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Where Are the Tech Jobs?

IT Jobs
What tech skills are in demand? One measure comes from Elance, a global online workplace of contract jobs. The company's monthly Top 100 Online Work Index for August, set for official release Tuesday, shows a big jump in several tech-related positions.

The Index ranks skills in demand by Elance clients. Graphic Design comes in at number one followed by PHP, MySQL, Adobe Flash and HTML. Among the biggest gainers are Google Website Optimizer, ranked 31 and up 28 percent. Also up, RSS (ranked 76), Adobe Flex (ranked 59), Linux (ranked 58) skills up 19, 30 and 18 percent respectively.

On the downside, both XML and search engine marketing dropped 17 percent. Demand for Twitter skills (ranked 71) dropped 25 percent. Facebook, ranked 63, saw only a one percent drop.

Elance CEO Fabio Rosati said he isn't surprised by the jump in demand for Google Website Optimizer skills.

"As companies reigned in their online advertising, they are now coming back and looking to do it more efficiently so those skills are coming back," Rosati told InternetNews.com. "The market is starting to reopen and money is coming back for advertising."

Rosati says IT and marketing managers are the two biggest users of Elance. With over 60,000 companies in its network and over 157,000 jobs filled in the past year, the company thought it could surface some interesting data on trends. In February, Elance released its first Top 100 Online Work Index and has been compiling monthly figures since then.

"We think it's a market leading indicator of where the demand is in emerging technology," said Brad Porteus, chief marketing officer at Elance.

'Damn it, I need Twitter integration'

On the drop in Twitter skills demand Porteus notes it also dropped 25 spots to land at 71 after "coming out of nowhere" a few months back into the top 50.

"Sometimes you have a technology du jour," he continued. "Clearly people around the world and this country we're saying, 'Damn it, I need Twitter integration' and then that frenzy backed off. Who knows where it will go from here, but that's what's cool about the index."

The market for freelance and contract work isn't new, but Porteus says the accessibility of broadband and other tech advances, including electronic payment, profiles and testing, make it more practical to implement an online infrastructure suited to the needs of both the employer and job seeker.

Another innovation, Elance pre-qualifies freelancers with up to 300 tests on specific skills, such as the iPhone software development kit. Palm Pre and Twitter tests were recently added. Individuals have to pass the tests to be able to list them as a certified qualification.

"We've gotten much smarter at making this a good user experience," said Porteus. "Now you have the ability to have online communications on the Web anywhere in the world as easily as picking up the phone."

Elance also facilitates so-called "follow-the-sun" projects where programmers and others in different time zones can carry on with a project after one group has finished its workday.

As for future trends, Rosati says the world of online work is "still in diapers. We think there's a lot more we can do to enable collaboration and replicate the experience of working face to face online."