Demand for Linux Skills Continues to Grow

The Linux job market is “unstoppable” in the eyes of a major annual industry report. Why the demand? Because it’s “today’s defacto choice for everything from open cloud operating systems like OpenStack to product innovations like Tesla automobiles.”

That’s according to the 2015 Linux Jobs report. It’s produced annually by The Linux Foundation. It proclaims those without experience might want to shift their skill sets.

Here are some of the key findings from the report, according to its executive summary:

  • Nearly all hiring managers are looking to recruit Linux professionals in the next six months. With new Linux-based systems, projects and products constantly emerging, hiring the right talent to support all the growth continues to be a priority among employers. Ninety-seven percent of hiring managers report they will bring on Linux talent relative to other skills areas in the next six months.
  • The rise of open cloud platforms is creating even more demand for Linux professionals with the right expertise. Forty-two percent of hiring managers say that experience in OpenStack and CloudStack will have a major impact on their hiring decisions, while 23 percent report security is a sought-after area of expertise and 19 percent are looking for Linux talent with Software-Defined Networking (SDN) skills.
  • Linux-certified professionals will be especially well positioned in the job market this year, with 44 percent of hiring managers saying they’re more likely to hire a candidate with Linux certification, and 54 percent expecting either certification or formal training of their Systems Administrators (SysAdmins) candidates.

Jack Wallen, a Kentucky-based Linux expert and avid promoter and user of theLinux OS, told SearchDataCenter.com, that systems administration is the most desirable Linux skill to have. He said, “Everything will be less platform-specific. It’s hard to specialize on a specific platform, except if you’re a sys admin.”

The SearchDataCenter.com article referenced research by The TechTarget 2014 Salary survey to demonstrate why the system administration skills are so important. It showed only 6.5 percent of respondents spent time on system administration. It demonstrates a need that has to be filled.

The article added, “Everything in the future will be accessible through mobile technology, and those seeking positions in Linux need to develop skills associated with mobile. Linux professionals will retool websites, services and systems to work on mobile devices.”

Apparently, Linux is not just a job – it’s a passion for those in the field. Their love for all things Linux continues to grow, too. “Last year, 51 percent cited a passion for Linux as their primary reason for seeking a Linux career. This year, that number was up to 75 percent,” the survey found. (Granted, this is the Linux Foundation that commissioned the survey and it didn’t share how the questions administered by Dice were phrased.)

The website LinxuxCareers.com explored the issue of whether or not it is worth it, though, to get Linux certification. In a blog post, the site said it all depends on where you are in your career. “For individuals that are either early in their career or new to Linux, it is likely to be more beneficial to attain a recognized certification than to not have one,” the post says.

But, the same benefit may not be there for more experienced workers. “For individuals that do have prior professional experience, the benefits of a recognized certification dwindle based on the amount of experience an individual has,” the article says. It may not make that much of an impact, especially weighed against people with less experience.

Something else to consider, according to LinuxCareers.com, is what certification to achieve to help you. It said Red Hat and Red Hat derived offshoots (CentOS among others) are worth pursuing because of their dominance in corporate environments. It also recommended considering LPI because of its partnerships with both CompTIA and Suse. It said Suse is a good certification for the European Union, which makes your skill set more global, and the certification allows you to “kill two birds with one stone.”

The article makes the good observation that Linux certification is never going to hurt your career chances. It has the advantage of making your skills instantly noticeable. It should, in most cases, serve as an excellent way to boost your career choices.

Keith Griffin
Keith Griffin is an award-winning business writer and editor with more than 30 years experience as a journalist. His work has been published in The Boston Globe, Medical Economist, Good Housekeeping, About.com, the Hartford Courant, CT Law Tribune and numerous other regional publications.