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The world wants cloud coders. Where are the cloud coders?

There's an open source project for that

Build a business case: developing custom apps

Open...and Shut Recent survey data from the Eclipse Foundation and elsewhere make it abundantly clear that cloud computing is top of mind for a majority of enterprises…and that no one really has a clue where to hire cloud developers.

According to Dice (warning: PDF), demand for cloud-savvy job candidates spiked 221 percent in the last year, even as Gartner, the Eclipse Foundation, and other sources point to a voracious appetite for cloud adoption.

Given that the U.S. technology market is at an anemic 4 percent unemployment rate, with top markets like California desperately short of qualified (or unqualified) candidates, it's unclear who is going to fill the rising demand for cloud skills.

Fortunately for enterprise recruiters, there's an open-source project for that.

According to a new report from Cloud.com, BitNami, and Zenoss highlights rampant use of open-source technology in cloud deployments. A whopping 69 percent of survey respondents indicate they use open-source software in the cloud "whenever possible." While the report's data may be skewed a bit (each of the report's sponsors is an open-source vendor), it still points to an open-source bias in the cloud. If true, this bodes well for cloud-starved companies, because open source lowers the barrier to cloud training.

Though not perfectly so, open-source projects tend to be egalitarian in nature. Anyone with an Internet connection can download open-source software and become familiar with it. A smaller, but still significant number can also contribute back to projects.

If the contributor statistics for open-source cloud software are anything like Drupal's impressive numbers, the future of enterprise computing is training itself one code change or documentation commit at a time. Based on the traction seen in Open Stack and other relevant projects, that open source cloud training is well underway, and accelerating.

Not that every cloud developer starts from an open-source background. Some organizations find that mainframe developers, with their emphasis on virtualized environments, transition quite well to the cloud. Using that same reasoning, there's an argument to be made that cloud computing is just a new name for business (and development) as usual in enterprise computing.

A cloud developer, in other words, needn't look much different from the IT staff one may already have.

But to the extent that enterprises need even more such developers than they currently employ, which seems to be the case, open source is enabling the next generation of cloud developers. Raised on the building blocks of many clouds, including Xen, Ubuntu, and OpenStack, they're a well-qualified pool of development talent, ready build private clouds.

Matt Asay is senior vice president of business development at Strobe, a startup that offers an open source framework for building mobile apps. He was formerly chief operating officer of Ubuntu commercial operation Canonical. With more than a decade spent in open source, Asay served as Alfreso's general manager for the Americas and vice president of business development, and he helped put Novell on its open source track. Asay is an emeritus board member of the Open Source Initiative (OSI). His column, Open...and Shut, appears three times a week on The Register.

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