The 50 fastest growing online jobs for Q1 2013

Online Jobs

SYDNEY: April 22, 2013: The eCommerce revolution shows no signs of slowing; Core web 2.0 technologies HTML5, CSS, PHP, and jQuery continue to grow; Android spreads throughout the developing world, leaving Apple floundering in its wake; 3D design jobs take off as 3D printers like MakerBot start to go mainstream; Twitter grows while Facebook slumps, but both fall flat as marketers fall back to Email Marketing; BPO jobs boom as virtual assistants become mainstream for SMEs and entrepreneurs; SEO rebounds from Q4 2012 as the industry adapts to Google Panda and Penguin algorithms.

With over 280,000 jobs to analyze each quarter, the Fast 50 charts the top 50 fastest growing or crashing job types in the online labor market on a quarter-by-quarter basis, providing a continuous measure of job activity and trends in the online economy.

“There is no other report like the Freelancer Fast 50 for the rise and fall of jobs in the online economy, with almost 300,000 jobs analyzed per quarter”, CEO Matt Barrie stated. “The demand in online jobs is the leading forward indicator of the health of new technologies, products, companies and industries”.

“When you couple core web 2.0 technologies like HTML5, CSS, PHP, and jQuery with highly scalable online marketing techniques like email marketing, SEM and social media marketing, it is no surprise that B2C (business to consumer) online transactions eclipsed a trillion US dollars in 2012. Retail outlets are proving incapable of adjusting to a consumer base no longer geographically captive. Ecommerce is dominating the consumer retail landscape. It’s no surprise that big name retailers that haven’t kept up with the online shopping revolution are increasingly going bankrupt. These high street dinosaurs are unwilling to compete, and so will soon be consigned to retail history.”.

The eCommerce revolution shows no signs of slowing. The eCommerce sector saw a strong 19% increase in online jobs this quarter (from 3,859 jobs) as the storefront snowballs toward extinction. Online commerce is disrupting the retail sector so drastically that many traditional establishments are now charging money to allow consumers to see and hold an item in person – accepting that their next action will be to buy the item cheaper online. A consequence of this trend is that eCommerce technologies have also seen substantial lift, with Magento up 14% (from 2,240 jobs) and shopping carts up 18% (from 2,942 jobs).

Core web 2.0 technologies HTML5, CSS, PHP, and jQuery continue to grow. With the eCommerce revolution taking off, everyone wants a piece of the pie, and demand for web 2.0 websites continues its strong growth. Jobs based around core web 2.0 technologies are subsequently on the rise: HTML5 (up 20% from 3823 jobs), CSS (up 15% from 9,009 jobs), PHP (up 9% from 39,867 jobs), jQuery (up 7% from 3,522 jobs), MySQL (up 3% from 14,017 jobs) and WordPress (up 20% from 8,820 jobs) all grew this quarter.

David Harrison, VP of engineering at, is not surprised, ”The underpinning tech that powers eCommerce is now mature, scalable, and cheap – you can set up a turn-key online store for as little as a couple of hundred dollars and have all the features of a massive retailer like Amazon. This is enabling the massive growth of online retail as small businesses move online to sell to consumers around the globe. The technology tidal wave is breaking on the traditional retail sector.”

Android spreads throughout the developing world, leaving Apple floundering in its wake. Android jobs shot up more than 20% (from 4,278 jobs) as jobs for iPad and iPhone crept up at far less impressive rates of 11% (from 2,035 jobs) and 5% (from 5,294 jobs), respectively. Long decried as the brand of the snobbish, Apple has failed to make significant inroads in the fastest growing markets for mobile technologies – developing nations. With Apple’s strategy concentrating on high margins rather than high volume, industry commentator Joe Wilcox summarizes Tim Cook’s smartphone dilemma – emerging markets account for 85% of the world’s population, and yet at the same time, they are “sucking the margins out of iPhone”. Addressing this strategic challenge will be the defining moment of CEO Tim Cook’s career, and with two-thirds of Apple’s revenue coming from smartphones and tablets, the outcome may well decide the future of the largest tech company in the world. Samsung is now a major threat, and has deep supply chain experience as a producer of key components. Apple’s latest product releases have been lackluster; developers are voting with their feet, and it increasingly looks like Apple is no longer hungry to win without Jobs.

3D design jobs take off as 3D printers like MakerBot start to go mainstream. One of the most exciting new technologies to emerge in the past few years is desktop 3D printing. Previously an expensive industrial tool for rapid prototyping, advances in materials science and computing power, along with a healthy dose of investment, has seen the price of a desktop 3D printer reduce from $20,000 to $1,000 or less. This substantial cost reduction has seen 3D printing devices (like the MakerBot Replicator 2X) reach the home and spawned a whole new DIY/enthusiast/early adopter community.

Powered by open-source software, this surge in interest in 3D printing has resulted in a surge of growth for the 3D Modeling (up 21% from 1,463 jobs), 3D Rendering (up 13% from 1,388 jobs) and 3D Animation (up 6% from 1,652 jobs) industries.

