Cloud Native / Open Source

Open Cloud Helps Boost Market for Linux Talent

4 Mar 2015 9:59am, by

The rise in open cloud platforms, Linux-based technologies and the innovative new products that run on them are fueling the continued demand for Linux pros, according to the annual survey from The Linux Foundation and job board Dice.

It polled 1,010 hiring managers and 3,446 Linux professionals to report on the state of the Linux job market.

Ninety-seven percent of the hiring managers said they plan to bring on Linux talent in the next six months, up four points from last year. And half say they’ll hire more Linux talent this year than last.

Meanwhile, the love for all things Linux continues to grow. While 51 percent of Linux pros last year cited a passion for Linux as their primary reason for their career choice, this year that number was up to 75 percent.

The rise of open cloud platforms are playing into that. Forty-two percent of hiring managers say that experience in OpenStack and CloudStack will have a major impact on their hiring decisions, while 23 percent report security is a sought-after area of expertise and 19 percent are looking for Linux talent with Software-Defined Networking (SDN) skills.

Among the factors driving growth:

  • Forty-nine percent of Linux professionals say open cloud will be the biggest growth area for Linux in 2015.
  • Security vulnerabilities such as the 2014 Heartbleed bug have also fueled a need for Linux-savvy security pros. Twenty-three percent of hiring managers say security experience has an impact on hiring decisions.
  • And despite all the hype, only 5 percent of hiring managers point to containers as a big growth area, while just 19 percent of Linux professionals see it as the biggest area of growth in the industry.

“We frequently get requests for Linux administrators, with salary rates anywhere from $75k to $120k depending on level of experience,” said Deborah Vazquez, CEO of IT staffing firm PROTECH in Boca Raton, Fla.

“We’ve also been seeing a lot of software engineer and developer requirements where our clients consider having Linux experience a plus.  In these cases, it’s usually not a hard requirement, but a nice plus since the software these developers/engineers develop will be deployed on top of the Linux operating system.”

Riviera Partners, however, a San Francisco staffing firm focused on startups, sees Linux demand more focused on the DevOps side.

At the same time, 88 percent of hiring managers in the survey report that it’s “very difficult” or “somewhat difficult” to find these candidates.

Sixty-six precent of hiring managers report they are looking to fill SysAdmin positions. Forty-four percent of hiring managers say they’re more likely to hire a candidate with Linux certification, and 54 percent expect either certification or formal training when hiring SysAdmins.

Among Linux pros, 90 percent say that knowing Linux has advanced their careers, an increase of four points from last year.

Citing a need to expand the skills pipeline faster, the Linux Foundation announced two new certifications last fall: the Certified System Administrator (LFCS) exam covering skills for basic to intermediate system administration, and the Certified Engineer (LFCE), focusing on design and implementation of system architecture. Both are performance-based certifications allowing candidates to choose the distribution in which they wish to certify.

It had previously offered its “Introduction to Linux” course for free on edX, which became one of the most popular courses offered.

Analyst firm Foote Partners, which tracks premium pay trends from 2,688 North American employers in its quarterly “IT Skills Demand and Pay Trends Report,” has been reporting an uptick in employer interest in certifications overall. Premium pay is the amount companies are willing to pay above base salary.

It reports, for example, that premium pay for a Linux Professional Institute certification-Level 3 has risen 14.3 percent in market value in past six months of 2014 and up 33 percent for 2014. Meanwhile, the value of the Linux Professional Institute certification-Level 2 is up 30 percent for the calendar year.

“When you see increases in pay for certs it’s usually because demand is rising faster than supply,” said CEO David Foote. “… in this case the supply of Linux talent is quite strong. Linux has been around for a long time.”

He says increased employer interest in Linux certifications could be related to increased marketing of certifications.

Employers have been less willing to pay premiums for non-certified Linux skills which have shown a 12.5 percent decline in market value in the last six months of 2014, he said.

Feature image via Flickr Creative Commons.

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