Survey shows companies need Linux talent and they need it bad

Great news for Linux pros and bad news for hiring managers. A survey says companies are desperate for Linux pros in the next six months. Plus, the salaries for Linux staffers are on the rise.
Written by Steven Vaughan-Nichols, Senior Contributing Editor

Survey says: Businesses need Linux IT pros, they need them now, and they're willing to pay real money to get them.

Got mad Linux skills? Then the job market wants you and it wants you bad. (Credit: The Linux Foundaiton and Dice.)

The 2013 Linux Jobs Report survey, which was conducted by the Linux Foundation and Dice, the self-proclaimed #1 technology job board, found that hiring managers from corporations, small and medium businesses (SMBs), government, and staffing agencies want Linux professionals — and they want them now.

In particular, this survey of 850 hiring managers and 2,600 Linux professionals found:

  • 93-percent of hiring managers say they will hire a Linux pro in the next six months, an increase from 89 percent in 2012.
  • More hiring managers in 2013 say that finding Linux talent is difficult — nine out of 10 in 2013; eight out of 10 in 2012 — underscoring the opportunity for tech professionals who know Linux.
  • Systems administrators are the most sought-after Linux pros according to hiring managers, representing the growth of Linux in the enterprise to support cloud computing and Big Data. This is followed by developers and development and operations (DevOps) specialists.
  • Seventy-five percent of Linux professionals surveyed have received at least one call from a recruiter in the last six months. These professionals are being pursued by employers offering above average salaries and bonuses. Salaries of Linux professionals jumped 9 percent this year, far out-pacing the 5 percent increase in tech salaries overall (which was the biggest jump in a decade), according to the Dice Salary Survey

In general, Dice has found that, on average, tech professionals earn annual wages of $85,619. . Salaries for Linux pros are well above the average tech salary nationwide, coming in at $90,853. According to Dice, "That [also] represents a 9-percent jump, far outpacing the 5 percent jump in tech salaries overall."

"The improvement in hiring intent from last year’s sky high levels shows that Linux professionals are in a job market of their own. For Linux professionals, the trend is your friend – make sure you are taking advantage of this market’s career opportunities,” said Alice Hill, Managing Director of Dice.com and President, Dice Labs in a statement.

"The unprecedented demand for Linux professionals represents the growth across industries and the increasing relevance of the collaborative development model,” said Amanda McPherson, VP of marketing and developer programs at The Linux Foundation in a statement. “The 2013 Linux Jobs Report shows that there is unlimited opportunity for college graduates and technology professionals who want to pursue careers in Linux."

Dice and the Foundation also report that employers are looking for experienced workers. "Three to five years is the consistent sweet spot for work experience, with 73 percent of respondents looking for candidates with this level of experience, followed by seeking out professionals with six to nine years of experience"

This is great news if you have some experience, but it's leading to troubling news if you want to hire someone with proven Linux abilities. In an IT job market where Dice has found that 80 percent of U.S. employees plan to stay put at their current jobs, 35-percent of Linux staffers are really to go to greener job pastures. Seventy-four percent of those looking to move are willing to jump for a higher salary while 61 percent would like better work/life balance and 47 percent could be tempted by a flexible work schedule or telecommuting.

Why is Linux so hot? That's an easy question to answer. According to Dice, "Linux is increasingly becoming an essential part of modern day computing, powering everything from mobile devices to enterprise management to consumer electronics. As a result, the professionals who know how to harness its powers are maintaining their own dominance at the top of the IT job market."

To that, I can only add that if you look around, you'll see Linux everywhere. It powers the Web sites you visit, many of the smartphones around you, and increasingly big businesses, which rely upon it for servers and Big Data Linux in one form or another. Linux is becoming the dominant operating system and that means that's also where the jobs are. 

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