The Need for Employees Who Think Like Hackers-Or Are Hackers

Lora Bentley

Linux.com reported last week that not all IT jobs are few and far between. One just needs to know where to look for them. The key, according to writer Amber Collins, is to intern while you're still in school for a company where you will actually get coding experience. And open source companies/projects are great places to start.

 

She points to two particular opportunities that provide coding experience to students: Google's Summer of Code and an internship program at leading Linux distributor Red Hat.

 

For this year, the third Summer of Code, Google sponsored 1,125 students working on 175 free and open source software projects. 2005 SoC participant and current Drupal developer/consultant Angela Byron says, "An internship is a nice opportunity for both an employer and an employee to size each other up to see if they'd be a good match. And 'real world' experience will always trump anything you read in a book." And open source work in particular is useful, she explains:

Instead of taking you at your word, your employer can actually look at your code and see its progression from when you first started on a project until now. They can view your interactions with fellow community members and see how you can effectively solve problems in a team environment. You demonstrate your ability to use collaboration tools necessary for serious software development.

Red Hat's internship allows similar opportunities, the story says, for college students, graduates and MBAs. And though an internship or additional certifications can help to open doors, they are not absolutely necessary in every case. DeLisa Anderson, an SVP at Red Hat, says the company hires college students who have demonstrated excellent open source coding skills. The fact that the company maintains a close relationship with the Fedora development community often facilitates such hires.



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