When Marketing Stunts Attack: The worst of paid viral videos

June 24, 2009 by

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 … Read Full Article

Facing a Layoff with Defiance

June 22, 2009 by

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 … Read Full Article

Research: Provider Feedback and Freelance Rates

June 19, 2009 by

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 … Read Full Article

Study: Freelancers Earn More through Tenure, Training

June 12, 2009 by

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. 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. 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: 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. Much of the apparent … Read Full Article

PostgreSQL vs. MySQL: A Comparison of Speed, Integrity and Popularity

June 8, 2009 by

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!" Read Full Article

Programming, Development and Design Skills to Survive the Recession

June 3, 2009 by

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 … Read Full Article

A Tweeters Guide to Twitter Scams

May 20, 2009 by

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, … Read Full Article

Top 10 Banned iPhone Apps

May 19, 2009 by

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. Read Full Article

oDesk Milestone: 100,000 Support Tickets Resolved

May 15, 2009 by

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 … Read Full Article

Anatomy of a Viral Twitter Blog Article: How to Get a Lot of Retweets

May 10, 2009 by

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 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. 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 … Read Full Article

Business and Project Management Through Disasters: Disperse Your Operations

May 7, 2009 by

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 … Read Full Article

Twitter Job Growth Accelerates

May 4, 2009 by

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. 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 … Read Full Article

Skilled Technical Hourly Rates Rise or Remain Flat; Other Categories Decline – Good For Developers, Bad For Writers

April 29, 2009 by

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. 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. 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 … Read Full Article

Celebrate Earth Day by Staying Home

April 22, 2009 by

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 … Read Full Article

America’s Workforce Adapts: What Outsourced Jobs Do We Want Back?

April 16, 2009 by

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 a living wage on some of these jobs — at least in order to be competitive in an international setting.” If 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. These 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, … Read Full Article

Outsourcing to the United States on the Rise

April 14, 2009 by

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. 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. Read Full Article

Good Times for Freelance Writers: Job Demand Accelerates

April 8, 2009 by

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%. 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 … Read Full Article

Employees vs Contractors – comparing the UPS & Fedex models

March 30, 2009 by

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 … Read Full Article

Python gaining on Ruby

March 19, 2009 by

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. 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 … Read Full Article

Demand for .NET Developers Remains Strong

March 16, 2009 by

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. 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 … Read Full Article

WordPress: The Number One Blogging Platform

March 12, 2009 by

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. 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 … Read Full Article

PHP Job Search Success with Certification

March 5, 2009 by

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. 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 … Read Full Article