Twitter grows while Facebook slumps, but both fall flat as marketers fall back to Email Marketing. Facebook seems to be intent on putting ads everywhere on their platform, except where people are willing to pay for them. Forbes recently reported that Twitter had stomped Facebook in terms of selling ads on mobile devices, and this year’s Super Bowl likewise saw Twitter emerging triumphant, beating Facebook in social media mentions, according to an informal analysis by Marketing Land. This trend is reflected in the Fast 50 – Twitter jobs grew 18% (from 2,232 jobs), while Facebook jobs fell 4% (from 6,569 jobs).

However, ROI delivered by social media marketing pales in comparison to the classic powerhouse of email marketing. It’s easy to see why – despite its flaws, email is still the most popular online activity, and at a next-to-nothing price point, it remains the powerhouse of online marketing as social media continues to prove itself a high-risk, high-reward strategy, and Facebook and Twitter’s continued experimentation still failing to distil a concrete answer to the Google Ads behemoth. This is reflected in the growth of Email Marketing jobs, up 21% (from 1,001 jobs).

BPO jobs boom as virtual assistants become mainstream for SMEs and entrepreneurs. Outsourcing basic administration tasks is rapidly becoming the norm for western small business, as SMEs increasingly become comfortable with accessing an online workforce. No longer the exclusive domain of large multinationals, small businesses and startups are increasingly adopting outsourcing as a way to get ahead of the competition, saving money on simple back-office tasks which can then be redirected to hiring more skilled labor or expanding operations. As a result of this trend, BPO jobs saw a massive 113% increase (from 2,945 jobs), and were the #1 fastest growing job type on in Q1 2013.

SEO rebounds from Q4 2012 as the industry adapts to Google Panda and Penguin algorithms. Recovering from a 3% slump in the final quarter of 2012, SEO (up 8% from 10,147 jobs) saw a tentative recovery in the first quarter of 2013, fuelled by a reliance on content-based strategies, which tend to suffer minimal damage from search algorithm changes. This is reflected in a huge rebound for Article Submission (up 54% from 1,864 jobs) and Technical Writing (up 26% from 3,490 jobs).

This data was extracted from 283,490 jobs posted on in Q1 2013, up from 261,003 in Q4 2012. The Fast 50 is the leading gauge of online hiring trends.

Rank Category Jobs in Q4 2012 Jobs in Q1 2013 Growth (%)
1 BPO 6266 2945 112.80%
2 Article Submission 2879 1864 54.50%
3 Technical Writing 4406 3490 26.20%
4 3D Modeling 1776 1463 21.40%
5 Email Marketing 1207 1001 20.60%
6 Android 5154 4278 20.50%
7 PowerPoint 1502 1247 20.40%
8 WordPress 10601 8820 20.20%
9 HTML5 4592 3823 20.10%
10 Illustrator 2400 1999 20.10%
11 eCommerce 4592 3859 19.00%
12 Twitter 2630 2232 17.80%
13 Shopping Carts 3458 2942 17.50%
14 PSD to HTML 2367 2021 17.10%
15 Photoshop Design 1246 1085 14.80%
16 Bulk Marketing 2842 2481 14.60%
17 CSS 10319 9009 14.50%
18 Magento 2564 2240 14.50%
19 3D Rendering 1572 1388 13.30%
20 Web Search 6963 6173 12.80%
21 Graphic Design 32175 28562 12.60%
22 HTML 29730 26396 12.60%
23 iPad 2266 2035 11.40%
24 Leads 3471 3133 10.80%
25 Telemarketing 1120 1018 10.00%
26 PHP 43583 39867 9.30%
27 Website Design 30276 27860 8.70%
28 Articles 12070 11141 8.30%
29 Report Writing 1538 1426 7.90%
30 Advertising 5600 5193 7.80%
31 SEO 10922 10147 7.60%
32 Link Building 7358 6836 7.60%
33 jQuery Prototype 3781 3522 7.40%
34 Word 4887 4559 7.20%
35 Joomla 3558 3322 7.10%
36 Logo Design 7598 7134 6.50%
37 3D Animation 1759 1652 6.50%
38 Database Administration 1164 1101 5.70%
39 C++ Programming 2331 2210 5.50%
40 Banner Design 2132 2022 5.40%
41 Video Services 1911 1816 5.20%
42 iPhone 5552 5294 4.90%
43 C Programming 3179 3049 4.30%
44 Java 3399 3274 3.80%
45 Marketing 8773 8490 3.30%
46 MySQL 14410 14017 2.80%
47 Translation 3261 3288 -0.80%
48 Facebook 6284 6569 -4.30%
49 YouTube 1309 1499 -12.70%
50 Data Mining 1243 1509 -17.60%


About Freelancer is the largest outsourcing and crowdsourcing marketplace in the world, and winner of three Webby awards. The site connects small businesses with almost 7 million independent professionals globally, specializing in fields as diverse as information technology, content, website development, marketing, engineering, and medicine. The average job is completed for under US$200, making extremely cost-effective for small businesses unable to justify the expense of hiring full time.

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