in the Team Admin section of My oDesk) and ask her to build your team. Pay attention to whom she interviews and hires and why – discuss how she handles initial recruiting decisions, and offer guidance as needed. Set clear goals, deadlines, and metrics for success. Stay in close communication, and don’t hesitate to reward top-quality results.

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Explosive growth in the Philippines https://www.upwork.com/blog/2008/05/explosive-growth-in-the-philippines/ https://www.upwork.com/blog/2008/05/explosive-growth-in-the-philippines/#comments Wed, 30 Nov -0001 00:00:00 +0000 http://www.odesk.com/blog/2008/05/explosive-growth-in-the-philippines/ A recent internal analysis at oDesk yielded some pretty interesting trends within our own network. We were looking at the total hours worked by all providers and were segmenting the hours by various different criteria. One of the most startling trends we found was the growth in hours worked by providers from the Philippines. The […]

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A recent internal analysis at oDesk yielded some pretty interesting trends within our own network.

We were looking at the total hours worked by all providers and were segmenting the hours by various different criteria. One of the most startling trends we found was the growth in hours worked by providers from the Philippines.

The number of hours worked in Philippines has grown 4x in just 4 months.

Hours Growth in Philippines

The amazing thing to us is the fully viral expansion of work that’s going on in this country. We have not changed anything about our acquisition strategy in the Philippines so this is true word-of-mouth growth. Kudos to the providers that are driving this rapid expansion.

Here’s a few top providers:

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Weekend Warriors are Worth Less https://www.upwork.com/blog/2008/04/weekend-warriors-are-worth-less/ https://www.upwork.com/blog/2008/04/weekend-warriors-are-worth-less/#comments Wed, 30 Nov -0001 00:00:00 +0000 http://www.odesk.com/blog/2008/04/weekend-warriors-are-worth-less/ As part of our ongoing marketing efforts at oDesk, we have a pretty substantial Google Adwords campaign set up. I was reviewing some of the data today and we noticed that for all campaigns, the conversion ratios (% of visitors that sign up for an account) were highest on Saturdays. A little unexpected, but an […]

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As part of our ongoing marketing efforts at oDesk, we have a pretty substantial Google Adwords campaign set up. I was reviewing some of the data today and we noticed that for all campaigns, the conversion ratios (% of visitors that sign up for an account) were highest on Saturdays. A little unexpected, but an interesting finding. Google allows you to tailor your campaigns by automatically adjusting your bid amounts by day of week. Seems like it would be appropriate to increase our bid amounts on Saturdays so we capitalize on this increased conversion ratio. Or maybe not?

I was wondering why conversion ratio was higher on the weekend so I decided to take a look at oDesk data for job postings over the last few months. I took a look at over 10,000 jobs posted and analyzed results based on a few simple criteria.

First, I wanted to understand the distribution of types of jobs posted by day. I put together all the results in Excel and did a pivot table on the day of week. Note that for all of the following charts, 1 = Monday, 7 = Sunday. This first chart shows the total ratio of fixed price jobs posted on the oDesk network by the day of week. Sundays apparently have the highest percentage of fixed price jobs.

Job Type Ratios by Day of Week

Ok, so clearly there is a small bias toward fixed price jobs on the weekends. What about job size? The following chart shows the average estimated hours for hourly jobs (estimated hours = estimated workload in hours per week * estimated duration in weeks). Note that durations over 100 weeks are rounded down to 100 weeks. Clearly, hourly jobs tend to be smallest on Sundays.

Hourly Job Sizes by Day of Week

Ok, we’re starting to see a trend here. Let’s take a look at Fixed Price jobs. I looked at a chart of Fixed Price job size by day of week posted. You can see in this next chart that the budgets tend to be smaller than the average (the average being 100%) on Friday thru Sunday.

Fixed Price Job Size by Day of Week

So, jobs that are posted on the weekend tend to be smaller and more urgent than the rest of the jobs posted. Now, remember that the conversion ratio was highest on Saturdays. The way I read this data is that if you’re looking for urgent work, you’re more willing to try anything to get the job done so you’ll convert to a user at a higher rate than normal. Now the last step is to look at the relative value of a customer that signs up for our network by day of week. If the “weekend warrior” types do indeed have small, urgent jobs then they should have a lower lifetime value than the average.

Relative LTV of Customers by Day of Registration

While there is not a huge difference, I think the findings are pretty interesting. Note for providers -> if you’re looking for the best jobs available – make sure you’re looking Mon – Fri.

