February 11, 2009 by Amit Bakshi

Today we’re going to look at the growth of Content Management Systems, software packages that allow non-technical users to make changes to existing websites with little or no HTML training.  Joomla and Drupal are the two most popular CMSes on oDesk.  Earlier this month, we listed both of these platforms among our skills with the fastest growing demand of 2008, showing that they are more relevant than ever.  WordPress topped that list, but we’re considering it a blogging platform for the time being.  Now, let’s take a look at trends in Joomla and Drupal.

There are currently 4,695 Joomla developers on oDesk, and 201 open jobs.  Joomla has shown steady growth over the last two years, from 300 jobs posted per month at the start of 2008 to over 500 today.  The average Joomla job size is 125 hours.


There are about half as many Drupal developers (2,212) and jobs (108) on oDesk, but the average job is almost twice the size, at 234 hours.  Drupal, too, has shown steady growth from 125 jobs posted per month last year to 250 today.


So, Drupal jobs have half the frequency and are twice the length, which may point to the platform being used more by larger enterprises, vs. smaller projects for smaller businesses for Joomla.  Although there are fewer Drupal jobs for providers to choose from, it seems to be much less competitive of a skill.  In fact, it made our list of the top 10 skills with the least competition and most opportunity, which we published in December.

In any case, it looks like both Joomla and Drupal have sizable communities and continue to grow.  Providers with PHP skills should certainly promote them on their resumes to improve their marketability.

Now, onto the question you have been waiting for – which CMS is ‘better’?  It doesn’t matter — both have a lot of buyers looking to spend money.  Both have their own strengths & weaknesses when it comes to factors such as ease-of use, compatibility to databases like MySQL and Postgres, and interoperability with various elements like Shopping Carts, Event Calendars, and Themes.  They have been, and continue to be, analyzed time and again by knowledgeable experts (see here, here, and here.)  But don’t let that stop you from telling us which CMS is better.  What’s a blog for, if not passionate techie arguments?

Amit Bakshi

Vice President of Marketing at LawPivot

Amit Bakshi is the Vice President of Marketing at LawPivot. He formerly served as Product Marketing Manager for oDesk.

  • Nataliya Bogdanets

    I guess the final decision should necessarily be based on what your site needs to do in the end and how much effort and time you are willing to put into it.
    Presently I’m sticking with Drupal and have no intention to switch to another cms. I tried Joomla several yeras ago, but felt a bit limited with its possibilities. That’s why I switched to Drupal (here’s the tool http://goo.gl/MwurwC) and have zero regrets about that.

  • http://atozinfos.blogspot.com/ gnsantosh

    However even i cam across many cms ,.joomla is the best always regarding its features and even options,…really an awesome information you have provided

  • http://moviesdisk.com Thambyz

    i prefer wordpress as it is easy and powerful

  • http://usefuldrive.com Avinash

    Joomla is very easy to start with than drupal and it also has lot of add-ons and plugins

  • http://www.ravigadu.com Ravi Kishore Chikkala

    The Comparison is simply superb

  • http://www.contussupport.com/joomla-mac-dock-effect.php Joomla Expert

    Great comparison.Thanks for updating us with the nice information.

  • http://yahootips.com ajay

    joomla cab be handle by non technical person too that is why clients want the website in joomla.

  • http://ohmydarwin.com Jamie

    I can understand the reason why joomla is more popular : easy and good looking? If you’re webdesigner and want to earn money…. got to be quick and good looking. Service is everything….

  • http://aamir.linksfilms.co.in Aamir khan

    i have always given joomla a peeference over other cms , may be i am biased or something .

    i am reading good view on Drupal , i think i ll give it a shot now

  • http://www.techmaish.com/ Tech Maish

    This is going to be a tap competition. Both are popularr CMS

  • http://www.techcats.net/about Rajesh Kanuri @ TechCats

    The comparison of jobs makes more sense and helps in proving the best CMS..

