Why Container Skills Aren’t a Priority in Hiring Open Source Pros (Yet)


It should come as no surprise that open source training and hiring is typically predicated on what skills are trending in tech. As an example, Big Data, cloud and security are three of the most in-demand skillsets today, which explains why more and more open source professionals look to develop these particular skillsets and why these professionals are amongst the most sought after. One skillset that employers have not found as useful as professionals is container management.

While 19% of open source professionals said that containers will have a big impact on open source hiring in 2016, only 8% of employers felt this way, according to the 2016 Open Source Jobs Report. One potential reason for this mismatch may be that professionals see a greater benefit in adopting container technologies than employers do at present. Technical professionals have been able to see the advantages of container packaging and development workflows, but the relative youth of orchestration technologies have made it more difficult for organizations, particularly large enterprises, to widely adopt container infrastructures.

In the past year, the adoption of containers has skyrocketed along with the amount of software easily available to developers and container builders, but significant questions in the management and operation of containers have remained – specifically questions around security, networking and persistent data storage in container-based environments. While developers have been able to create flexible application architectures with containers, there are still many areas where the difficulty in overcoming challenges has made adoption less likely in more risk-averse environments.

The rapid pace of change and evolution in the container ecosphere have also presented challenges to employers in finding personnel who have the skills to cope with the rapid pace of change while maintaining stable production environments. Therefore, as an open source professional with container skills and strong soft skills, you can be a key asset and contributor.

With a robust knowledge of containers, you have the ability to help foster greater collaboration within your team. In addition to providing tech teams with application portability, containers let individuals have greater flexibility and control of their work. Docker, as an example, one of the two most prominent technologies associated with containers, allows developers to have complete ownership of their code and operations teams to have the ability to manage and scale their operating systems.

A search on Dice for professionals with Docker experience generates a results page with various job titles (i.e. data analytics software engineer, cloud architect, senior principal DevOps engineer, etc.).  Employers want team members who have skillsets that can help them work more quickly, efficiently and independently. That isn’t a requirement that is title specific. With that said, there remains some concern amongst employers around data persistence, with many companies adopting Docker tending to be environments that need to operate at large scales.

Open source professionals who are also familiar with CoreOS, specifically its rkt product, may have a leg up with security-minded organizations. CoreOS’s rkt product offers an alternative approach to Docker, focusing more on security and composability, something many employers have voiced their concerns over with containers. For that reason, utilize this skill to your advantage during the interview and hiring process.

Still new to the tech world, employers and professionals alike have a lot more to learn about containers as the technology continues to develop. As a result, uncertainty, particularly amongst employers, remains in terms of what type of impact containers will have on open source hiring in the future. With that being said, continuous evolution of the container ecosphere has caused some of the initial concerns around the technology to dissipate. For an open source professional with container skills, use this time to demonstrate to employers as well as professionals the value of containers and how they can be used to improve team dynamics and workflow.

Yuri Bykov manages Data Science at Dice.