Finding a Linux Job

Finding a Linux Job

Summary: According to new data from The Linux Foundation, Linux jobs are pretty much evenly divided between administrator and developer jobs. But, you won't go wrong if you focus on Android programming work.

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Linux can get you a job.

Linux can get you a job.

So you want a Linux job do you? Well, according to The Linux Foundation, the jobs are out there. Specifically, Linux jobs are divided up almost evenly between developer, 53% and system administrator. 47%, jobs.

Amanda McPherson, the Linux Foundation's vice president of marketing and developer programs, told me, "The Linux jobs market is booming, and we're doing a variety of things to understand what skills are most in demand and how we can help address that opportunity for our corporate and individual members and with things like our Linux Training courses. The data we've surfaced from our Jobs Board really reflects the importance of common programming languages, as well as areas of great success for Linux--such as Android. Mobile and embedded development skills are extremely valuable in today's market. If you can work on security, power management and integration at the device level, you're well prepared for this burgeoning area of Linux development."

The Linux Foundation's overview of Linux jobs.

The Linux Foundation's overview of Linux jobs.

In particular, Android, and Java, the language that goes with it, is in enormous demand. A quick hunt for Android jobs reveals over 10,000 jobs and contracts currently available. Besides Android dominating the smartphone market the explosive rise of affordable Android-Linux powered tablets such as the Amazon Kindle Fire and the Barnes & Noble Nook Tablet, is going to make certain that Android skills are going to be red-hot in the 2012 job market.

As for the system administration side, while the Linux Foundation didn't get deeply into exactly what people are looking for, I did some digging of my own and I didn't find any surprises. If you want a job as a system administrator and you're still wet behind the ears with Linux, you need to start with a Linux Professional Institute's entry-level LPIC certifications. What you'll really want though is a Red Hat Certified System Administrator (RHCSA) or, better still, a Red Hat Certified Engineer (RHCE) certification to your credit. Experience, though, as always, trumps certification.

So where are these jobs? Well, The Linux Foundation's job site is U.S-centric so most of them "appear" to be in the U.S. I doubt that's really the case. Personally, I know that both the U.K. and German Linux job markets are hot. Within the U.S., the top states are Georgia: 12%; California: 11%; Texas: 9%; and Illinois: 9%.

To me, the way these jobs are scattered about the country also says something else: You don't need to be in Silicon Valley or some other traditional high-tech hot spot to get a Linux job. Linux work is everywhere, and in an economy likes ours, that's a welcome ray of good news.

Penguin Tie Image by adpowers, CC 2.0

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Topics: Software, Android, CXO, Google, Linux, Open Source, Operating Systems, IT Employment

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27 comments
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  • RE: Finding a Linux Job

    Or, if you really want a job, you should get an MS certification. There is far more demand for MS certified employees than for hobbyists who like to get together with their friends to discuss their favorite command line compiler flags.
    toddybottom
    • RE: Finding a Linux Job

      @toddybottom
      MS certs are not as important as they used to be. Deal with it and move on.
      daikon
      • Actually . . . . .

        @daikon
        Since most companies are not internet facing, and most servers are MS behind firewalls that Steven would never know about, those MS certs are just as important as ever. Since so many people have the certs, they are that base entry to most companies. No cert, no interview.

        Deal with it.
        Cynical99
      • RE: Finding a Linux Job

        @Cynical99
        Really if only I could count the number of times I have seen so called MS cert folks trying for a MS admin spot. Only to be shot down, for not learning something other than MS.

        Sorry to hear that the world no longer resolve around Microsoft any more.
        daikon
      • Well, we are a global company, thousands of servers, and not one Linux box

        @daikon
        hard to believe I know, but Linux doesn't exist where I work. Yes, many paper MCSE's exist, but without the paper, the interview doesn't follow. We can weed out the papers pretty quickly by looking for experience.

        Linux certs don't have any worth here, we don't use it.

        if you want to work for an Internet Company like Google, yes, Linux certs pay a role, but most companies around the world don't have search engines. They use business applications purchased from vendors. Most vendors write for Windows, not necessarily for Linux. Most companies already have some form of MS service contract, other applications, office, and the rest, so your comments show a limited view of the world.

        That's always been the problem with Linux, an extremely limited view that includes the belief that you know everything and can make decisions for everyone and they should accept your dictates as fair and best for all.

        Once you understand that the world doesn't revolve around Linux, MS or any computer, and that the end user only wants it to work and they don't really care how, and that in most companies Linux doesn't meet that need, you might be light years ahead of the pack.

        Yes, there are jobs in Linux, but many, many more in MS. The market is simply larger.
        Cynical99
      • RE: Finding a Linux Job

        @Cynical99

        I hear you, and have been there. But How much longer will you be in a Windows only shop? I'm an MCSE and the shop I was in was always mixed in the back with Solaris and Windows, and then started kicking Windows to the curb in the data center putting in Linux, so I had to keep up with the times and now am MCSE and Linux+/LPIC1 (and going for the LPIC2 and 3). Windows remained on the desktop, but even there, it started becoming a mix of Windows/Linux in the IT and development areas as the administrators and developers (including myself) were finding it easier to manage/utilize Linux boxes using Linux. Since development switched over to Linux and Android, Windows became more irrelevant in house except for Outlook and MSOffice... For me, I ran the Windows only apps in VirtualBox, and life was good.

