As it seems, here in Germany there are only two serious languages: C/C++ and Java. Well, ok, Visual Basic and C# are sough after rather strongly (red bars), but there seems to be too little supply. Is that the fear of a vendor lock-in or is it just because Microsoft is considered evil that the programmers don't like .NET? The same case of too little supply for PHP, but here I must mention that the hourly rates for PHP tend to be rather low - PHP still considered a hacker language?
And now look at the last but one language with a longwinded German name I won't retype here (too lazy). In fact it's not a language of its own, but rather denotes "all the other ones in there", which includes everything fancy (or just plain old). You see there is too much supply, the IT managers seem to be more conservative than programmers, no surprise here.
Which leaves us with C/C++ and Java. Java is unmistakeably the 500 pound gorilla here, but it's hopelessly over-supplied (blue bar)! For C/C++ the situation isn't so dramatic, and I'm glad I specialize in C++!
The proposed course of action here: go away from Java (or well, from everything else for that matter) and start on .NET!
Now the overview of technologies in the freelancer projects:
Software development comes first (still a little place for more work - red bar!), then system management (plus "service and support"), however the suply here is much too big (blue bar)! It's just as bad as for SAP programming - in the past the eternal cash cow with ridiculously high hourly wages, now it's a real "problem child" - the market seems to be breaking down. Banking crisis anyone? For Web development and "graphics, content and media" there's much too much demand, just like in the PHP case above. Then the ominous field of "IT consulting", where I don't have any idea what it is, sorry, no comments there :-/. One interesting field is "Executive consulting" with so much demand and so little supply, maybe everyone is just too shy to position theirself in that niche?
The proposed course of action here: either stay with software development or move into "Executive consulting"!
Having said that: Merry Christmas you all!