Linux: It's where the jobs are

The Linux Foundation's most recent job survey reveals that eighty percent of IT companies that use Linux are making hiring Linux professionals a priority.
Written by Steven Vaughan-Nichols, Senior Contributing Editor

The Linux job market is ho and getting hotter.

The Linux job market is hot and getting hotter.

The job market is still only slowing shifting back into gear, but the IT job market is still doing better than the general market. And, guess which technology is doing especially well for would-be IT employees? If you said, "Linux," you'd be right.

According to a survey by The Linux Foundation and Dice, the top technology job site of more than 2,000 hiring managers at corporations, small and medium Businesses (SMBs), government organizations, and staffing agencies from across the globe" slightly more than eighty percent of companies that use Linux are making hiring Linux professionals a priority.

The 2012 Linux Jobs Report(PDF link) found:

  • Demand for Linux talent is on the rise, but finding those professionals is difficult.
  • Eight in 10 (81%) survey respondents say that hiring Linux talent is a priority in 2012. This pressing matter is particularly evident when Linux demand is compared to hiring in other skill sets: 63 percent of hiring managers are increasing Linux hires relative to jobs created in other skill areas. The issue? A full 85 percent say finding Linux talent is somewhat to very difficult, making Linux professionals some of the most sought talent in 2012.
  • Companies are making significant investments to attract and retain Linux talent.
  • Linux professionals garner more full-time positions and better salaries, bonuses and perks. While the pay increase for tech professionals averaged just two percent in 2011, Linux professionals have seen a five percent increase in salaries year-over-year and a 15 percent jump in bonus payouts. Flexible work schedules (37%) additional training and certification programs (30%) and salary increases above the company norm (28%) are among the perks Linux gurus can expect.
  • Mid-level Linux developers and system administrators are the most in-demand.
  • Employers are seeking mostly Linux developers - 67 percent - and systems administrators - 55 percent - with varying levels of experience; though, mid-level professionals appear to be the most highly sought: 75 percent of respondents say they're looking for Linux talent with three to five years of experience.

The demand is only increasing and it's increasing at the expense of other technology skill sets. "(47%) of hiring managers expecting to add more Linux professionals to their firms in the first six months of 2012 than they did in the previous six months. The career outlook for Linux developers, system administrators, and other open source professionals is strong, particularly when compared to demand in other skill-sets: 63 percent of hiring managers are adding Linux hires relative to other skill areas."

Most companies are finding it hard to find qualified Linux professionals. 85 percent of hiring managers say that finding Linux talent is "somewhat to very" difficult.

This is happening because, according to the survey, "Forty-nine percent say their company is growing, which is creating the need for additional Linux-focused team members, while another 48 percent say that they are increasing their use of Linux and need in-house talent to support it. And 30 percent say that Linux has become core to their business and they need to increase participation in the Linux community through new hires."

This isn't just talk. The demand for Linux-savvy employees is showing up in the bottom line. "Nearly two-thirds (66%) of survey respondents are taking aggressive steps to ensure that they retain and reward top Linux professionals. While the average pay increase for tech professionals averaged just two percent in 2011 … according to Dice's annual Salary Survey, in 2011, Linux professionals saw a five percent increase, year-over-year, in their pay as well as a 15 percent jump in bonus payouts. It's clear that professionals with expertise in open source software and the collaborative development model have unmatched levels of job security, as well as unique opportunities for career growth."

As Jim Zemlin, the Linux Foundation's executive director, said in his blog announcing the Linux jobs report, "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."

Specifically, "hiring managers are pursuing Linux developers (67%) and systems administrators (55%) most often to fill open positions, although IT managers (20%) and outside consultants (15%) are also in demand." In short, if you want a good job in IT, Linux is where you want to be.

Linux jobs infographic courtesy of The Linux Foundation

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