A recent report by The Linux Foundation found open source talent to be one of the top priorities for recruitment efforts this year, reflecting the growing importance of open source technology for college students looking to qualify for a job in the tech marketplace.

According to the same report, 65% of hiring managers agree that open source hiring will increase more than any other part of their business in the next six months. It also revealed that 79% of hiring managers have increased incentives to hold on to their current open source professionals.

A solid example is SUSE. This company is one of the leading commercial developers of open source technology running much of everything in the cloud, in server banks, and all things computer- and network-related in corporations. SUSE offers incentives to workers, such as opportunities to flexibly work globally, regular hack-a-thons and company workshops, and a creative work environment with a big open community area to support the open source message both inside and out.

The company is seeing an uptick in global candidates that are active in the open source community. SUSE is currently seeking to fill 102 new job openings. The jobs in highest demand include the following:

  • OpenStack Developers
  • Software Engineers for Distributed Storage
  • Docker CI Specialists
  • Senior Linux Developers

What skills does this open source giant find valuable besides a deep understanding of open source development processes? Having proficiency in English, a passion for programming, and an understanding of the obstacles of actual deployment are just a few that will get you on the short list for top job considerations.

In the last decade, open source development has experienced
a massive shift: Once a mostly community- and volunteer-based
concern, the model has since become a mainstay of the IT industry.
Flexibility in accommodating new technologies and speed at adapting
to a changing market have made open source vital to modern companies,
who are now investing zealously in open source and open source talent.

– Executive Summary: 2016 Open Source Jobs Report

Managers Tasked to Hire

The 2016 Open Source Jobs Report shows that companies are hungry for professional open source talent, according to the Linux Foundation. The Linux Foundation, founded in 2000, is a non-profit consortium dedicated to fostering the growth of Linux. It sponsors work supporting the development of the Linux operating system and is supported by leading Linux and open source companies and developers from around the world.

The foundation teamed up with the tech job-recruiting firm Dice. This year’s report focuses on not just Linux jobs, but jobs in the entire open source industry. According to the findings, today’s recruiters are looking for more professional training credentials from job candidates.

Open source software has become an ever-increasing footprint in technology infrastructure and end products. It is important to understand the opportunities and challenges associated with the overall open source talent market, according to the Open Source Jobs report. Thus, The Linux Foundation and Dice expanded the report this year to examine the broader job market for open source professionals.

“Demand for open source talent is growing and companies struggle to find experienced professionals to fill open roles,” said Bob Melk, President of Dice. “Rising salaries for open source professionals indicate companies recognize the need to attract, recruit, and retain qualified open source professionals on a global scale.”

Key Findings
Jobs Report
Key findings from the 2016 Open Source Jobs Survey and Report include:

  • Open source talent is one of the top priorities for recruitment this year. Fifty-nine percent of hiring managers say they’ll add more open source professionals to their ranks in the next six months. This is an increase from last year’s Linux-specific jobs report, which found that 50% of managers planned to add Linux talent during the same time period.
  • DevOps is among the most sought-after skills in the industry. Fifty-eight percent of hiring managers are seeking DevOps professionals while the need for developers remains the top position on their list at 74%. Open source professionals also feed this trend as 13% of the surveyed identified DevOps as the most in-demand skill today—more than any other category.
  • Networking is a leading emergent technology. As the second most in-demand knowledge area, 21% of hiring managers say networking has the biggest impact on open source hiring. The only higher category, at 51% of surveyed hiring managers, is knowledge of OpenStack, CloudStack, and related cloud technologies.
  • Open source professionals are driven to innovate and collaborate. Only 2% of professionals stated that money and perks were the best thing about their jobs. Working on interesting projects tops the list with 31%, while working on the most cutting-edge technology challenges (18%) and collaborating with a global community (17%) are also high on open source professionals’ lists.

View From the Top

Marie Louise Van DeutekomHackCollege.com interviewed Marie Louise van Deutekom, Global HR Director at SUSE, for an insider’s look at the state of today’s technical jobs.

Hack College: What is driving the need for open source jobs?

Marie Louise van Deutekom: Open Source is a growing industry. More and more users (customers) see the value of using open source technologies. This is driving the need for more jobs in this area. For SUSE, open source is in our genes. We believe that developing software the “open source” way is the best way of developing software. And we’re growing our organization, which offers a lot of opportunities for experienced and less experienced candidates.

HC: Is this job market within the reach of college students pursuing programming skills but without experience?

van Deutekom: It certainly is! As an example, in SUSE we have open positions for experienced candidates, but we also have jobs for less experienced candidates. These latter jobs vary from intern positions to junior roles in programming and Quality Assurance (QA). We offer candidates who have the right basic skills, and even more importantly, the right personality to learn and grow a career in open source and an opportunity to develop themselves. There’s a large number of colleagues who have thus grown their career in SUSE in the past couple of years, and we actively look to continue this.

HC: What path should college students pursue in qualifying for a job in open source?

van Deutekom: It’s important to have open source in your genes. Understand and appreciate the way open source is working. Then get into one or more open source projects of your interest and observe what contributions are made and how. Build your network in the community. Open source is all about contributing. Start small, act professionally.