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The Ever-Changing Linux Skillset

Just because you had what it takes for a good Linux-related job a decade ago, it doesn't mean that you have what it takes today. The Linux landscape has changed a lot, and the only thing that's really stayed constant is that a love of learning is a requirement.

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What Greg Does

With my recent job change, I'm starting to run into a bunch of people asking "What exactly are you going to be doing now?"

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A Look at the LinuxQuestions.org Members Choice Awards Winners

Every year LinuxQuestions.org hosts a members choice awards, which lets members of the site vote for their favorite Linux distributions and open source applications. There's not a lot of change in the results from last year, but the results do show a few interesting changes. GNOME has been unseated as favorite desktop, the GIMP has gone up in the polls even further, and LinuxQuestions.org has its first-ever tie in the NoSQL category.

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Need a Job? New Study Says Learn Linux.

No one disputes that that tech jobs are fueling the economy in the U.S. and around the world. The U.S. President said in his recent State of the Union address that there are twice as many openings in the science and technology sector as there are people to fill them. But where exactly are these jobs? And, who exactly is landing them?

Today, we have new data that helps us understand where are the tech jobs and that tells us we need more trained people in the most profitable and rewarding areas of tech.

The first-ever Linux Jobs Report released today surfaces two of the most lucrative areas in the tech jobs market - Linux development and Linux systems administration. Eighty-one percent of recruiters surveyed for the report say hiring Linux talent is a priority in the year ahead. And, 63% percent will hire Linux talent over candidates with other skill areas.

A NYU Professor recently said "code is the literacy of the future" (CNN: Computer Geeks King in Job Hunt). We agree. And, we believe that Linux is an important currency in that future. It powers the Internet. It runs Google, Facebook, Amazon, Twitter and millions of other Internet technology companies. It runs the world's supercomputers, data centers, smartphones, financial institutions and stock exchanges, and the list goes on. It's no surprise that with its widespread ubiquity that today there is also growing demand for talent to support it. In fact, when the Linux Jobs Report survey respondents were asked why hiring Linux talent was a priority in the year ahead, most reported their companies are growing, increasing their use of Linux and requiring in-house expertise to support the OS.

But the Linux Jobs Report also finds a wrinkle in an otherwise positive story: Linux and open source developers can be hard to find. Eight-five percent of those surveyed say that finding Linux talent is really difficult.

Google, Facebook, Amazon, Qualcomm, IBM, Intel and hundreds of other companies who rely on Linux to support their businesses, especially their highly-valued data centers and embedded systems, are paying big bucks to find and retain Linux talent. The Linux Jobs Report shows that nearly 1/3 of the companies surveyed are giving pay increases to these professionals that are above the industry norm. Dice's 2012 Salary Report backs this up, showing that Linux professionals have seen salaries go up by 5% over the last few years, while tech professionals overall have seen just a 2% increase. The 15% bump in bonus payouts to Linux professionals just solidifies the point.

It's become glaringly obvious that students and mid-level career professionals who can confidently write Linux code can also write their own ticket to long-term job security. It’s a really good time to know Linux.

Getting involved in open source projects and understanding the open development model are more important than ever, and the good news is that the “University of Open Source” is open to everyone. There are no entrance exams, no admissions counselors, and no student loans; all you need is a connection to the Internet. And, it doesn't matter where you live or what your local economy is dictating. In a world that is flat, Linux and open source software development is a global opportunity for job seekers working anywhere, any time.

Looking for a place to start? Check out Jon Corbet’s guide on participating in the Linux kernel community. We also invite you to check out our Linux training courses, which are taught by leaders from the Linux and Linux kernel communities.

Get all the results from the Linux Jobs Survey and Report by downloading it here: http://www.linuxfoundation.org/publications/linux-foundation/2012-linux-jobs-report

 

Why Linux Jobs Are Burning Up the Tech Market: Q&A with Dice.com's Alice Hill

The Linux Foundation, in partnership with Dice.com, today released the results of the first-ever Linux Jobs Report. Linux Foundation Executive Director Jim Zemlin breaks down the significance of those findings in his blog. In this special interview, we talk to Dice Managing Director Alice Hill for her perspective on what is most interesting about the 2012 Linux Jobs Report and the outlook for Linux professionals.

What do you think is the most important finding from the 2012 Linux Jobs Report? Why?

Hill: Linux is firmly at the core of software development and system administration and still growing. What the survey respondents tell us about Linux as a priority for 2012 echoes recruitment posting activity on Dice. We have seen demand in areas like mobile and cloud take off, but Linux-related jobs are a consistent leader. In fact, Linux job postings on Dice.com are up 17 percent year/year and is one of the top 10 most requested skills.

What surprised you about the results? Why?

Hill: It’s not a surprise to us that Linux talent is in demand, but what is surprising is the fact that 85 percent of companies report having difficulty finding qualified Linux professionals. That’s substantial. Linux is a core skill and employers understand this. Now tech professionals need to recognize the opportunity and join this community.

Dice works closely with recruiters and hiring managers. What are you hearing about demand or points of pain for Linux talent?

Hill: Hiring managers tell us they’re looking for Linux talent who can not only build and update complex systems, but also contribute to the success of the tech department and the company overall.

We advise hiring managers to watch for shortages in certain high demand areas like Linux and to work hard on retention. Aside from salary, offering the option to telecommute or to take on new and challenging projects have been powerful retention tools and work to ward off poaching.

Looking beyond 2012, what would you predict the Linux jobs market will look like?

Hill: At Dice.com we don't really predict specific job markets, but we do study our data, which is a leading indicator of growth and movement in certain skills and tech metro areas. Linux talent is not only in demand in 46 states, but as we saw in our salary survey, these professionals are also commanding salary increases after two years of flat salaries overall. Linux garners an average annual salary of more than $86,000, above the national average of $81,000.

Software programming and development skills have been getting a lot of attention nationally. What kinds of things can employers and universities do to encourage more men and women pursue this line of work?

Hill:
I think we've seen that tech in general, and programming and development specifically, has been where demand is. Even in an uncertain economy, tech unemployment rates fall well below the national average. With a shortage of computer science grads, as evidenced by a report Dice did last May, this only fuels the demand for more skilled entry-level developers. Shortages put pressure on tech wages, and some colleges and universities are creating exciting new programs to get students accredited sooner and into the workforce faster to capitalize on these higher salaries. It's a great time to be in this field.

Thank you to Alice for taking the time to give us her insights. Please feel free to download the full 2012 Linux Jobs Report .

 
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