  • Yani

    Of course anyone writing code would see Drupal as the winner. It has a consistent design pattern which once understood is like building with Lego.

  • joomlauser

    Joomla was working fine intially !!! But it has Severe Vulnerabilities even the Super Admin account gets compromised and your site gets into hackers control within seconds!!!!!!! To add more to this Joomla Forum and other “so called” helpful links are extremely unhelpful!!! The Leadership Team of Joomla consists of Immature, Inexperienced Jerks like Brad Baker and all. All they do is write mean, abusive words, and blame you for Joomla Vulnerability!!!! USE IT AT YOUR OWN RISK!!!! They say update has resolved this issue, but who knows what trouble it has in store!!!!

  • MRX

    Drupal is wery powefull, although you have to learn a LOT,and quantity of modules to be searched for and installed to get even basic tasks are enormous.

    On the other side, you ar not stuck in some point, where you need, lets say output a bunch of thumbnails with rounded corners, that have hover images and shows flv videos on mouseover that automatically converts from avi on upload and has 5 player options with customizable buttons.

    It has some essential problems in version 6.X
    1. Clean URLs using views and stacks with arguments
    2. Clean HTML using a lot of modules in one place
    3. User rights management in more advanced solutions, like community websites.

    But the bright side is, it is soon to be 7.X with lots of good upgrades in terms of module compatibility, basic core functions and security.

    My conclusion: If you will get your head around learning curve, you will be a happy man.

  • Shaun
  • http://www.vertizone.net Madhava Mahishi

    “Drupal jobs have half the frequency and are twice the length, which may point to the platform being used more by larger enterprises, vs. smaller projects for smaller businesses for Joomla”

    You are saying it is used by larger enterprises: Is this an assumption or a fact from your database? Just because projects are of longer duration may not mean they are from bigger enterprises. Could be because doing the work could take more longer in Drupal than in Joomla?

    Could you please mine some more from your database and post it here? It will definitely help in choosing a CMS.

  • http://thomasbacon.com Thomas Bacon

    I agree with Jason L, the reason Joomla! is more popular is b/c the back-end is easier. That said, as a technie, I prefer Drupal and the power it offers. It also integrates very well with CiviCRM, and open source CRM I use.

    @Long- I bet you’ve seen tons of Joomla! sites that looked great, you just didn’t recognize them as Joomla! sites b/c they were well designed and coded… Many novices think the default themes are what a CMS “looks” like and don’t understand it’s what under the hood that matters. You could code three identical-looking sites in WordPress, Joomla! and Drupal.

  • rhys

    I am a business owner wanting to create a business oriented community site to attract and dialog with my target clients.
    I have 2 bids -one developer wants Drupal the other Joomla. I read an older article that indicated Joomla sites make sloppy code and take longer to load. Is this old news or is it true? Page load time is now said to be a weighting factor in Google seraches so it matters more than ever.

    From a pure functionality perspective which would be best for the end users? I can deal with some additional complexity. It’s ONLY the user experience I am concerned about.

  • Long

    Can someone post some joomla websites that don’t look like crap?

  • http://www.joomlatag.com Roel

    I have been a data entry for a joomla site and since then i’ve been a huge fan. I downloaded lots of ebooks and sure thing, it is so easy to learn because of the simple interface it provides. However, I’ve learned that Drupal offers a lot more cool templates and easy-to-use interface, I will also learn this one.

  • Jason L.

    Some time ago, I tried to setup a site using Drupal. However, I decided to switch to Joomla (that was in the days of 1.0.x; now, I’m using 1.5.x, so things may be different). I’ve heard many times that it’s easier to develop in Drupal. That would be a good thing because customizing the Joomla install is a really big pain. However, there is one thing that Drupal users fail to understand that Joomla users get, and the “mystery” reason Joomla has a larger user base: the very concept of what a content management system is all about. A CMS is not intended to be a framework for developers, but a tool for the *end users/customer* to manage their own Website without the help of a developer. To that end, Joomla has the more user-friendly administrative interfaces. To add to that, Joomla makes it easier for developers to build custom site templates. Now, if the Joomla developers made it easier to customize and extend the application, then they would break from the competition. On the flip side, if the Drupal developers made their administrative interfaces more user-friendly and the template easier to customize, the same would also apply.

