Feeds

Open-source skills best hope for landing a good job

But don't rip up your Microsoft Certified IT Professional papers yet

Securing Web Applications Made Simple and Scalable

In the midst of a weakening global economy and rampant uncertainty as to when the recession will lift from North America and Western Europe, one thing is certain: open-source technology skills may be the best hope for landing a good job. As reported by The Wall Street Journal, open source claims five of the top 10 keywords in Indeed.com's job listings, with Hadoop, Puppet, Android, and jQuery making the list, along with HTML5, a proxy for various open-source projects like ext-JS, SproutCore, etc.

But before you rip up your Microsoft Certified IT Professional certification, it pays to balance rising trends against dominant technologies.

Using Indeed.com, it's clear to see that interest in open technologies such as Drupal, Hadoop, and jQuery is exploding:

However, the picture becomes a bit murkier when you start adding in search terms like Microsoft's SharePoint:

And gets even worse when throwing in "Oracle", ".Net", and "Windows":

Obviously, things are moving up for open technologies. Equally obviously, however, they have a long way to go to close the gap on proprietary technologies like Microsoft's .Net. According to Dice.com's October job trends report, there's a serious .Net talent shortage across all major US geographies. Going one step further, Dice.com reports ".Net", "Peoplesoft", "Informatica", "Cobol", "C#", "SAP", and "Oracle DBA" as top search terms for job seekers.

shutterstock_open_source_incopy

Proprietary software developers may also need open-source
engineering skills. Photo via Shutterstock

Whether it's the employer looking for talent, or the talent looking for an employer, proprietary software continues to dominate the job boards.

But this only tells half the story. Back in 2008, Gartner declared that 80 per cent of all commercial applications would incorporate open-source software by 2012. We may have surpassed that 80 per cent market already. Microsoft, for example, has long included open-source software in its proprietary products, as Lee Gomes reported back in 2001. Oracle, SAP, and every other significant proprietary software developer does the same.

So while it's convenient to segregate "open" and "closed" for the purposes of tracking job trends, doing so obscures the larger reality that these same job searches may well betoken demand for open-source engineering expertise to be applied to a proprietary product.

Sure, you can still see people calling out open source expertise in job listings, but this is a relic of an old-school way of viewing software, one that doesn't adequately match the realities of today's increasingly hybridised development.

One thing, however, is clear: as much as open source may commoditise software, open-source software talent is hard to commoditise. Some suggest that open source is "software's labour movement," keeping value in the people who manipulate technology rather than in the technology itself, and I think there's a lot of truth to that view. A variety of studies consistently demonstrate open-source savvy developers and IT professionals commanding higher salaries, something that seems not to have changed much even as open source has gone mainstream.

So whether you're developing an open-source project for love or proprietary profit, such expertise should remain in high demand no matter the difficult economy or the continued dominance of Oracle and Microsoft of the enterprise technology market. ®

Bridging the IT gap between rising business demands and ageing tools

More from The Register

next story
NO MORE ALL CAPS and other pleasures of Visual Studio 14
Unpicking a packed preview that breaks down ASP.NET
DARPA-derived secure microkernel goes open source tomorrow
Hacker-repelling, drone-protecting code will soon be yours to tweak as you see fit
Cheer up, Nokia fans. It can start making mobes again in 18 months
The real winner of the Nokia sale is *drumroll* ... Nokia
Put down that Oracle database patch: It could cost $23,000 per CPU
On-by-default INMEMORY tech a boon for developers ... as long as they can afford it
Google shows off new Chrome OS look
Athena springs full-grown from Chromium project's head
Apple: We'll unleash OS X Yosemite beta on the MASSES on 24 July
Starting today, regular fanbois will be guinea pigs, it tells Reg
HIDDEN packet sniffer spy tech in MILLIONS of iPhones, iPads – expert
Don't panic though – Apple's backdoor is not wide open to all, guru tells us
prev story

Whitepapers

Designing a Defense for Mobile Applications
Learn about the various considerations for defending mobile applications - from the application architecture itself to the myriad testing technologies.
Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
Top 8 considerations to enable and simplify mobility
In this whitepaper learn how to successfully add mobile capabilities simply and cost effectively.
Seven Steps to Software Security
Seven practical steps you can begin to take today to secure your applications and prevent the damages a successful cyber-attack can cause.
Boost IT visibility and business value
How building a great service catalog relieves pressure points and demonstrates the value of IT service management.