Human Resources

Ellen Pack (US) - IT Skill Shortage? Look Online

Finally the economy is showing signs of recovery and no sooner are companies talking about the shortage of IT talent. And it's no wonder with the rapid pace of technology innovation, companies are faced with needing to quickly launch and support technologies that barely even existed just a couple of years ago. Keeping up with the IT Skills race has become a critical part of staying competitive. Studying the various trends on online employment platform, Elance, can shed light on which skills are in top demand and where the talent with those skills is located.

As revealed in Elance's newly released Online Employment Report, online jobs in the IT sector generated earnings at a record-setting pace last quarter and have consistently been trending upwards for the past four quarters. Employers on Elance posted a record 105,000-plus jobs for IT professionals in Q4 2010 and these IT pros earned nearly 60% of the overall $27 million income in Q4. These five IT skills were in the highest demand:

1. PHP
2. WordPress
4. MySQL
5. CSS

PHP continues to be the most sought after IT skill in the online space with nearly 3,000 more jobs posted than the next skill. While a number of popular open-source platforms like Drupal and Joomla! have also proven popular for delivering online content, over the course of 2010, WordPress has moved from top contender to top choice by sliding into the number two position behind PHP. Demand for WordPress experts rose an impressive 15% quarter-over-quarter, marking the first time that any content management system has moved into the top three skills in demand overall, not just in technology sector. And HTML5 showed nearly 50% growth from the previous quarter indicating it is one of the must-have skills in IT.

Demand for experts in mobile technologies continued to grow at an impressive pace with demand for iPad programmers growing 15% quarter-over-quarter and iPhone programmers growing 10%. Google Android developers experienced even higher growth in Q4 thanks to a 20% rise in demand quarter-over-quarter. Demand for iOS and Android programmers is unlikely to slow down anytime soon, with Verizon launching their highly-anticipated version of the iPhone, and as a flurry of new Android smartphone and tablet devices announced at this year's Consumer Electronics Show start to saturate the market.

While PHP programmers are still highly-sought after, mobile development may challenge PHP for the top spot in the near future. The driving force behind this is Google's Android mobile operating system, which has seen immense growth in the past year leapfrogging Research in Motion's Blackberry OS and Apple's iOS operating systems in total adoption during the last quarter of 2010. On the Elance marketplace, most skills in mobile development showed double-digit quarterly growth, handily outpacing the growth rate of PHP.

With all of these evolving technology skills, Elance took a look at where businesses are finding top IT talent. India, the United States and Ukraine were the major hotbeds for technology work, representing the three top earning countries in the world with respect to the IT sector. In fact, they were the top three earning countries overall, across all industries, which should not be surprising considering the IT sector made up for nearly 60% of all online work last quarter. As a result, the freelance and contract workers in those three countries earned more overall last quarter than any other country, with India placing first, followed by the United States and then Ukraine.

For more highlights, detailed figures on job growth and revenue earnings, and a geographical breakdown of online employment, please visit the full Elance Online Employment Report.

Ellen Pack is VP of Marketing at Elance.




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