  • http://www.zevector.com Zain Nadeem

    i am using Joomla for 2 years now i have used it to create more than 50 websites as its admin GUI is very easy to be managed by clients ,because all of my joomla based websites are used by clients so it must have easy to understand layout and features thats why i personally prefer Joomla .
    with combination of Jumi which is opensource extension of joomla i have power to create any genere of website with joomla


  • http://kh3.us Richard Leik

    Joomla has terrible speed. Compare it to Drupal and you can easily see the difference.
    I see Joomla as being bloated. Drupal can be customized a lot more and IMHO is easier to manage.
    Strangely, Joomla is a lot more popular. I guess it’s the same thing as phpBB. The script itself is not that great, but there is a huge community.

  • http://www.arctg.com Robert

    I think a very important question is answered when Drupal jobs are twice as long. Joomla 1.5 and the forthcoming 1.6 are very robust CMS that can do the job of running 95%+ websites. The added complexity, duration and by extension cost are not merited. Drupal has a wonderful and growing framework and community but is in the unenviable position of being overkill as well.

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  • http://www.sellingyourscreenplay.com Ashley

    I like Drupal better. I’ve used both and I found Joomla much more difficult to understand. Just the GUI was hard to figure out. Drupal seemed easier from the start.

    However, I now develop most sites I build using WordPress as the framework. It’s getting so robust it’s got nearly everything you could want in a CMS.

  • Igor

    I’ve been working with Joomla 1.0 and Drupal 6.0.
    Personally I think that Joomla – is easy to understand. Drupal is more complex :(
    I’ve been developing a component in Joomla – the process was quick and clear, in Dupal – I even don’t know where to look (
    How long does it takes to be “good” in Drupal?

    But I would like to ask another question: How does people ever choose them? I mean Joomla and Drupal are so big… enormous! The website usually becomes a slow and big monster!
    What do you think?

  • web

    You could have put both the graphs on one chart.

  • http://www.MittalPatel.co.in Mittal Patel

    I have been using Drupal for couple of years and I am a fan of it. Used joomla for 2 sites and I liked the user interface it provides.
    Getting cool designs in drupal is tougher then joomla.

    Anyways, I don’t care how many jobs are there available on oDesk for Drupal or Joomla, I find my clients from direct contacts ;) and currently I am having enough pings :D

    Nice article….

  • rune_kg

    After having developed several major sites with both drupal(6.x) and joomla(1.0 & 1.5), this is what i think:

    Joomla has absolutely no framework stuff, you are basically writing everything from nothing. But nice backend which users like.

    Drupal lets you code SO much faster, provides nice API functions for everything, has inbuilt seo urls and makes even scary core stuff very easy.

    I’m never going to code another site in Joomla.


  • Martijn Dekkers

    Drupal, hands down – Drupal is as much a development framework as it is a CMS. It is relatively trivial to build a powerful, complex publishing solution on Drupal (as opposed to “a website”) and then customise and extend that.

  • http://www.wizonesolutions.com Kevin Kaland

    Hi there; thanks for the post. You have a good point!

    I am partial to Drupal myself because it’s easier to customize and the development process seems sound; core is clearly separated from modules, they have security warnings, an active developer community, all the important integrations/features, etc. And in the newest version, it’s even esaier to get going with tons of drag-and-drop and great usability.

    But I am biased because I haven’t used Joomla in a while. I think the modules are the big difference, one which sometimes matters, other times does not.

  • http://blog.thinkdiff.net Md. Mahmud Ahsan

    wow, great article. Thanks for such a nice posting.