We've been talking about the web a lot lately, like when we reported on WordPress, the number one blogging platform, or web programming languages like Ruby and Python. The web looms large in the lives of freelancers, not just as a platform for finding work but also as a medium for that work. As the web's importance in the global economy grows, so do opportunities for people with the right skills, especially web developers.
At oDesk, we define “web development” to include web design and programming, web applications, ecommerce, streaming media, user interface design, marketing (SEO/SEM), project management, and QA. Web development is the largest category of work done on oDesk.
Web development has breached 35,000 hours of work per week, which is enough work for 875 full-time web developers. And the trend looks good. The next busiest segment of oDesk, virtual assistants, doesn't quite reach half that numbers of hours, falling just short of 17,000.
The trend in pay is also appealing. Hourly rates for web development hovered around the oDesk average until December of 2007. After that, they broke free, climbing further away from the average nearly every month.
The trend seems solid. Business today happens on the web. Gone are the days when a corporate website was a fun novelty, a way to reach the hip or trendy. Today's college graduates cannot remember a time in their lives before the internet. With the web growing more and more ubiquitous, from being a regular feature in our favorite TV shows to having internet access on our cellphones, businesses today are finding they need to be online and in a big way. Every aspect of business is now online, from sales (ecommerce) and marketing (social media and SEO), to intracompany communications (email and VOIP), to management and even production. And as companies become more deeply invested in the web, the more they will seek to make the most of every penny. Web skills offer the savvy freelancer numerous opportunities today, and show every indication of only offering more in the future.