IT Staffing - Jobs Report Shows Android, iPad Skills in Demand

By David Needle

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That didn't take long. Apple (NASDAQ: AAPL) has yet to ship its much-hyped iPad tablet, but Elance has reported there's already demand for iPad application developers ahead of next month's launch.

The iPad rode of a broader wave of demand for mobile tech skills at the online contract services site. While Web development continues to top Elance's list of most sought-after skills, the company said demand for mobile developers "exploded" in 2009, with a 180 percent increase for the past year.

As to the iPad specifically, Elance said 20 application-development jobs posted at the site immediately followed Apple's unveiling, and, as of this week, there are 70 open iPad-related positions at the site. Last year more than 8,800 iPhone-specific jobs were filled through Elance, the company said.

But the fastest growing demand for mobile skills belongs to Android, which has increased 400 percent in the past six months, including 170 projects in the last month.

The boom for mobile developers comes as the overall U.S. economy continues to struggle with double-digit unemployment rates. At the same time, companies needing work on specific projects can tap services like Elance, oDesk and Guru.com to get online contract and freelance help without hiring full-time staff.

"As we move forward in 2010, more people will make the online workplace their new office and will log in to get to work," Ellen Pack, vice president of marketing at Elance, said in a statement. "Three trends have come together to make this possible. Companies continue to look for greater flexibility and efficiency, more skilled professionals are choosing to work independently, and managing online work has become easier than ever due to sophisticated Web applications, mobile devices and cloud-computing platforms. This year, in particular, we will begin to see an interesting shift from small businesses to larger enterprises accelerating their use of online talent."

The Elance Online Talent report offered a glimpse into a couple of other noteworthy trends. For instance, the top five IT skills in demand at the site are: PHP, HTML, MySQL, CSS 5 and WordPress. Under the "creative" category, article writing tops the list, followed by graphic design, content writing, Photoshop and Illustrator.

Search engine optimization topped the list for marketing skills, followed by Internet marketing, lead generation, and sales, with advertising checking in at No. 5. Social media marketing, in the No. 7 spot, showed a 46 percent increase in earnings for 2009.

David Needle is the West Coast bureau chief at InternetNews.com, the news service of Internet.com, the network for technology professionals.