Survey: Bosses are DESPERATE and GAGGING for Linux skills
Penguin gurus sought more than other tech workers
Demand for IT professionals with Linux skills is stronger than ever, but a new worldwide survey of more than 850 hiring managers and 2,600 Linux professionals indicates that companies are having a hard time finding qualified hires.
Among the findings of the survey, which was conducted by careers website Dice and the Linux Foundation, 93 per cent of hiring managers said they were planning to take on new Linux talent within the next six months – a 3 per cent increase over 2012's numbers.
The trend shows no sign of slowing down, either. Among the same group, 85 per cent said that in the next six months they planned to hire the same number of Linux pros – or more – as they hired during the previous six months.
Just what's driving all this demand is a bit murky, but the top three reasons given by survey participants were company growth, overall increased use of Linux, and the migration of existing systems from legacy platforms to Linux.
Linux systems administrators were in highest demand among hiring managers, with 73 per cent claiming they needed more. Developers were wanted by 57 per cent of respondents, and coming in third at 25 per cent were DevOps pros, a category that was only added to the survey this year and which refers to professionals who blend coding and admin skill sets.
Companies are willing to pay for Linux skills, too. The report found that the average salary for Linux professionals was $90,853 (£58,654). That's 6.2 per cent higher than the $85,619 (£55,274) average for tech professionals generally – and salaries for Linux-related jobs are climbing faster than those of other tech jobs, too.
All good news for prospective job seekers with Linux skills, but high demand means companies don't have it easy. Among those surveyed, 90 per cent responded that they felt it was "somewhat difficult" or "very difficult" to find experienced Linux pros.
The bar for "experienced" was actually fairly low, with 73 per cent of respondents looking for people with three to five years of Linux background, although some wanted six to nine years of experience.
Such intense demand for Linux skills doesn't seem lost on those with the requisite know-how. Of the Linux professionals surveyed, 56 per cent said they thought it would be "fairly easy" or "very easy" to switch jobs, and 35 per cent said they actually planned to do so in the coming year, compared to 20 per cent for US employees generally.
Little wonder, considering that 75 per cent of Linux pros said they had received at least one call from a recruiter in the past six months.
On the other hand, studies such as these are always grist for the mill of the ongoing US immigration debate, with many tech companies insisting that the only way to slake their thirst for qualified job applicants will be to open the country's borders to more foreign workers.
A bipartisan Senate bill proposed in January would raise the totally number of immigration visas offered to advanced graduates in science, technology, engineering, and math from 65,000 to 115,000 per year, and possibly to as many as 300,000 per year. Meanwhile, a second Senate bill floated on Wednesday, dubbed the "Startup Act 3.0", would create additional visas for foreign entrepreneurs.
Linux professionals might therefore be wise to start searching for their ideal gig sooner rather than later, since companies and politicians seem determined to swing the balance of power in the tech workforce back over to employers – one way or the other. ®
Define "experience". I've been in IT for over a decade. I've used Linux on countless occasions. I've deployed Linux servers and clients left, right and centre. Hell, I've programmed on Linux and created things that run all manner of systems.
But the same could be said of a lot of other people, who've done less than me. There's a big difference between slapping in a Linux box from an Ubuntu CD as a basic computer, not touching it to configure it, and deploying a properly managed Linux roll-out, even if it's only for a few select machines. There's a big difference between sticking in a pre-fab Linux server and sitting down and building one from software components.
I have a Linux server in front of me now, another running the website for my workplace, and 50 client machines on Linux upstairs - not to mention what's lying around in terms of kiosks, touchscreens, etc. that do their job nor even things like embedded Linux clients that we use for certain purposes.
The server, though, runs everything from fax-to-email services, Internet load balancing and fail-over, SMS gateway (with automated integration to do things like open firewalls and even cut the power to other devices through USB relay boards), file server, backup staging server (backup to that, it backs up to a remote overnight), web filter, email server, support ticket server, instant messaging server, VPN server, it provides any number of facilities that staff use every day - hell, it even interrogates remote Firebird databases on embedded devices in our access control software to draw up In/Out boards on the intranet that it serves, and print out lists of people in the case of a fire.
