Work and Web: between incertainty and new opportunities

It’s almost two years that the “crisis” is blasting over the world: it hasn’t spared nobody neither our sector and generally the  ICT one. Although studies affirm that this area is the only one in net recovery and can be the real driving force for the economy.
However for what concerns the web professions in Italy things are changing very slow, personally I register an irritating inactivity most of all for what regards the big companies. Despite the crisis, despite the technology  and with the assertion of internet (especially in the 2.0 form) the medium and big organizations aren’t investing in the development of excellent resources and in new talents.

The Italian situation: medium and big companies

I think it’s impossible to talk in Italy of realities such as Google, but at the moment reigns supreme chaos  that involves the professions, the remunerations and the prospective of  growth. Issues like tele -work don’t get faced, or rather contracts that look more at the results than at the presence in office (indicated by the time card ).
A skilful professional can not easily find his way because management looks at short term results and at cost reduction, thus increasing the dividends for themselves and for the shareholders. Development, research and retention towards emerging talents aren’t the target of Italian companies where the functions of Human Resources  no longer dictate the strategies in this field anymore.

Besides this wrong approach, companies continue to evaluate their employees in base on the presence and amount of  daily hours worked, while the quality of the work, the respect of deadlines and the curiosity to experiment  aren’t very important values. In particular in the web area the argument of  tele-work could be applied with success, changing the contractual logics to the advantage of  succeeding the result and the target. With the tele-work employees may have an enormous benefit in terms of time needed to reach working place, the possibility of not depending anymore on stiff working hours, but also an economical saving. This saving as a consequence would also involve the company area: savings in terms of  electricity, heating/air-conditioning,  office arrangement, etc.
Moreover companies would do a real step towards sustainability, contributing a lot at the reduction of pollution (especially in big cities). This model  is valid for the web but obviously to all those activities where employees communicate with colleagues mainly  with telephone (and conference calls), mails and instant messages.
The solution for a good professional would be to go into a smaller reality (in our case a web agency) or become a freelancer. And this is what I want to deal today.

The freelance world

We all know how difficult it is for web professionals to avail their competences. Convince the company (which pursues an internal web department), that one single person can’t carry out the whole project is one of the challenges we find ourselves facing everyday. Make understand that a web designer with competences of, PHP, MySql and suite Office isn’t a real profile, it’s a company in Italy: just take a look at the ads that come to us via e-mail , rss or on specialized portals.
Have you ever made a comparison with the same ads for the markets in USA, UK, or even in Germany? Surely budget and salaries will be more higher (proportionate with the cost of life) but it is expressly required and with punctuality a specific profile. Personally I look at foreign job ads for this reason: understand where we go wrong in Italy! The answer is simple: a lack of culture!

If you advice someone to go to an auto body shop for problems at the car lights, the answer will be that you need a car electrician, right? If an Italian company needs a front-end developer (that knows xhtml, css and javascript) they search for a programmer or a graphic printer!
In the ads of final clients the situation is worse and it becomes almost ridiculous. I believe that I have never met a client who really knew want he wanted

So, what to do?

I believe that an employee of a big company that wants more space, has to look with concern at small specialized realities: the web agencies. It’s no use going to another big company, the problems will be the same.
Become a freelancer could be really complicated if you don’t have experience  and you’re not ready to consider periods of “lean” after years of “safe income.”
However the thing that I don’t understand and that I criticize, is in the fact the companies (in this case of whatever type and dimension) mostly choose to apply these “flexible” contracts. I’m not going in details because there are so many variants, but the substance is that flexibility is especially for the company. The latter offers an atypical contract ( with no guaranties, with a limited duration, with no paid leaves nor illness) but obliges the employer to a “typical”  or “traditionalprofessional writing service. This means presence  in office, working hours and also an exclusive working relationship that precludes the possibility to take extra jobs. Nobody mentions tele-work.
Like always in Italy the novelties  are applied in a distorted way: in this case the tale of flexibility is absolutely  becoming a nightmare for many.

A freelancer shares the same state of crisis of who has a short term contract, but he has the possibility to work simultameously on more projects and perhaps discard the less convenient ones. Obviously we keep on seeking for the right job, the right project and the perfect client.

Some advices

I will not dwell on the list of the many sites of specialized ads, but I advice you to start following also the abroad ones, in particular the American ones. Initially to become  confident with the requests (and you’ll be surprised of their accuracy), with a little practice you can start sending your candidacy and take some work. If this happens you’ll notice how the distance won’t be a problem for efficiency nor trust, of how Skpe is great ally and how payments will be easy and quick thanks to Paypal (in USA everybody use it). The only problem may be the time zone. About this subject I want to give you a couple of useful links:

These are all very good and safe services, I tested personally.
Always in the global area and also to whet the curiosity of many, I’m publishing this list with the 50  mostly requested skills:

The listing was published  in an article of Donanza that analyses the diversities among WordPress, Drupal and Joomla developers. This table could aslo be useful in the SEO area…

A new prospective: online auction

I left for last another resource that is quickly gaining ground in Italy. The model is obviously imported from abroad, but it guarantees a minimum gap between the requests of the final client and the real product to create. This realty is called platform for the professional mediation. It works as an auction where the client/company publishes the desired service, with timeframes and budget and the many registered suppliers publish their bids.
The client sees the profile and assigns as he likes the project. The platform earns from the transaction taking a small percentage from the defined budget. Realities like these guarantee that the commissioned work is faithful with the requests and the specifics and for the suppliers (us) and we stave off crazy requests or absolutely not compatible with our skills.

Among these realities I would like to point out that in fact is (their definition) “ a global platform for the mediation of high quality services “. Twago was born in Germany but the site is also located in Italy. The job offers arrive via e-mail and you can choose to participate to jobs outside the Italian borders.
Try it because the possibility of increasing the pool of clients is really high, in total security.

What do you think about tele-work in general?

-In our area technical devices help us (skpe, e-mail, sharing tools), but is it possible to work in one’s own room?


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The Author

Alexander is a web professional for over 8 years and lives and works in Rome. Has several knowledge in web design and web development. It ranges from pure creativity to development of templates and graphic design conforms to the W3C standards.

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