Career website Dice.com is out with its annual Linux Jobs market report and once again demand is growing. The report is sponsored by the Linux Foundation, which does of course have its own particular bias when it comes to Linux, though there are still a few surprises in it.
"Based on our work with the community and our members, we know that knowing Linux helps people move into positions with amazing opportunities to work on really cool projects," Amanda McPherson, vice president of marketing and developer programs, told Datamation. "But when we see a stat like 86 percent of Linux pro’s saying that knowing Linux has advanced their careers, we know that it’s not just anecdotal and [we] are inspired to be able to support a community of professionals who really care about what they do."
McPherson noted that more than half of Linux pros surveyed said they chose a career in Linux because of their passion for the technology. Overall though, she noted that the Linux Foundation isn't too surprised to see demand for Linux talent continue to be high, even for three years running now.
"Members and other industry organizations continue to tell us how badly they need Linux talent to advance their most important technology initiatives and are asking us to help with programs like our Linux training work," McPherson said.
The survey found that 77 percent of hiring managers included hiring Linux talent as a priority in 2014, which is up from 70 percent in 2013. In terms of what type of Linux talent that organization are looking for, McPherson said people want to see code.
"Anecdotally we see a strong desire for code contributions for employers looking for developers," McPherson said. "On the distro side we do see demand for different distros: Red Hat, Oracle, SUSE, and Debian/Ubuntu, among others."
McPherson added that many companies use more than one Linux distribution for different workloads. Additionally the Linux Foundation is also seeing demand for Linux certifications.
While there is a clear demand for hiring Linux talent, the study found that less than half (46 percent) of hiring manager are actually beefing up their plans for recruiting Linux talent over the next six months.
"Hiring managers have both prioritized hiring more Linux talent and plan to hire more Linux professionals than last year," McPherson said. "So not only do they know this is a priority area, they want to hire more individuals with these skills."
According to the study, Linux profressional are also making more money than their Unix and Windows IT peers.
"Linux professionals for two years running have seen raises higher than the industry average," McPherson said.
Though there is opportunity and reward in pursuing a Linux career, there is still a real challenge for employers to find enough qualified candidates. McPherson commented that as Linux and open source have become so pervasive, really becoming the the fabric of computing, employers expect both developers and SysAdmins to have knowledge about how Linux works and how to manage Linux systems.
"The challenge for professionals in the years ahead will be how best to demonstrate they have the skills employers want," McPherson said. "Contributing to Linux and open source software projects is an important step but not everyone has the ability to do this. It will be important to explore learning opportunities that result in tangible skills."
Sean Michael Kerner is a senior editor at Datamation and InternetNews.com. Follow him on Twitter @TechJournalist