As the economy nosedived in 2009, Elance said its business picked up as many IT shops looked to contract workers instead of employing full-timers. Elance said employers posted over 300,000 new jobs for the year and its service providers raked in almost $70 million.
For the closing year, Elance gave PHP its "MVP" award as the most consistently in-demand skill. The server-side scripting language, which originated in the mid-'90s, reached version 5.3.1 in late November.
Android also made a splash in 2009. Even though the Google-backed mobile OS ranked 35th in Elance's index of the most in-demand skills, it saw a huge jump from its position as No. 75 last year―and even overshadowed interest in Apple iPhone development talent, which came in at No. 38. Overall, the biggest rise in job skill demand came in the general Mobile category, which soared 103 points to No. 67 on the list of 2009's hottest IT skills.
Elance President and CEO Fabio Rosati said he expects the demand for mobile skills to increase and evolve in 2010. "We're seeing continued demand for iPhone skills and now Android is coming up, and that's the start of a big change," Rosati told InternetNews.com. "Companies have been building for specific platforms, iPhone, Android, Palm and others, but I think we're starting to see the emergence and demand for portability.
"The mobile dev teams in 2008 and 2009 were one-trick ponies and you'll still see a focus on specific platforms, but we're starting to (see) converters and migration tools and people that are skilled in those areas that can help companies develop for more than one mobile platform at the start are going to be in demand."
For example, Rosati pointed to Rhomobile, a cloud-based development platform designed to support multiple mobile platforms. "A very likely trend for 2010 is the move of more traditional, on-premise technologies to the cloud, so you're going to see a lot of job opportunities for online work related to Salesforce.com, SAP and Oracle systems," he added.
Managing a workforce of contractors or independent professionals online is an emerging field, but one Rosati said he expect more mid-size businesses and early adopter enterprises to experiment with in 2010.
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