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Feedback systems: principles and issues https://www.upwork.com/blog/2008/03/feedback-systems-principles-and-issues/ https://www.upwork.com/blog/2008/03/feedback-systems-principles-and-issues/#comments Wed, 30 Nov -0001 00:00:00 +0000 http://www.odesk.com/blog/2008/03/feedback-systems-principles-and-issues/ Let’s talk about feedback systems. In the early days of oDesk (read: 2005), we didn’t have a feedback system in place and I remember being on sales calls where almost every potential customer said, “You know, you guys should build a feedback system. Like eBay.” And it’s not surprising; feedback systems are such a fundamental […]

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Let’s talk about feedback systems. In the early days of oDesk (read: 2005), we didn’t have a feedback system in place and I remember being on sales calls where almost every potential customer said, “You know, you guys should build a feedback system. Like eBay.” And it’s not surprising; feedback systems are such a fundamental part of making an online marketplace work that it sticks out like a sore thumb if you don’t have one.

Feedback systems in online marketplaces are designed to improve the user experience as a whole by allowing users to establish their own reputation and review the reputation of others. Users submit feedback on other users and relay their positive or negative experience so others can review feedback before entering into a transaction or relationship. In theory, it all works great. But it depends on a few key principles:

1) Identity Verification – what if any user could create multiple profiles? Well, then there’s not enough motivation to maintain a positive reputation. If I receive a negative feedback score, no worries, I’ll just create a new profile. Problem solved.

2) Transparency – what if people could leave feedback and comments, but others couldn’t see that feedback? Well, that wouldn’t do much good. If a user has received some negative feedback, others need to know about it.

3) Accuracy – the feedback that users leave on the system must be accurate. This seems simple, but in reality is quite complex. There are a lot of factors that go into a user’s decision about whether or not to leave positive or negative feedback.

4) Consistency – users should all “grade” the same. If a user is just a particularly tough critic, it might throw things off.

For the vast majority of cases, feedback systems work great and we believe oDesk’s system works well too. However, I do want to talk about some potential issues with #3 – accuracy of feedback and the mechanisms that may negatively affect accuracy. Let’s take a look at eBay first – they’re the founder of the feast when it comes to feedback systems, and they’ve announced some very major changes to their feedback system. From eBay’s site:

What changes are being made to the eBay Feedback system?
Sellers will no longer be able to leave negative or neutral Feedback for buyers. This change will occur in May, 2008.

Why is eBay making these changes?
No negative or neutral Feedback for buyers
The current system prevents buyers from leaving honest Feedback as they fear retaliation from the sellers if they leave a negative. This makes it hard for buyers to distinguish between sellers while making bidding or buying decisions. In addition, when buyers receive negative Feedback, they reduce their activity in the marketplace, which in-turn harms all sellers.

So, why have eBay buyers not been leaving accurate feedback. I believe it stems from personal motivation. Let’s say I’m an eBay buyer and I had a bad experience. I could leave negative feedback, but that might end up hurting my reputation if I get retaliatory negative feedback. So, why leave negative feedback, it only benefits the next user, not me.

Now let’s look at oDesk. I don’t think it’s as simple as the eBay feedback system since eBay is all about point transactions. The transaction is arranged, paid, and completed all within a couple days. At oDesk, it’s all about relationships, which are often ongoing and may result in repeat transactions. So, let’s look at some of the possible issues that may arise near the end of a relationship? Let’s say that buyer x has been working with provider y for 3 months on a website. It’s nearing completion, and now there are a few things that might happen (note: oDesk’s feedback system is bi-directional with a 1-5 scale):

  • If everything went great, both parties will know that perfect 5 feedback scores will result.
  • If the provider is expecting a 4-4.9 feedback, provider might email buyer explicitly asking for a 5.
  • If the provider is expecting a lower score, the provider may, in the worst cases, blackmail the buyer. eg, “I’ll take down your site, if you don’t give me a good feedback score.” If you’re buyer x, you might as well give a good feedback score since you don’t want to risk your site coming down.

So, the provider looks to be malicious in the example above. What about buyers? Are there ever any issues that crop up with buyers of services? Here’s a couple examples that I’ve heard:

  • So, it’s been 3 months and the buyer has exceeded their budget but has changing requirements and still needs more work. The buyer may threaten bad feedback scores unless the provider finishes the remaining work for free.
  • The buyer is actually quite happy with the work of the provider and needs to retain full-time work. The buyer, being of low moral character, does not want to give the provider a good feedback score. Why? Because the buyer fears losing the provider to other interested buyers. Or because the buyer does not want the provider to increase the hourly rate based on a strong reputation.

