10 Open Source Skills That Can Lead to Higher Pay

Posted September 21, 2017 By  Cynthia Harvey
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    10 Open Source Skills That Can Lead to Higher Pay
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    10 Open Source Skills That Can Lead to Higher Pay

    Knowledge and experience with leading open source projects can make it easier for candidates to find IT jobs that pay well.
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    Cloud and Virtualization
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    1. Cloud and Virtualization

    When asked which open source skills they needed the most, 70 percent of hiring managers pointed to cloud computing technologies, such as OpenStack and Cloud Foundry. That's an increase from 66 percent of managers who said the same thing in 2016. Along the same lines, 62 percent of employers said cloud was the technology most influencing their hiring decisions.

    IT professionals also put cloud computer at the top of the most in-demand skills with 47 percent of respondents saying it was very important. And 69 percent of professionals said they expected cloud technologies to become more important in the next year.

    The Robert Half Salary Guide lists only one cloud-related job title. It says the median cloud computing analyst makes $92,500, while those in the 95th percentile bring home $156,250.

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    Application Development
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    2. Application Development

    For many years, application development has been one of the hottest areas of IT hiring, and developers with open source skills are particularly valuable. In the Linux Foundation survey, 59 percent of managers listed application development as one of their most sought-after open source skills. IT professionals also ranked application development highly, with 44 percent of them saying it was one of the most in-demand skills. In addition, 77 percent of IT pros said that the ability to architect solutions based on open source was one of the most valuable skills in their job.

    The Robert Half report listed also developers among the most in-demand technology roles for 2018. It says that US software developer pay ranges from $97,000 in the 25th percentile to $163,000 in the 95th percentile, with a median of $115,000.

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    Open Source Development Tools
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    3. Open Source Development Tools

    Not only do developers need to know how to incorporate open source code into their applications, they also need to understand open source development tools, which are becoming increasing commonplace. In the Linux Foundation survey, 66 percent of IT professionals listed "experience with open source development tools" as one of the most valuable skills in their jobs. In addition, 65 percent said "knowledge of new tools" was highly valuable.

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    DevOps
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    4. DevOps

    In the Linux Foundation survey, managers ranked DevOps skills third on the list of most sought-after skills, with 57 percent of them saying DevOps skills were highly desirable. In addition, 60 percent of them said that "DevOps Engineers" was the position they most needed to fill in their organization, making it the second most common response after "developer." Open source professionals put DevOps fourth on the list of most in-demand skills, selected by 42 percent of respondents.

    The report noted, "The most popular DevOps tools – Chef, Puppet and Ansible – were created as open source, with Windows support added later."

    Similarly, the Robert Half Report puts DevOps Engineers on the list of most in-demand technology roles for 2018.

    The Stack Overflow Salary Calculator says that median pay for a DevOps professional in San Francisco with five years' experience and a bachelor's degree is $116,000. By comparison, the median salary for a full-stack developer with comparable experience and education is $108,000.

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    Open Source Big Data Tools
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    5. Open Source Big Data Tools

    Big data continues to grow in importance, and in the Linux Foundation survey, 57 percent of hiring managers selected big data as one of the areas of expertise that most affect hiring decisions. In addition, 42 percent of open source professionals said that big data is one of the most in-demand skill areas, putting it third behind cloud and application development. They also believe that the big data trend isn't going away; 57 percent of them said big data and analytics skills will gain more importance in the coming year. It's noteworthy that the leading big data tools — those that are part of the Hadoop ecosystem — are all open source.

    In keeping with the big data trend, Robert Half put business intelligence analysts and data scientists at the top of its list of the most in-demand technology roles for 2018. It says that the median pay for a data scientist is $119,000, and the median for a big data engineer is $150,000.

    Not surprisingly, the Stack Overflow Salary calculator finds a premium for Hadoop skills. A full-stack developer in San Francisco with 5 years' experience and a bachelor's degree who knows Hadoop might make $114,000. That's $6,000 more than a comparable developer who doesn't know Hadoop.

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    Open Source Security
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    6. Open Source Security

    With so many high-profile data breaches in the news, security also remains a hot area for IT hiring, and those who combine open source skills with security knowledge seem to be especially valuable. The Linux Foundation report found that 46 percent of hiring managers are looking for security talent, and 42 percent of open source pros said security was one of the most in-demand skills. (That's the same number who listed DevOps among the most in-demand skills.) Also, 55 percent of IT professionals believe security will become more important in the coming year.

    Robert Half says that the median salary for a network security administrator is $115,000, and data security analysts might make $121,000.

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    Open Source Web Technologies
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    7. Open Source Web Technologies

    Sixty-seven percent of hiring managers told the Linux Foundation that they are looking to hire talent with Web technologies skills, making it the second most popular response to that question, right after cloud. Many of the leading Web technologies, including Web servers, Web development frameworks, and Web languages, are open source, which means that open source skills are a must for Web professionals.

    According to the Robert Half Report, Web developer salaries range from $82,500 to $139,000, with someone in the 50th percentile bringing home $98,000.

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    Linux
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    8. Linux

    As might be expected from a report sponsored by the Linux Foundation, the survey also found strong demand for Linux knowledge. Sixty-five percent of hiring managers said they are looking for Linux talent. The report also noted that average pay for Linux professionals is higher than the average pay for all IT workers.

    The Robert Half Report supports the Linux Foundation's assertion. It says that salaries may increase 5 to 10 percent for professionals with Linux skills who work in applications development, Web development, networking, security and technical support/help desk.

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    Containers
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    9. Containers

    With the rise of Docker, Containers have also become a hot area of open source technology. IT professionals surveyed for the Linux Foundation report ranked containers third on the list of skills that will become more important in the coming year, with 56 percent of them selecting containers as a growing open source skill.

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    Networking
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    10. Networking

    On the Linux Foundation list of skills that hiring managers are currently looking for, networking technologies ranked fourth, with nearly half (48 percent) of those surveyed looking to hire in this area. Similarly, the Robert Half Report lists network administrators among the most in-demand technology roles for 2018, and it says that networking and telecommunications professionals with Linux/Unix administration skills may increase their salaries 5 to 10 percent over those who do not have the same skills.

    Median pay for network administrators is $62,500, with network managers making around $102,500, according to Robert Half.

Last month, The Linux Foundation and the online job board Dice released the results of a survey about open source hiring. It found that 67 percent of managers expected their hiring of open source professionals to increase more than their hiring of other types of IT workers.

In addition, 42 percent of managers surveyed said they need to hire more open source talent because they were increasing their use of open source technologies, and 30 said open source was becoming core to their business. A vast majority — 89 percent — of hiring managers said that they were finding it difficult to find the open source talent they need to fill positions.

The researchers also contacted open source professionals as well as managers, and 86 percent of them said that their involvement in open source has advanced their career. Interestingly, only about a quarter of open source workers surveyed said they haven't gotten a call from a recruiter in the last six months.

So which open source skills are most in demand?

The survey asked that question of both hiring managers and IT pros, who gave slightly different answers. The top responses are covered in this slideshow, which also draws on data from two other recently published resources: the Robert Half 2018 Salary Guide for Technology Professionals and the Stack Overflow Salary Calculator.



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