Top Online Jobs for 2010 and Predictions for the Year Ahead

oDesk is a marketplace for online work teams. Each month, it publishes a report with information the service collects from its own community of employers and job prospectors.

For its year-end report, oDesk looked at prior data from its own database of 890,000 contractors and 220,000 employers. The service has more than a million users and over $12 million in work performed each month.

The company used that data to report about the top markets, categories and jobs for 2010, as well as what to expect in 2011.

For 2010, oDesk reports:

  • Employers spent more than $115 million on online work in 2010. Job opportunities doubled over 2009 to 620,000.

  • Mobile remained a best bet. Employer demand for people with Android expertise shot up 680% with iPhone up 152% since 2009.

  • Social media opportunities increased as demonstrated by the demand for people familiar with Facebook and other social technologies.

  • Some of the hottest contractor spots in the world were in the Philippines, India and the United Sates.

For 2011, oDesk predicts:

  • Online work will continue to double year-over-year, while local employment will not rebound to pre-recession levels.

  • In the next year, more than 500,000 employers will tap cloud-based workforces for the first time, including 25% of the Fortune 500.

  • The number of people looking to online work as the primary or sole source of their income will double over 2011.

  • Hiring of online workers by non-U.S. companies will explode in 2011. Proportionally, U.S. spending in this area will grow more slowly next year, and will represent 65% of the total spent on online work.

How The Jobs Pay

Employers pay the highest hourly rate to people with experience in networking technologies. Software engineers and technicians get the second-highest hourly rates while the amount Web developers receive is a third as high.

What Employers Are Looking For

The job categories in most demand are reflections of the growing business in developing applications and online media in all forms. Blogging, nice to see, is becoming a sought-after expertise.

Looking to 2011

The jobs picture is a news item that gets a lot of attention. Deserving more attention are the opportunities that can come to people if they work online.

The online work economy reflects how the physical location of any person or object has less meaning that it ever has. We say the network is flattening but our sense of geography is changing, too.

It’s another sign of how significant the trends are that we follow in cloud computing and virtualization.

The job data from oDesk shows how the ecosystem for online employment connects to trends we see on the Web and in the mobile markets. It also shows the connections between different job categories. The demand for Web developers is tied to the need for people with social media expertise. The need for networking technology expertise is part of what drives demand for more software.

So if you are looking for a job we have some advice: Rest your weary feet and take a seat. There are jobs to be found online.

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