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Huge demand for (certified) open source skills

With open source now the dominant force in software development, opportunities abound for those looking for careers with strong prospects for growth.

That's the view of Jim Zemlin, Executive Director at The Linux Foundation, who was commenting on the findings of the sixth annual Open Source Jobs Report which features input from more than 2 000 hiring managers at corporations, small and medium businesses (SMBs), government organisations, and staffing agencies as well as open source professionals from around the world.

However, the report contains a clear warning about the type of open source skills that are in demand.

"This year's Open Source Jobs Report reinforces what we have seen the past several years; open source is professionalising, and employers are seeking staff with demonstrable skills," Zemlin said.

The survey found that 89% of hiring managers report difficulty in finding qualified talent with the right mix of experience and skills; and 58% reported needing to hire more open source professionals in the next six months than in the six months prior.

The report also noted that the emerging digital transformation economy included a huge push to the cloud and emerging new architectures such as containers and microservices. This was resulting in evolving range of in-demand skills in areas such as cloud migration, application integration, automation, data analytics and security.

In addition, container technology was growing exponentially, indicating likely future shortages; while increased use of public clouds and software-as-a-service was adding to concerns about ransomware and other malware as well as shortages of security skills.

As a result, employers were prioritising hiring open source professionals with the latest skills. In fact, nearly half (47%) of companies are willing to pay for employees to become open source certified, up from 33% in 2016.

Cloud technology such as OpenStack and Cloud Foundry ranked as the most sought-after area of expertise among 70% of employers followed by Web technologies (67%). For 60% of hiring managers, the most desirable open source skill was cloud/virtualisation, followed by application development (59%) and DevOps (57%).

Demand for Linux talent was also strong, with 65% of hiring managers looking for those skills.

The technologies most influencing hiring decisions were cloud (62%), application platforms (56%) and Big Data (53%) with developer (73%), DevOps engineer (60%) and systems administrator (53%) the most common positions employers were looking fill.

From the professionals' perspective, the ability to architect solutions based on open source software topped the list of what they believed were the most valuable skills to have (77%), followed by experience with open source development tools like GitHub (66%) and knowledge of new tools (65%). They predicted that those with skills in cloud technologies (69%); Big Data and analytics (57%); containers (56%); and security (55%) would be most in demand in the future.

Over 85% of open source professionals believed that knowing open source had advanced their career, and 52% said it would be easy to find another job. Only 27% reported not having received a recruiting call in the past six months.

Half of hiring managers reported that finding certified professionals was a priority; 50% also said they were more likely to hire a certified candidate than one without a certification while 64% reported that their employees were either requesting or proactively taking training courses.

"Professionals who understand which technologies are trending and how to seek out training opportunities will thrive in this new environment," the report concluded.

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