How to Hire Open Source Talent: Focus on the Community, Says Linux Foundation
Soaring demand for professionals with expertise in Linux and open source is great for people with the requisite skills. But it makes finding the right employees more difficult for companies. That's why the Linux Foundation recently outlined tips for attracting open source talent, which is about much more than the hiring process itself.
Soaring demand for professionals with expertise in Linux and open source is great for people with the requisite skills. But it makes finding the right employees more difficult for companies. That’s why the Linux Foundation recently outlined tips for attracting open source talent, which is about much more than the hiring process itself.
Amanda McPherson, chief marketing officer and VP of Developer Programs, mentioned some things hiring managers should do to make their ads stand out to Linux and open source professionals. Avoiding “recruiter buzzwords that have no meaning” for this crowd, and focusing instead on technical certifications that match the job requirements, is one way to improve success in hiring Linux talent, she wrote.
But most of McPherson’s recommendations involve the bigger picture. To find engineers, developers and system administrators with open source and Linux skills, companies need to embrace the open source community as a whole, according to the Linux Foundation. Supporting open source events and joining open source foundations—like the Linux Foundation or OpenStack Foundation, non-profit consortiums that support work on and help plan road maps for major open source projects—should be at the core of strategies designed to bolster open source at an organization, McPherson wrote.
And it’s worth noting that, according to McPherson, engaging the open source community is about more than money. Supporting open source events or joining foundations (which usually means, at a minimum, providing financial contributions to a particular project) will help raise a company’s profile in the open source world, and therefore attract top job seekers with Linux and open source skills. But companies should go further by encouraging their employees to contribute code back to open source projects. That stands to keep open source-loving employees happier, while also giving companies a bigger name within the open source ecosystem in ways that transcend dollars-and-cents measures.
Ultimately, the lesson that emerges from the Linux Foundation’s tips is that to acquire the right open source talent—which is increasingly vital as open source technologies like OpenStack and Hadoop assume an outsize role in business operations, alongside long-entrenched platforms like Linux itself as a server and data center OS—is not as simple as writing the right job ad. It’s about tweaking the mission and culture of your compnay itself in ways that align with the values of the open source community. That’s the reality that results from today’s high demand for Linux and open source professionals, who have plenty of options when they’re on the job market, and can choose to pursue opportunities at whichever organization best fits their interests and values.