Freelancers Wanted: Outsourcing Opportunities for Job Seekers
May 16, 2011 Jenny Thomas
We have been reporting on the promising trend in IT jobs since the beginning of the year, but if you’re among the 9 percent of Americans still in the unemployed category, or unemployed anywhere else on the globe for that matter, there may be some opportunities that are right for you in the freelance marketplace.
Freelancer.com is a Website based in Australia that is designed to connect businesses with “independent service providers” and freelancers. The site began in 2004, and claims that since its launch there have been more than 1 million job postings and more than 2 million users, which includes employers and freelancers from “over 234 countries and regions.” Freelancer.com job posts include opportunities in areas such as software, writing, data entry and design, engineering, sales and marketing, accounting, and legal services.
Freelancer.com recently released the “Freelancer Fast 50,” which charts the “top 50 rising job categories” in the online labor market. According to a press release, the data used to create the Fast 50 was extracted from the 107,449 jobs posted on Freelancer.com in the first quarter of 2011.
Strangely, the list, which you can see here, does not just inventory jobs that saw increases, as described in the press release and implied by the name “Fast 50.” Only the first 23 listings are in categories that had a rise in the number of job postings. The remaining 26 listings show categories that have decreased in the first quarter of the year. (Not to mention I’ve just done the math and in my universe, 23 plus 26 equals 49, not 50. But Fast 50 does have a better ring to it. Maybe they just rounded up?)
So let’s begin with where Freelancer.com is reporting the biggest increases related to IT opportunities. At the top of the list is Apple‘s Cocoa, the collection of frameworks, APIs, and accompanying runtimes that make up the development layer of Mac OS X, which saw a reported job posting increase of 41 percent.
It should come as no surprise that postings related to Apple products also saw a rise, with iPhone jobs gaining 12 percent and iPad jobs up 18 percent. Objective-C, the primary language used to write Mac software, showed a 13 percent increase. (Side note to those who didn’t go the iPhone route: Android freelance job postings are up 15 percent.)
One of the noted trends was in hardware design. According to Freelancer.com, in the first quarter of 2011, every category related to hardware product design saw “significant” increases in postings. Some of the categories are a bit vague, but the breakdown includes: product design jobs, up 23 percent; microcontroller jobs, up 21 percent; and mechanical engineering, up 18 percent. Another fast mover was Dassault Systèmes Solidworks, a 3D CAD program that runs on the Windows and Unix platforms, up 25 percent.
Those with expertise in PHP might be happy to know that Zend Technology saw a 13 percent increase in job postings. Freelance jobs for HTML coders was also up 13 percent.
“We are coming off our best quarter ever as we passed 1 million projects. It’s not just the total number of jobs that are up, it’s the quality and diversity of the work that has improved as well,” said Matt Barrie, chief executive of Freelancer.com, in a statement. “We see changes in the world of online work every quarter which provide interesting insights into the fortunes of companies such as Apple, Microsoft, and Adobe, and reflect trends of what’s happening globally in the world today.”
Now for the other side of the list, what I am calling the “Slow 26.” Job posting losses were observed in .NET, down 13 percent; Java, down 14 percent; ASP, down 18 percent; Linux, down 21 percent; and Visual Basic, down 21 percent. In aggregate, freelance jobs for .NET, ASP, Visual Basic and other Microsoft technologies saw a 16 percent decrease in postings. Other Microsoft categories in the rankings include: Access databases, down 15 percent; Expression, down 28 percent; Windows Mobile, down 9 percent; Windows CE, down 20 percent; Windows desktop, down 23 percent; and Windows Server, down 27 percent.
Freelance gigs relating to the Firefox Web browser climbed 105 percent due to the launch of Firefox 4.0, but missed out on the list. (Maybe this was supposed to be number 50?)
You can view the complete Fast 50 list here. Good luck job seekers, and may the good jobs find you.