Linux Foundation: Latest trends and most-needed skills for open source jobs


The Linux Foundation jobs report shares what recruiters are looking for and which technologies are in demand.

Hiring managers said in a recent survey by the Linux Foundation that cloud skills are what they need most.

Image: The Linux Foundation

Open source is still the leading software development environment for SMBs and the enterprise despite the current economic downturn and pandemic, according to the latest jobs report from The Linux Foundation. 

“2020 has been a difficult year for all of us, but it’s encouraging to see that open source continues to provide abundant opportunities,” said The Linux Foundation Executive Director Jim Zemlin in a press release. “The Linux Foundation and our members will continue to work to provide technological advancements that benefit everyone while striving to make open source educational opportunities more accessible.”

SEE: Top 5 programming languages for systems admins to learn (free PDF) (TechRepublic)

Open source software is continuing to gain ground in the enterprise. A recent Red Hat survey revealed that 86% of IT leaders say the most innovative companies are using open source software. In that same survey, 77% of respondents said they plan to increase their use of open source software in the next 12 months. 

This is the eighth year The Linux Foundation has produced the open source jobs report, and this is the first time the foundation worked with edX to produce it. The last report was completed in 2018. The 2020 Open Source Jobs Report found, “a shift of priorities for hiring organizations towards cloud-native technologies and increasing use of open source solutions despite the severe challenges currently facing businesses and IT pros.”

Desired skill sets

Linux, DevOps, cloud and security are the top skill sets wanted from potential employees. Among hiring managers, 74% say that Linux is the most in-demand skill they’re seeking in new hires.

According to the report, 69% of employers want employees with cloud and containers experience, up from 64% in 2018. And 65% of companies want to hire more DevOps talent, up from 59% in 2018. The report shows that 63% percent of hiring managers want employees who can architect solutions based on open source software. Security is also important with 48% of companies wanting this skill set in potential employees. Other desirable skills are knowledge of new tools, experience using open source development tools like Git, experience running projects already in production, and people who have previously worked on open source projects. 

Most in-demand jobs

In 2018, 72% of companies were seeking to hire developers. In 2020, this has dropped to 59%. The most in-demand job is DevOps, with 65% of companies wanting to hire for this role, an increase from 59% in 2018. Engineers rank third, at 56%, and architects are at 41%. SysAdmins dropped to 35% in 2020, from 49% in 2018. The report theorizes this is because many SysAdmin roles evolved into DevOp ones. 

Trends in hiring for open source jobs

Additional findings from the report:

  • Among hiring managers, 81% said hiring open source talent is a priority for 2020, and they are more likely than ever to seek out pros with certifications. 
  • 56% of hiring managers plan to hire more open source professionals in the next six months compared to the last six months.
  • 57% of hiring managers said hiring certified professionals is a priority, which is a significant increase from 47% in 2018.
  • Finding sufficient talent with open source skills is difficult for 93% of hiring managers, up from 87% in 2018. 
  • Among employers, 57% say that training existing employees to gain necessary skills is the top tactic used in 2020. 
  • 70% of hiring managers say that employees have requested more open source training this year, compared to 64% in 2018.
  • 60% of professionals surveyed would like for employers to cover the cost of certifications, up from 47% in 2018.
  • 74% of hiring managers are willing to pay for certifications, up from 55% two years ago.
  • 88% of employers say their company proactivity encourages diversity, up from 79% two years ago. Among employees, 70% feel their companies are making an effort to encourage diversity, an increase from 60% in 2018.
  • 52% of companies surveyed say they actively recruit underrepresented individuals, an increase from 46% in 2018. 

Why open source is so crucial

Adam Medros, edX president and co-CEO, said open source professionals are key to tech advancements around the world. 

“We hope that the information in this report gives open source professionals a clear picture of the industry to inform their decisions around joining and creating teams, and informs organizations’ decisions around training and investing in their workers,” Medros said in a press release.

As with the last three Linux Foundation reports, the focus is on all aspects of open source software; the first four reports focused more specifically on Linux professionals.  

Survey methodology

edX and The Linux Foundation surveyed hiring managers and open source professionals from July 28 to Sept. 3, 2020. Hiring managers from corporations, SMBs, government organizations and staffing agencies were surveyed. More than 175 hiring managers responded. More than 900 open source professionals responded to a survey, with 74% indicating they’ve been working as an open source professional for three years or more. 

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