Employers Seek Open Source Expertise -- But You Should Already Know That

The Linux Foundation reports that employers want people with open source skills for jobs more than ever -- which is only natural, given that virtually every company now uses open source.

Open source expertise is in even greater demand among employers than in previous years -- and that's saying something, because open source skills have long been an important consideration when hiring.

The latest insight about demand for open source expertise among employers comes from the 2017 Open Source Jobs Report, which was sponsored by the Linux Foundation. Most previous iterations of the report were called the Linux Jobs Report, but they focused on the same themes.

This is the sixth year that the organization has collected data on hiring trends for people with open source skills.

This year, the report found:

  • 67 percent of managers expect to hire people with open source skills over the next six months at a higher rate than those who will work in other areas of the business.
  • 89 percent of managers say they have trouble finding people with the right open source skillset to fill their roles.
  • 58 percent of managers say they will need to hire more open source professionals in the next six months than they did in the previous six months.

The significance of open source skills in the tech job market is not a surprise. Previous reports revealed similar trends.

The 2016 survey showed that nearly as many managers (87 percent last year, as opposed to 89 percent this year) reported difficulty finding people with open source skills, for instance. The 2015 report found that "nearly all" managers expected to add open source talent to their staff in the six months following the survey.

Why Open Source is Hot

So, while it's news that demand for open source continues to increase, the demand itself is not noteworthy.

After all, open source is everywhere now. You'd be very hard-pressed to find a company that doesn't use open source software somewhere.

Linux distributions power virtual servers hosted in public clouds. OpenStack is widely used to build private clouds. Docker containers are more popular than ever for deploying applications. Nagios and Zabbix are ubiqutous monitoring tools. The list could go on.

The point is that, with open source all around, it's only natural that companies should want to hire people with open source skills.

In a sense, reporting that most companies want to hire people with open source expertise is like saying that most employers want employees who know how to use email. Open source has become so tremendously important that it's a default skill that developers and engineers are expected to have, not a value-add for their resumes.

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