Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Linux Professionals in Great Demand

Dice and the Linux Foundation have partnered on a survey that shows that there continues to be strong demand for Linux professionals. One intriguing find from the survey is the increase in the level of difficulty in finding Linux talent. We can concur with this finding. There has always been a shortage of Linux talent to some degree, but that appears to have increased as we slowly rebound from the downturn in the economy. I surmise this is due to two key factors. First, corporate adoption of open source software never waned during the downturn. In fact, it probably increased at a more rapid pace. Second, due to the immigration policies in this country, a number of qualified people have either left this country or have been unable to enter. These two factors have contributed to a major shortfall in the number of individuals with the needed skill set to fill these positions.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Good FOSS Job Article

Here is another good article about the open source software jobs market. Carla highlights a lot of the key areas one must consider when looking for a FOSS related position; from where to look for a position, to the areas that are experiencing the greatest growth. Overall, it is a well written article.

Ultimately, the FOSS jobs market is strong at the moment. In the searches we conduct, we are experiencing a shortage of talent for the positions that exist. The number of opportunities are far from the problem at the moment. Thus, when Carla mentions "the sky is the limit", it truly is. Adoption rates continue to climb, and the number of devices that run FOSS continues to increase.

On a side note, the one area where Carla's information is just a little off is salary. We see plenty of positions that exceed the $125K level. Granted, these are senior level positions, but there are a large number of them available. Hopefully, something to just look forward to if you are just getting involved in FOSS development.

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Article on Finding Linux Talent

It goes without saying that we are in an environment whereby the number of positions requiring an open source software based background has outstripped the supply of the individuals with the skill sets needed to fill these positions. As I have heard time and time again, we are currently in a state of high unemployment, while also being in the midst of a labor shortage. I completely agree with this assessment. A lot of that labor shortage falls in the highly skilled areas.

There are many reasons for this; with the two most prominent being the lack of people pursuing a math/science related degree, and the fact that we have done a horrendous job of keeping the quality skilled professionals that are educated here to remain here after their studies are complete. This country was built on immigration, but somehow we have forgotten that phenomenon. Under the current structure, we would rather that person go back to their home country to found a startup than doing it on our soil, even if it is their desire to do so. But, that rant is for another time. We have to deal with the landscape the way it is, and thus we must focus on the best ways to find the needed Linux talent with the hand we have been dealt.

This PCWorld article provides some good insight. Some of the article is purely marketing related; the company/foundation pushing their products, but I am OK with that to some degree. You just have to sift through it to find the substance.

From my vantage point, the two most important points for companies out there looking for Linux/open source software talent are getting involved and being flexible. There is no question that if your developers are active and good participants in the community, it increases your chances of attracting the right talent to your company. Your employees will be more satisfied in their position, and at the same time you are setting up a successful recruiting pipeline.

The other key that I have stressed time and time again is flexibility in the workplace. Here we are in the midst of a challenging recruiting landscape, and yet a large number of companies are still reluctant to provide a telecommuting option to their engineers. I understand that there are instances where telecommuting is too much of a challenge based on the position, but there are still a number of opportunities that do not allow for this option that it appears could. I tend to think it is in each company's best interest to put together the best engineering team possible. In order to accomplish this feat, in most cases, you have to go outside of your immediate geographical boundary. Therefore, get active and be flexible, and the challenges of recruiting open source software based engineers will hopefully ease to some degree.

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Great Series On How To Submit Patches

Throughout the years, I have spent a lot of time writing various articles and posts that encourage people to get involved with open source software. After all, you do not need something particular in your cv/resume that dictates whether or not you can contribute. It is open to all; essentially a survival of the fittest type of mentality.

Once you find yourself in this elite group of developers, you still must abide by certain documented rules to be successful. As a result, I noticed Greg Kroah-Hartman's six part series on "How to piss off a kernel subsystem maintainer". I find it enlightening and somewhat humorous (love the brought to you by at the end of each post). It appears in the latter part of the series that some contributors are now reluctant to send patches to Greg for the fear of providing him material for his rants. Hopefully, that will be short-lived if it is actually taking place. At the end of the day, as with a lot of things in life, there is a certain way to conduct yourself in order to be successful. As harsh as some might think it is, I am glad that someone takes the time out of their schedule to point out these issues. The end result should hopefully be a development process that continues to become more efficient as time goes on.

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Good Info About Contributing To An Open Source Project

On numerous occasions I get asked about the best way to get involved with open source software. First, I ask them where their interest lies. After they reply, I ask them if they have searched for existing open source projects in this domain. Generally they have not, but once they do, they are on their way. However, there is much more to do before you actually become a participant.

This article on Dr. Dobb's site(via a conversation with Brian Behlendorf) provides excellent information on the expectations one should have when they are first trying to get involved with an open source project. As is the case, there are a multitude of steps one must follow to be a successful and trustworthy member of the project. Being a longtime active participant, Brian provides invaluable information to engineers looking to dip their toe in the water. It is a good read for anyone that is looking to become an open source software contributor.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Will New Contributor Agreement Spur More Open Source Contributions?

Just got done reading about the Harmony project via an article on The Register. It can be found here. It will be very interesting to see if the companies with the most open source contributions adopt this agreement. If they do, then it is obvious that it might have legs and become a de facto standard in the open source software industry.

On one hand, I can definitely see the need for something like this. It would be nice to have a standard agreement that everyone adheres to. Seems like it would take out any potential or existing bureaucracy, and thus speed up the process. But, according to the article, there is also some points to contend that relate specifically to Canonical and the way they have written their agreements to date. Hopefully, that can all get hashed out, and we can see if the Harmony project will succeed or not. If it does not, let's hope that someone can point out its failures and build upon it with a revised version.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

As Jobs Come Back, Talent is Sparse

The good news is that the economy appears to be slowly rebounding, and as a result companies have begun hiring again. The bad news, from a corporate standpoint, is that the overall available technical talent is not what one might think given the severity of the recession. This article discusses the challenges companies are facing in their recruitment process. It does a good job of putting it into perspective. A lot of the challenges that are discussed throughout the piece have been experienced by us.

Ultimately, we did not witness a lot of open source software based engineers being laid off during the downturn. Companies realized how difficult it was to recruit them prior to the recession, so they held on to them. As a result, the thought that a search that is conducted today will result in a greater number of qualified applicants is a farce in most instances. With that being said, there are still a number of good engineers that are willing to make a move, but they have continuously been employed. There is not a glut of open source software engineers walking the streets looking for a job.

Even though challenges persist, we are happy to see that hiring continues to increase at a number of companies. The climate is a good one for a talented open source software engineer.