Now if/when I go, and someone has to come in and manage that, a guy who says "Linux skills" on their CV might not be anywhere close to being able to actually manage it, replicate it or replace it - even with all the documentation in the world. Hell, the version of Hylafax I use has my own custom patches in it and replacing it with a stock version stops a lot of things that people expect to "just work" from working. The kernel is patched to provide proper dropped-connection detection for the external lines and to kick them back into action and modify routing tables as necessary. I know people who, in trying to replicate that functionality, could spend £10,000 on 20 different devices to do the same things.
My problem with this is that it's like saying "Windows skills are in big demand". All that you'd get it you put "Windows" into a job title / description is a thousand applications from school-leavers who "know Windows". But if you just advertise the job title, that should be enough. If I was to wander into a old-school Unix shop tomorrow, I don't claim to know damn all about it, but if it was my current job that just so happened to be using Unix instead of Windows/Mac/Linux, then I would be expected to pick it up. The skills are transferable and the knowledge is easily available. Somehow singling out Linux as "some magical thing" that earns more money, I think is a silly thing to do. Anyone worth their salt should have played with all current operating systems in one form or another, even if in only quite minor ways.
If you can't find people with Linux skills, you're not even trying to hire the right sort of people anyway. You're hiring people who've gone through an MCSE and think they know everything there is to know about computers, servers, the Internet and everything else. Of course they are cheaper, but if you'd hired properly in the first place, you could throw just about anything in front of the right person and you wouldn't even need to pay them to train on the new OS, programming language or whatever else.
The number of people with half-assed Linux "skills" is less than those with half-assed Windows "skills", of course. That goes without saying. But the problem is that if you are honestly hiring someone with a job title of, say, "Linux IT Manager", or "Linux Server Deployment Specialist" or whatever else you want, then it just shows that your existing staff aren't competent or capable of learning something new. In the same way, I'm expected to "just know" Server 2012 and Office 2013 without any formal training, from testing through deployment to end-user support. Because I was hired properly, it's not a hindrance. But sod having to advertise for a "Server 2012 IT Technician" or whatever.
It costs more, because you're not hiring button-clickers. You're hiring people who have a broad knowledge that covers more than the job initially requires. And separating them from the "I once installed Ubuntu" crowd is kind of what the whole recruitment process is about, whatever the OS.
Re: Opportunities for All of whatever Smart Hue
Fuck going to America on a skilled worker visa, most visas don't put you on a path towards citizenship, and without citizenship, you're treated worse than Sri Lankan maids in Dubai.
Friend of mine, working in America for the same company for 5 years, the company and DoHS fuck up his visa renewal, and he gets deported back to the UK in order to renew the visa. Those 5 years, due to his visa type, don't even start him off the road to citizenship. Neither does his baby daughter, legally a US citizen.
Even with citizenship, you're treated like an American, and who wants that?
But but but but but....
... linux is just some niche OS only neckbeards and basement dwellers would ever use!
LOL. The March of the Penguins continues, and we are all richer for it. Especially those of us who work with/on it :)
Re: How Do You Know ?
So Unix is "legacy" and certainly Windows is "standard" ? Muharr.
They currently implement all the long-time features of Unixoid operating systems on Windows server (proper command line, GUIless operation, software installation without reboot and so on).
I hear the Linux admins at Google make top dollar. I hear that (almost) all massive-scale datacenters from Facebook to Eurex (#1 in derivatives trading) are running Linux these days.
Finally, I simply suspect your are here to badmouth anything else than Windows.
From a fanboi to another
Having been accused of being a fanboi countless times here among these hallowed pages I am sure my penguin compatriots and I will be quietly smirking and rolling in the dosh soon.
But seriously, Linux is a natural successor to Unix, which was seen as a multi-tasking, multi-user operating system well-suited for small to medium organisations who could not justify or afford the cost of a mainframe. Having cut my teeth and made a living on it, I am glad to see its return in its present Linux incarnation. As for the dosh - well, I'll leave that to the current generation. I'm quite happy to spend the last phase of my working life in quieter waters accumulating my pension paid for by Windows.
However, agencies please take note - I shall be available for Linux and Unix consultancy services...!