While these issues are the minority of cases with online feedback systems, they have a negative effect on the whole system. I believe the only way to ultimately resolve the issues is to foster open, honest discussion about the feedback system. This post is just a problem statement, solutions are ‘to be determined’. It seems that eBay hasn’t figured it out yet, and I can certainly say that oDesk hasn’t figured everything out. But I can say that we’re dedicated to focus on user quality, and there’s no doubt that the feedback system and its integrity is critical to the success of the marketplace.


ps – if you know the solution, please comment. :)

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oDesk Perspective (February 2008) https://www.upwork.com/blog/2008/02/odesk-perspective-february-2008/ https://www.upwork.com/blog/2008/02/odesk-perspective-february-2008/#comments Wed, 30 Nov -0001 00:00:00 +0000 http://www.odesk.com/blog/?p=10936 This month, we launched the oConomy, a rich database that aims to maps out the oDesk global community. Check out the oConomy counter, tallying total service spending on projects via oDesk — more than $23 million and climbing! You can see how many providers are currently in our network, and even how many are working […]

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This month, we launched the oConomy, a rich database that aims to maps out the oDesk global community. Check out the oConomy counter, tallying total service spending on projects via oDesk — more than $23 million and climbing! You can see how many providers are currently in our network, and even how many are working on projects right now. See how many jobs went up in the last 24 hours, and how big our provider network has become.

  • Understand global rate trends and statistics. View averages and distributions or rates by country. Buyers can see whether the providers they’re interviewing are in line with the global market, and providers can set their rates based on expertise in comparison with their peers.
  • Feedback stats chart the steady climb of buyer satisfaction since oDesk launched.
  • Chart the rising expertise of our provider network: Test statistics show you how many times providers have taken our skills tests — and how many times they’ve passed.
  • Where is everyone? Our global map of providers lets you click any of 90 countries to see how many providers are there, and check out their average rates and feedback scores. See which countries offer the best rates and earn the highest feedback. Russia, one of our largest provider bases, has 1,403 providers averaging $15 an hour and feedback scores of 4.1, while China hosts 229 providers, averaging $16 an hour and 4.5 in feedback.
  • Which top provider companies are the best choices for larger staffing needs? Which top-ranked providers give buyers the most satisfaction? What do the latest job post stats tell you about the market you’re hiring or working in?

We’re still unleashing the power of the oConomy, so explore the new features and drop us a line with your thoughts – and suggestions for the data you’d like to see!

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oDesk launches the oConomy https://www.upwork.com/blog/2008/02/odesk-launches-the-oconomy/ https://www.upwork.com/blog/2008/02/odesk-launches-the-oconomy/#comments Wed, 30 Nov -0001 00:00:00 +0000 http://www.odesk.com/blog/2008/02/odesk-launches-the-oconomy/ While the US economy might be going into recession, I’m bullish on the oConomy. We’re excited to announce the launch of the “oConomy”, a feature that publicly shares data from the oDesk network on hourly wages, feedback, jobs, and certification tests. We scoured through our internal database in order to offer a valuable resource for […]

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While the US economy might be going into recession, I’m bullish on the oConomy.

We’re excited to announce the launch of the “oConomy”, a feature that publicly shares data from the oDesk network on hourly wages, feedback, jobs, and certification tests. We scoured through our internal database in order to offer a valuable resource for both buyers and providers to understand global trends and lead to more successful remote work relationships.

The oConomy summarizes trends based on record $22.5 million (and counting!) of work completed on oDesk. The oConomy data covers more than 1,600,000 hours of work completed by over 47,000 providers from over 90 countries.

One of the first things we wanted to do when analyzing all of the data was to provide a helpful world map with details on service providers by country. For buyers – it can be intimidating to select candidates for their job and we hope the Google Maps mashup helps shed some light on the hiring situation. For providers – we hope this map can help set expectations and serve as a helpful comparison point for their individual rates and skills against their peers.

Among some of the other insights offered in the oConomy:

• Indonesian Providers Earn Highest Average Feedback Scores (for countries with over 100 feedbacks)
• The Average oDesk Pay Rate Is $14/Hour
• Experience Is A Strong Predictor Of Job Performance

Here are just some of the many things you can see in the new oConomy:

Top ranked provider companies on oDesk. The current top 10 are:

ISS Art
Impinge Solutions
SoftProdigy
SOFTREACTOR LLC
InterLink
Aarthika
UshaTech
Waverley Software
DevelopmentMill
Galindo Consulting Group

And lots of charts on every subject…

Hourly Rates by Week – Global hourly rate trends by week.

