The Internet has changed the way that we work. Although some of us still drive to a phsyical location in order to make a living, it is now becoming more common to see former 9-to-5 employees working from home. This is especially true in the area of web design.

This is the case for many reasons – mostly because we have found so many creative ways to use the Internet. Not only do we use it to build websites, but we also use it to outsource everything from drop-shipping to off-site call centers. And now we have the desire and confidence to take control of our lives and start a business, while leaving behind the old idea of working a 9-to-5 job.

That being said, we have found a need to establish our presence online. What is a business in the Information Age without a website to market your products and services? Without a website, you cannot be taken seriously as a business owner. So now there’s an overwhelming need for quality web developers.

Here’s how I see the work world as it exists now, in terms of the need for quality web development:

  1. A full-time employee working 9-to-5 finds out that his/her job is at risk of being eliminated, or realizes that he/she has an opportunity to use the Internet to make a living.
  2. At some point the employee leaves the company (voluntarily or involuntarily) and decides to start a business, a passion that they’ve had for years.
  3. This newly-bred business owner needs a website to get up and running, so they do some research and find the least expensive ways to build a website.
  4. They take a stab at learning some basic HTML and find a hosting company to reserve a domain name. They use some of the basic tools provided by the hosting company, and begin building.
  5. The business owner finds out that it’s more difficult to build a quality website than they first thought, and they now need a solution. With the huge shift to outsourcing, the business owner finds websites like Elance or Fiverr to get their website designed for an extremely affordable price.

This is where you, the web developer, have a great opportunity to capitalize.

When it comes to web developer jobs, there are many ways to find work either online or offline. In this article, I’m only going to talk about online work because it’s how most employers and contractors are doing it.

One of the most popular platforms for finding work online is Odesk. According to Techcrunch.com, oDesk contractors are currently earning more than $300 million on an annual basis, and in October 2011, contractors worked 2.1 million hours through the oDesk website.

Here’s how it works: let’s say that a business owner needs a quality website built for their business, and they need a web developer who specializes in the Joomla content management system. The business owner will post a job description that targets web designers (by keyword) who specialize in Joomla website design. At this point, a web developer gets a notification about the job posting and has an opportunity to post their cover letter and job credentials to the business owner. The cover letter is linked to that contractor’s online profile, and the business owner can see a history of the contractor’s website projects, and any project feedback from past employers that may affect their hiring decision.

Pretty simple, right?

Odesk is also a win-win solution for both the employer and contractor. Odesk has no front-end fees to use the service, which motivates higher activity from both the contractor and the employer. ODesk gets paid 10% only when a transaction is made between the contractor and employer.

The most unique aspect of ODesk is their ability to track work progress. This gives the business owner ability to view the contractors exact activity, which makes them confident that work is being completed to the their satisfaction. Odesk tracks time through Odesk Team, which is a small software package that gets installed on the contractor and employer computers. The contractor simply clicks a button to begin logging time and is required to provide a description of the exact task they are working on, along with a screenshot of their Windows desktop. If the employer has any question of the contractor’s activity, the employer simply logs into the Odesk website and views the contractor’s activity. The employer can always file a dispute if he/she feels that they shouldn’t be charged for certain activity.

If you’re a web developer or any type of independent contractor, or a business owner looking to find affordable website design, I would highly recommend checking out Odesk to get familiar with it. Stay tuned for our future articles regarding the specific areas of the Odesk website. We will be creating videos to show some best practices for building an online profile on the Odesk website. You won’t want to miss this because an online profile is the most important aspect of getting hired for jobs.

See you again soon!

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