By Chandler Harris
As Hulu, Apple, Microsoft, Netflix and network websites like
ABC.com help to shift viewing habits from traditional cable television to Internet
viewing platforms, the online video industry is rapidly evolving, growing – and
looking for technology help.
New content-viewing habits and platforms
are creating strong demand for professionals skilled in the various aspects of online
or streaming video. Plus, businesses are using online video more than ever for
internal and external applications.
"Every year consumers consume more video content on more
devices for longer periods of time and at a higher quality, which is fueling
the market," says Dan Rayburn, executive vice president of
StreamingMedia.com and principal analyst at Frost and Sullivan.
The worldwide video delivery network has a compound annual growth
rate of more than 30 percent, with revenue expected to grow from $800 million
this year to more than $1.4 billion by 2012, according to Frost and Sullivan.
Where the Jobs Are
Although there were "almost no jobs" in online video in
2008, numerous companies in the sector are now hiring, Rayburn says. At his StreamingMediaBlog.com,
he compiled a list of more than 300 jobs at 22 different companies during
August alone. The companies include Adobe, Netflix, Lockheed Martin, Hulu and
Akami. Many of these positions are for developers, engineers and project
Rayburn sees a strong need for project managers and network
engineers experienced with content delivery networks, and who know how to build
scalable infrastructure for software downloads, applications and video. Other
in-demand technical positions include encoding technicians and database
programmers with experience in SQL and C++.
At Blip.tv, which provides original Web content, shows and series
with 50,000 videos and a running total of 94 million views, 40 percent
of the staff are in IT. Currently the company is looking for IT professionals
skilled in Java, Flash, Perl and QA.
The Flip Side
On the other side of the equation is the increasing demand by companies
to use video at the for business, training,
marketing and e-commerce applications. Currently, every Fortune 500 company
uses IP-based video in its internal and external communications, Rayburn says. That’s
where the geatest opportunity lies for online video experts: to provide solutions for businesses’ video ecosystem.
Platforms for content management, transcoding, syndication, video advertising,
and monetization – along with hardware and software products – are seeing the
biggest signs of growth.
At Limelight, a company that provides online and mobile video
services to organizations, software and network engineers are always in demand,
especially those that understand programming at Internet scale. The company
needs software engineers experienced with C/C++,
Java web applications and HTML 5. Limelight also is looking for data engineers experienced
with big database programs like Apache Hadoop and Gluster.
"We’re a growing business and we need folks that understand
how to operate in a rapidly growing environment, people that are self-starters
and can take on challenges and run with them," says Paul
Alfieri, the company’s vice president of marketing and communications.
A combination of video and Internet professionals make up Zeitbyte, a
start-up that offers online and traditional video
services. Zeitbyte likes professionals experienced with digital media issues
like aspect ratios, tape formats, conversion, video production and encoding, as
well as Internet developers who know how to work with online media, project
managers and developers experienced with Flash, Java, Python, HTML 5 and
The only hitch in working this sector: Many companies want
previous experience in what’s a relatively new field. Becoming a specialist in
an element, such as building networks or databases for online videos or being a
specialist in Flash, can help.
Says Rayburn: "Most companies don’t look at you and say, "you
didn’t complete college," but "what work can you do for us today?"
Chandler Harris writes about business and technology from the Bay Area of California.