        The point of the above, is you never know what is going to happen. Windows as a development platform in the last job was perceived to be pretty safe, and then got whacked pretty quick in a very fast "resource realignment" that came down from high above in favor of Linux only. Right or wrong, that's what happened. In the current job market, keep those skills up to date and as OS agnostic as possible, you never know where you'll end up. It is just tools in the toolbox, not a religion. :) New job I ended up managing Linux servers this time rather than being hired for Windows, although my heavy Windows background is still considered a + on the versatility front. What I found, was as an MCSE in the current job market, it is harder to stand out from the crowd unless you're different in some way. My newer Linux background was that difference.
        admiraljkb
    • RE: Finding a Linux Job

      @toddybottom

      That's the worst advice. MS Certs are not good at all. Minesweeper Consultant and Solitare Experts lack lots of real world knowledge. And If I had $1 for each time my non-certified butt had to show an MCSE how to admin a Windows box I'd be rich.
      itguy10
      • Yet another made up story

        @itguy10?
        [i] And If I had $1 for each time my non-certified butt had to show an MCSE how to admin a Windows box I'd be rich[/i]

        And we are to believe that a Microsoft/Windows hater like yourself is far more knowledgable then a MCSE?

        Like your many other stories of failed Microsoft installs at your work and abroad, I find the factuality of your statement to be highly suspect.
        :|
        Tim Cook
      • RE: Finding a Linux Job

        @itguy10

        I know what you are talking about. Several paper certs out there. I wouldn't say that the MS Certs are worthless. Combined with experience in the field, they're worth something. Combined with Linux Experience and Certs though, they're worth a lot more. The days of people with just MCSE's being able to get a job is probably over without several years experience to back it up. And they'll need their VMWare and/or Linux certs and experience to backup the MCSE. I accidentally got back into the job market (layoff), and the IT world hiring and requirements have really changed in the last few years. Who knew my Linux experience was worth more than the Microsoft? Turns out it was, and that worked out really well. Lots of MS guys out there, very few MS AND Linux guys out there, and as it turns out, that is in demand right now. :)
        admiraljkb
    • RE: Finding a Linux Job

      @toddybottom "...hobbyists who like to get together with their friends to discuss their favorite command line compiler flags."

      :-) Made me chuckle.
      statuskwo5
    • Very Good advice

      @toddybottom
      As the majority of the world runs Microsoft Windows software, what you propose is indeed logical.

      Have you ever wondered why there are so many Linux positions avaliable? Not that it is outgrowing other operating systems, instead that many who are paying tuition at colleges to learn programing do so with the expectation of aquiring work in that field.

      It would be logical to assume that they prefer to learn Windows based systems.
      :|
      Tim Cook
      • RE: Finding a Linux Job

        @Mister Spock
        Muahhahaha.... Bravo! Another jester for my collection. BTW, it is obvious you use IE- you have no spell check: aquiring.
        kirovs@...
    • RE: Finding a Linux Job

      @toddybottom
      Trolling is good. It increases traffic and people can learn where the real job growth is.
      kirovs@...
      • RE: Finding a Linux Job

        @kirovs@...
        Shh! Dont give away the secret.
        daikon
    • RE: Finding a Linux Job

      @toddybottom

      Yeah, I've got a MCSE and it got me my last job 11 years ago. What got me my new job was my Linux experience and certs instead. The world is changing - RAPIDLY. An MCSE quite frankly isn't enough, and thanks to all the paper ones, isn't really worth much without another cert to back it up. You actually need to be both Windows and Linux these days if you want to get hired quickly. And then you also have to be VMWare now as well. Flexibility is now the name of the game. No time for "religion", sheesh.
      admiraljkb
      • RE: Finding a Linux Job

        @admiraljkb
        Exactly, folks live far too much in the past. Back to the present.
        daikon
    • RE: Finding a Linux Job

      @toddybottom

      I've seen too many MCSE's who went to a boot camp and crammed for the MCSE exams and learned NOTHING. They have the paper certs but they don't have any common sense... as the old saying goes, they couldn't pour pi$$ out of a boot with directions on the heel.

      And in our enterprise, the people with Windows and Linux admin skills make more than the ones that only have Windows admin skills. We use Linux extensively in our enterprise and more for manufacturing and business critical processes. No, email is NOT a business critical process; but inventory control and management is and it all starts with Linux.

      And we compile a whole lot more on the Windows side than on the Linux side; well at least our programmers do.
      benched42
    • RE: Finding a Linux Job

      @toddybottom ...I'm not super smart, never went to school for computers, and can think of at least one person with a MS certificate that knows a whole lot less than I do. Sure, there's a lot of jobs out there for people with a certificate, but there's a lot of jobs for Linux people, too. I have absolutely no idea of how to compile something, but I've been using Mepis Linux for years. Linux isn't just for hobbyists...
      AmraLeo
  • RE: Finding a Linux Job

    I used to deliver pizzas. Then I got an MCSE and now I am a Windows administrator!
    Win8AnUglyDisaster
    • Linux Admins still sell Pizzas

      @johndow1 and they also have Lemonade stands to make up their income.
      adacosta38