September 29, 2016

How to Find Your First OpenStack Job


OpenStack Marketplace
Looking for an OpenStack job? Here are the answers to some frequently asked questions about working on OpenStack professionally.

We’ve covered the growth of OpenStack jobs and how you can become involved in the community. Maybe that even inspired you to search for OpenStack jobs and explore the professional opportunities for Stackers. You probably have questions, so we’re here to answer the frequent questions about working on OpenStack professionally.

Am I qualified? How do I know?

Taking stock of your current skills can be difficult. Here’s a common method that will give you a generic barometer of your qualifications:

  1. Head to the OpenStack Jobs board, or a search for OpenStack on your preferred job posting aggregator (like Indeed, LinkedIn, Jobr, etc.), and pull down a handful of descriptions that pique your interest.

  2. Create a separate list of your current skills and rank them in strength (using an A-F grading system can be helpful here).

  3. Compare the requested experience to your list: Looking across the set of descriptions, is there a skill you’re constantly missing? Is there an area of “high priority” for the company that’s in your “weakest” category? Don’t let a one-off mismatch deter you, but if you’re continually missing a particular requirement or it’s constantly at the bottom of your skillset, that’s the area you’ll want to focus on building up.

As you gain more experience and improve your OpenStack skills, keep coming back to your checklist and adding new job descriptions to your set. When you have a passing grade for their requested skills, that’s a good time to apply!

How much Python do I need to know?

OpenStack is written in Python, but how proficient your Python skills need to be vary by your role. Developers will need more advanced Python, while operators can successfully work on OpenStack with more minimal Python knowledge. As always, the OpenStack community is here to help one another. It’s not uncommon to see sessions like “Python Basics for Operators Troubleshooting OpenStack” at Summits (the aforementioned talk was featured at the OpenStack Summit Austin).

Do I need to have a significant contribution history to get hired?

This answer varies by employer, but being a Project Team Lead (PTL) of an OpenStack project isn’t a hiring requirement! While a history of contributions never hurts, companies who have embraced OpenStack are equally as eager to find professionals who fit their technical culture. In transitioning to OpenStack, many companies have also shifted their tech cultures to be focused on open source, such as Walmart, who will be presenting about their transition at the OpenStack Summit Barcelona. Being passionate about open source and understanding how open source contributes to innovation will set you off on the right foot with any OpenStack ecosystem organization.

Where can I find OpenStack jobs?

The OpenStack community job board is located at Here you’ll find organizations hiring for roles like “OpenStack Developer,” “OpenStack Cloud Architect,” “OpenStack Cloud Administrator,” “Senior Software Engineer for Cloud Services.” The list goes on. Companies posting here are looking specifically for people familiar with OpenStack and who are actively involved in the OpenStack community.

Another great place to find an OpenStack job is at an OpenStack event. Networking is always your friend in securing a new job. In the previous post, we outlined the various OpenStack events. At the OpenStack Summit, companies will post a “We’re Hiring!” sign at their booth in the OpenStack Summit Marketplace if they have open positions. Take a spin around the Marketplace and shake a few hands. If you can’t make it to a Summit, your local OpenStack Days event or find a local user group, which are full of networking opportunities.   

I’ve played with OpenStack outside of work, I think I have the qualifications; how can I show I’m ready for an OpenStack job?    

This is the game-winning question, and there’s lots to say! So much so, our entire fourth post will be dedicated to making the transition from “OpenStack hobbyist” to “OpenStack professional.”   

Want to learn the basics of OpenStack? Take the new, free online course from The Linux Foundation and EdX. Register Now!

The OpenStack Summit is the most important gathering of IT leaders, telco operators, cloud administrators, app developers and OpenStack contributors building the future of cloud computing. Hear business cases and operational experience directly from users, learn about new products in the ecosystem and build your skills at OpenStack Summit, Oct. 25-28, 2016, in Barcelona, Spain. Register Now!

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