THE Internet has changed the employment landscape in a huge way. It has transformed not only the workplace but the worker as well.
In the 18th century, the Industrial Age gave birth to the factory worker, a laborer who stoked blast furnaces, built steam engines, assembled cars.
Today, less than 50 years into the Information Age, web designers and developers, content providers, search engine optimizers sit in front of flat-screen monitors in IT offices, servicing clients on the other side of the globe.
There is another kind of IT worker, someone who provides the same kind of services without ever stepping into an office. The home-based IT worker is a new breed of online employee that the Internet has spawned.
Office- or home-based, cybertechjobs are a growing segment of the employment sector in the Philippines. Proof: A Google search for “online jobs” can yield hundreds of thousands of results.
The Internet has become a must-have tool in today’s world. Bill Gates calls it “the town square for the global village of tomorrow.” Everyone needs to get connected to it, one way or the other. Businesses keep a presence in the Internet as an integral part of their corporate strategy.
That’s where the IT worker comes in.
Aleq Y. works for an IT firm whose office is in Makati City. It is a small outfit, with no more than a core staff of 10 that design, develop and provide content for web sites.
Aleq describes the work they do as “point of sales system.” Basically, that means doing the online nitty gritty for a client. “We do online catalogs, upload products for posting, write about client’s products. We provide information for a client’s home page, such as company history,” Aleq says.
The company services about 10 or so clients, almost all of them outside the Philippines.
IT work pays relatively well. A web developer commands the biggest fees, from P60,000 a month to as high as P100,000. Salaries for Web editors like Aleq range between P30,000 and P35,000. A writer fetches between P11,000 and P20,000.
Such wages fit nicely for young workers who are single or who are just starting a family. That explains why young adults dominate the IT workforce.
That doesn’t mean that there is no room in IT for the older set.
Cynthia M. retired last year after 14 years as an executive secretary in the Manila office of an international airline. Household chores occupy most of her time now, but when she is done she opens her laptop and edits articles for her sister who is in the US.
Cynthia belongs to the army of IT workers whose place of work is the home. She is happy with the arrangement. “I have more time for my family and myself, and I earn just enough to supplement my pension,” Cynthia says.
The Internet abounds with sites devoted to home-based workers. The forum cash site, for one, is looking for home-based editors who must “fix the following:
Formatting (articles need subheadings)Logic flow. Missing words. Overall professionalism of the article.Tighten the overall quality of the article or blog post.
Aleq is familiar with the home-based set-up. In between jobs several years ago, he freelanced from home, writing and editing articles for clients abroad. “I got paid $5 per 500 words,” he says. He wrote about health, tech gadgets, lifestyle and a variety of other topics. He did one to two articles a day.
Payment was made via Paypal, Western Union or bank transfer, Aleq says.
Some home-based workers prefer a full-time job. That requires a daily output of five to eight articles. The pay seldom tops P20,000, so the trick is to hold down as many online jobs as possible.
Online commerce is growing at a remarkable rate, and so is the market for IT workers.