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- Thursday, July 21, 2011

How to Expand Skills and Increase Earnings - oDesk

Earning Employers' Confidence
Contractors have to take charge of their career development — or stagnate.
Outsourcing for Small Business: How Small Companies Gain Competitive Advantage in Today's Global Economy (Volume 5)One of the advantages of working at a big company is that there's usually some kind of promotion track, and a sense of how to develop your career. (Disadvantages include bad coffee and the guy in the next cubicle who talks too loudly on the phone.) Compare that to your remote contractor situation: There's no growth track automatically laid out for you, and no way to improve your skills — and thus your earnings — unless you do it yourself.
It can be an ongoing challenge to keep up with changing trends, new software releases and the expanding skill sets employers demand. Our blog recently posted 45 online resources for career improvement in 13 work categories. Here's a sampling from that post: 

For more tips in these categories, plus database administration, public relations, customer service, web design and more, check out the full post. 

Success Stories
Cristian Castiblanco
Cristian Castiblanco is a 22-year-old developer in Colombia who started out on oDesk as a web programmer offering PHP, Java and other skills, until he decided to make a career switch — not from freelancing on oDesk, but by adding mobile-app development to his repertoire. Soon he was writing the mobile app for a professional U.S. sports team, and he says that mobile apps make up most of his work these days.
Work at Home Now: The No-nonsense Guide to Finding Your Perfect Home-based Job, Avoiding Scams, and Making a Great Living"When I started studying Android, I did it for fun," he says. He soon realized that there were a lot more opportunities in mobile development, so he turned it into his primary specialty. "Best decision of my life."
Since continuously improving his skills is part of Castiblanco's success, we asked him what in-demand skills he's intending to add in the next few months. "Everything related with the new Android APIs for tablets — in other words, Honeycomb," he said, "and more about Android NDK."
And keeping up his skills is increasingly important — these days, he more often has employers seeking him for work, rather than applying to jobs himself, which means he has to be ready for any challenge!  

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