Open Source Jobs Report: In-Demand Developers Can Get Paid to Earn Certification

Companies so badly want to acquire open source skills that nearly half of respondents to a new survey said they would pay people become open source certified.

And topping the list of jobs most in demand? Developer.

That's according to a just-published report from open source champion The Linux Foundation and the Dice careers site, titled "Open Source Jobs Report: Employers Prioritize Hiring Open Source Professionals with Latest Skills" (free PDF upon providing registration info).

The open source skills gap shows no signs of narrowing since last year's similar report.

"Developer remains the position most hiring managers in this survey (73 percent) seek to fill," said the new report. "They also need DevOps engineers (60 percent) and systems administrators (53 percent)."

Along with application development, specific areas for which enterprises are seeking talent include cloud, Big Data, DevOps and security -- the usual suspects in surveys of such type, though mobile often ranks up there, too.

"In the 2017 survey, 58 percent of hiring managers say they will hire more open source professionals in the next six months, and 67 percent say hiring of open source professionals will increase more than in other areas of the business," the report said. "This represents a two-point increase over last year in employers who said open source hiring would be their top field of recruitment. When asked about the factors fueling their hiring plans, 60 percent cited company growth, followed by increasing use of open source technologies (42 percent) and open source become core to their business (30 percent). Respondents could choose more than one answer."

Developers, Cloud Skills dominate
[Click on image for larger view.] Developers, Cloud Skills dominate (source: The Linux Foundation, Dice)

But self-taught developers thinking about trying to help fill the skills gap should note that employers value professional training and certifications -- so much so that 47 percent of companies will help pay for employees' certifications. Half of company respondents said they're more likely to hire certified pros, and 76 percent of those same open source pros believe certifications are useful to their careers.

Furthermore, only 21 percent of companies said they definitely wouldn't pay for certifications, which was down from 30 percent in last year's report.

And all of these factors, of course, are driving up salaries.

"Pay premiums have consistently grown over the past year for certified skills in areas including information security; application development/programming languages; databases; networking and communications; and systems administration/engineering -- skill sets that are among the hardest positions to fill," the report said. One data point from Dice's annual salary survey underscores this point: Linux professionals earn average salaries of about $100,000 annually (about the same as last year), compared to an average of $92,000 for other tech pros.

Other data points of interest in the new report include:

  • Sixty-seven percent of managers say hiring of open source professionals will increase more than other areas of the business in the next six months.
  • A growing number of companies (60 percent) are looking for full-time hires, compared to 53 percent last year
  • 89 percent of hiring managers say it's difficult to find open source talent.
  • 86 percent of professionals say open source has 86 advanced their career.
  • 52 percent say it would be easy to find another job.
  • Only 27 percent report they have not received a recruiting call in the past six months.
  • Potentially reflecting rising global uncertainty, only 43 percent of hiring managers in 2017 report the economy is encouraging them to hire more, down from 57 percent in 2016.
  • With the tech unemployment rate holding steady at around 2.5 percent, employers are keen to hang on to talent once they find it. With the rate as low at 1.2 percent for programmers, filling these and other IT positions can be especially tricky.
  • 33 percent of managers report they have offered additional training and/or opportunities as an incentive to retain employees, up from 26 percent last year.
  • Only 14 percent of open source pros said money and perks were the reason they chose an open source career, and only 3 percent cited those as the best things about their jobs.
  • The main reasons they chose this career are the freedom of open source (71 percent), their personal passion about open source (68 percent), and that open source runs modern technology (65 percent).

More than 280 people -- hiring managers and open source pros -- responded to the survey from The Linux Foundation and Dice. The report also used data from more than 1,800 open source professionals worldwide who responded to another survey.

"It's increasingly an open source world," the survey concluded. "Google, Twitter, Facebook, eBay, Pinterest ... the list goes on of Web companies running on open source code. Android dominates in the smartphone market. And automakers are coming together to standardize Linux for everything from self-driving cars to streaming entertainment.

"That can only mean more opportunities for open source professionals as companies strive to cut time to market with innovative products and gain greater efficiency in operations. "

About the Author

David Ramel is an editor and writer for Converge360.