Want a good tech job? Report says ​open-source skills are hotter than ever

65 percent of HR managers say open-source hiring will increase more than any other part of their business over the next six months.
Written by Steven Vaughan-Nichols, Senior Contributing Editor

So, you want a top-notch technology job? You should be polishing up your open-source software skills.

Open Source Jobs 2016

Dice and The Linux Foundation have found that open-source jobs are hot.

Dice & The Linux Foundation

Dice, a leading tech career company and the Linux Foundation have just published the 2016 Open Source Jobs Report. They found that 65 percent of HR managers say open-source hiring will increase more than any other part of their business over the next six months. At the same time, 79 percent of hiring managers have increased incentives to hold on to their current open- source employees.

They're right. I have been to numerous technology trade shows this year. At every one -- from CES to the OpenStack Summit -- I've seen companies looking for open-source talent. Indeed, I've seen more companies searching for new employees than I have businesses standing pat.

It's not just companies outside the Linux world that are looking for open-source pros. The Linux distributor SUSE, for example. is currently seeking to fill 102 new job openings. They're looking for OpenStack developers; distributed storage software engineers, Docker specialists, and senior Linux developers. Other businesses that rely on Linux, such as Canonical. Red Hat, IBM, and Oracle, are also looking outside for Linux and open-source experts.

Dice and the Linux Foundation state, "Recruiting open-source talent is a top priority for hiring managers focused on recruiting technology talent, and recruiters are increasingly looking for more professional training credentials from their candidates."

That's a big reason groups, such as The OpenStack Foundation, are now offering certifications like Certified OpenStack Administrator (COA). Even Microsoft -- yes Microsoft -- is getting into the act with its own Microsoft Certified Solutions Associate (MCSA) Linux on Azure.

Other key findings from the 2016 Open Source Jobs Survey and Report include:

  • Open-source talent is one of the top priorities for recruitment this year. Fifty-nine percent of hiring managers say they'll add more open source professionals to their ranks in the next six months. This is an increase when compared to last year's Linux-specific jobs report, which found 50 percent planning to add Linux talent during the same time.

  • DevOps is among the most sought after skills in the industry. Fifty-eight percent of hiring managers are seeking DevOps professionals while the need for developers remains the top position on their list at 74 percent. Open-source professionals also feed this trend as 13 percent of the surveyed identified DevOps as the most in-demand skill today --more than any other category.

  • Cloud skills are also in great demand. 51 percent of surveyed hiring managers are looking for employees who know OpenStack, CloudStack or related cloud technologies.

  • Networking is a leading emergent technology. 21 percent of hiring managers say networking has the biggest impact on open source hiring.

  • Containers, while very hot as a technology, haven't become hot yet as a sought after job skill. Only 8 percent of hiring managers are currently looking for container experts.

  • Open-source professionals are driven to innovate and collaborate. Only two percent of professionals stated that money and perks were the best thing about their jobs. Working on interesting projects tops the list with 31 percent, while working on the most cutting-edge technology challenges (18 percent) and collaborating with a global community (17 percent) are also high on open-source professionals' lists.

That's not to say that open-source pros don't get paid. They do.

"Demand for open source talent is growing and companies struggle to find experienced professionals to fill open roles," said Bob Melk, Dice's president in a statement. "Rising salaries for open-source professionals indicate companies recognize the need to attract, recruit and retain qualified open source professionals on a global scale."

"It's a seller's market," added Jim Zemlin, the Linux Foundation's executive director. "As more and more open source projects are developed, open source professionals will need to update their skill-sets with knowledge and experience including DevOps and networking. Ongoing training and certifications will be the key to growing their expertise and keeping a competitive edge."

So, if you want a high-tech job, look to Linux, open-source software, and the cloud. You'll find your future career there.

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