With high demand for Linux professionals and a shortage of workers with these skills, it’s small wonder that employers are willing not only to train their staff but also to help them get certified. Forty-two percent of employers report having trained existing workers on new open source technologies this year to meet their needs, compared to only 30 percent in 2017, according to the 2018 Open Source Jobs report.
The report, produced by Dice and The Linux Foundation, also found that 38 percent of companies are less likely to rely on outside consultants, compared with 47 percent in 2017. Consequently, they are turning to training to keep up in a fast-paced, ever-changing tech environment. Sixty-four percent of hiring managers say their employees are requesting or taking training courses on their own – the exact same percentage as last year.
Why? There is a strong belief that IT certifications are a reliable predictor of a successful employee, according to IT trade association CompTIA. In its own research, CompTIA found five reasons why 91 percent of employers believe IT certifications play a big role in the hiring process:
Certifications help fill open positions
Most companies have IT staff who have certifications
Certified IT pros make great employees
IT certifications are increasing in importance
Training alone is not enough
Certification as an incentive
Forty-two percent of employers are using training and certification opportunities as an incentive to retain employees, up from 33 percent last year and 26 percent in 2016, this year’s Open Source Jobs Report found. Underscoring the importance employers place on certifications: Nearly half (47 percent) of hiring managers say employing certified open source professionals is a priority for them, essentially the same number as last year.
The same percentage say they are more likely to hire a certified professional than one without a certification. An increasing number of companies are willing to pay for certifications, with 55 percent that reported they helped to cover the costs of certifications this year, up from 47 percent last year and 34 percent in 2016. Only 17 percent say they would not pay for certifications, a decline from 21 percent last year and 30 percent in 2016.
Certifications is a benefit that can be used as a recruiting tool, and employers that offer certification courses for full-time employees should mention it in job postings, the report stresses. Similarly, professionals seeking this benefit should make clear during the interview process their desire to continue their education and become certified while employed.
However, there continues to be debate over the value of certifications versus on-the-job experience. There are many seasoned tech professionals who claim years of experience is more important, yet the average certification now represents a 7.6 percent premium on an IT pro’s base salary, according to research firm Foote Partners, which publishes an annual IT Skills and Certifications Pay Index. Specifically, gains were seen in networking and communications and applications development and programming language certifications, the firm says.
A significant majority (80 percent) of open source professionals say certifications are useful to their careers, up slightly from 76 percent in the previous two years. The main reasons cited are that certifications enable employees to demonstrate technical knowledge to potential employers (stated by 45 percent of respondents), and certifications make professionals more employable in general (33 percent). Forty-seven percent of open source professionals plan to take at least one certification exam this year, up from 40 percent in 2017.
Vendor neutrality matters
Employers increasingly want vendor neutrality in their training providers, with 77 percent of hiring managers rating this as important, up from 68 percent last year and 63 percent in 2016. Almost all types of training have increased this year, with online/virtual courses being the most popular. Sixty-six percent of employers report offering this benefit, compared to 63 percent in 2017 and 49 percent in 2016. Forty percent of hiring managers say they are providing onsite training, up from 39 percent last year and 31 percent in 2016; and 49 percent provide individual training courses, the same as last year.
Additionally, employers say they increasingly see benefits from sending employees to conferences. Fifty-six percent of hiring managers said they pay for employees to attend technical conferences, up from 46 percent in 2017.