Providers Rate Distribution – Global distribution of provider rates.

Feedback by Years of Experience – Feedback trends by Years of Experience.

Jobs Posted by Type – Number of Jobs posted by Type.

Tests Taken, by Month – Certification Test Statistics.

Top Ranked Providers – Rankings of Individual Providers.

Countries ranked by Feedback – Country List including Feedback Scores.

See all of the oConomy.

And even more data on oDesk’s growth trends. A few previews:

oDesk Hours by Quarter Company Signups by Quarter Provider Signups by Quarter

We’re hopeful that sharing this data will help everyone out there learn more about the global economy by garnering insights from the slightly smaller oConomy. We look forward to continued growth fueled by our dedicated users and encourage all to comment on the data and maps that you see here to foster meaningful discussion about these global trends.

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Power of Community Feedback https://www.upwork.com/blog/2008/01/power-of-community-feedback/ https://www.upwork.com/blog/2008/01/power-of-community-feedback/#comments Wed, 30 Nov -0001 00:00:00 +0000 http://www.odesk.com/blog/2008/01/power-of-community-feedback/ So, as you may know, oDesk offers 100 free online certification tests available to users to prove their skills. Rewind 1 year ago: -Many users complained about the quality of the test content. -We didn’t have the bandwidth to review and improve all of the content ourselves. So, after a number of users had brought […]

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So, as you may know, oDesk offers 100 free online certification tests available to users to prove their skills.

Rewind 1 year ago:

-Many users complained about the quality of the test content.
-We didn’t have the bandwidth to review and improve all of the content ourselves.

So, after a number of users had brought the quality to our attention, we launched two new feedback mechanisms.

First, any user could Report an Issue with a specific question.
Second, any user could provide a Content Feedback Score at the completion of the test.

Now, let’s look at today.

Over the course of 1 year, over 2,500 issues have been reported to improve the test content. Together with our testing vendor, ExpertRating, we have used these issues reported by our users to dramatically improve the test content. These improvements are reflected in the content feedback scores from our users; they have gone up 33% from around a 3.0 (out of 5.0) to over 4.0.

Online Certification - Content Quality Feedback

This confirms our beliefs that communities are critically important to shaping the product and offering. While it was initially painful to hear the complaints of our users, it forced us to build a solution that allowed the community to get involved. And it has paid off.

The job going forward for oDesk, and for all Web 2.0 companies, is to continue to build in more ways for the community to contribute.

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United States making a comeback https://www.upwork.com/blog/2008/01/united-states-making-a-comeback/ https://www.upwork.com/blog/2008/01/united-states-making-a-comeback/#comments Wed, 30 Nov -0001 00:00:00 +0000 http://www.odesk.com/blog/2008/01/united-states-making-a-comeback/ Much has been published recently about the decline of the US dollar and the reverse flow of jobs back to the US from popular offshore outsourcing hotspots including India and China. It made me curious to see the trends at oDesk. We have providers all over the world, and should be able to see this […]

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Much has been published recently about the decline of the US dollar and the reverse flow of jobs back to the US from popular offshore outsourcing hotspots including India and China.

It made me curious to see the trends at oDesk. We have providers all over the world, and should be able to see this trend if it’s really happening.

So here it is:

Hiring by Country

Looks to me that while the entire market for remote contract labor is growing, the United States is possibly growing most rapidly over the last couple quarters.

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Age of the Contractor https://www.upwork.com/blog/2008/01/age-of-the-contractor/ https://www.upwork.com/blog/2008/01/age-of-the-contractor/#comments Wed, 30 Nov -0001 00:00:00 +0000 http://www.odesk.com/blog/2008/01/age-of-the-contractor/ Check this out: Age of the Contractor article was posted in the New York Times. Andrew Benkard interviewed oDesk’s CEO, Gary Swart, and here’s part of what he had to say: “Here’s the problem: you have hired a website designer in Mumbai, India to redesign your site and you are paying her an hourly wage. […]

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Check this out: Age of the Contractor article was posted in the New York Times.

new york times

Andrew Benkard interviewed oDesk’s CEO, Gary Swart, and here’s part of what he had to say:

“Here’s the problem: you have hired a website designer in Mumbai, India to redesign your site and you are paying her an hourly wage. How do you know she isn’t sipping chai when she should be coding – and perhaps more to this point, how do you know she’s on the right track in terms of what you want? Enter oDesk…”

Read the full article on oDesk in the New York Times.

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