Demand Grows for Linux Pros

    Demand for Linux professionals only continues to increase, according to a joint survey from Dice and the Linux Foundation.

    In all, 850 hiring managers and staffing agencies were polled, as well as more than 2,600 Linux professionals worldwide.

    Among the key findings: 93 percent of hiring managers said they will hire a Linux pro in the next six months, up from 90 percent who said so a year ago. In addition, 90 percent said finding Linux talent is difficult. Meanwhile, 75 percent of Linux professionals said they had received at least one call from a recruiter in the past six months.

    Systems administrators are the most sought-after Linux pros (by 73 percent), with the cloud and Big Data driving enterprise demand. Those who understand embedded development and Linux kernel architecture also will be heavily recruited in 2013. Fifty-seven percent of respondents said they will be looking to fill positions for Linux developers to create new products, devices and applications to power business success. And a quarter of them will be looking to hire those with DevOps expertise.

    Three to five years was the most-sought-after level of experience, followed by those with six to nine years of experience. These IT pros command higher-than-average salaries, which might help explain that. Linux pros nationwide make on average $90,853, compared with $85,619 for tech pros overall. And those salaries rose by 9 percent, compared with a 5 percent jump in tech salaries overall.

    As Dan Olds, founder of Gabriel Consulting Group, explained it to me recently, it’s not so much about knowing Linux — or UNIX or Windows, for that matter – but gaining skills in a mix of them because enterprises increasingly operate in hybrid environments. Though Linux is growing, he argues that UNIX isn’t going away.

    In an evaluation of skills for which companies are willing to pay a premium, database skills topped the list, rising 14.8 percent in 2012, despite a dip in the fourth quarter, according to Foote Partners. Operating system skills, meanwhile, grew in value by 8.6 percent in the quarter.

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