A report on Linux jobs

Interview

Swapnil Bhartiya: The recent Linux Foundation report stated that the contribution by paid developers is increasing. So, does getting one's patches merged into the mainline tree increase the possibilities of landing better jobs?

Marie Louise van Deutekom: Contributing to open source projects certainly helps with your visibility in the market and creates a certain level of interest from commercial open source companies. Isn't it great for an engineer to get paid for what you love doing? And isn't it great if your contributions are recognized by other high-profile contributors? At SUSE, we are convinced that we can make Open Source a truly profitable business model; hence, we pay our engineers. And then the circle is round – we are proud of our contributing engineers, which helps their and SUSE's visibility and credibility in the market.

L.J. Brock: There's a saying among open source developers: "The code talks." What that means is that open source communities respect good work and that's true for Red Hat, too. We certainly pay a lot of attention to and ultimately hire many of the top open source contributors.

SB: In other words, how can a talented developer ensure his visibility for companies like Red Hat? Do you ever pick a "talented" person even if he/she has never applied for a position?

LJB: Yes, we do. If you do great work on an open source project, it's likely that technology companies will notice. That being said, if you're interested in Red Hat, I'd encourage you to get to know some people who work here and apply for a job with us.

SB: What kind of skills are companies like Red Hat and SUSE looking for?

MLvD: SUSE is always looking for a variety of skills, experience, and personality. For example programming skills in Python, Ruby, or Perl are often in demand. But also, experience with virtualization, with OpenStack, or with Software-Defined Storage solutions. And for SUSE, it's important that new colleagues not only bring skills and experience, but fit well in our global teams.

LJB: In addition to the Linux and middleware skills that we are always hiring for, lately, we've been recruiting a lot of people with OpenStack experience to join our engineering, consulting, and solutions architect teams.

SB: If you look at the global landscape, where are most Linux jobs concentrated? Are there some parts of world/some countries where you find more Linux talent?

LJB: Red Hat has 80 offices in 38 countries around the world. In addition, 25 percent of our 7,000+ associates work remotely. We have a large engineering presence in Westford, Massachusetts; Brno, Czech Republic; India; China; and more.

MLvD: A number of our technical roles are concentrated in our main hubs in Nürnberg, Prague, Provo, Utah, or Beijing. However, many of our jobs can be done from anywhere in the world, including home office, as long as the candidate has the necessary skills/experience and is willing to make it work in a virtual global team. That makes our talent pool larger.

SB: As a company, what would be your advice to aspiring developers; what should they focus on to ensure jobs?

LJB: Pay attention to emerging technologies, but most importantly, focus on contributing to the technologies and projects that you're passionate about. When you love what you do, people want to work with you.

MLvD: Follow your dream. Pick an open source project on a topic that really energizes you and look at how others contribute. Then start contributing – start small. These projects can be a great way to learn and earn your marks as a contributor, which will then allow you to turn your passion into a job.

SB: Is there any increasing demand for Linux skill sets? Are you able to get enough candidates?

LJB: Yes, open source has gone more mainstream and so too has the demand for Linux skill sets. While we're fortunate to have many great associates and high interest in Red Hat, we're always looking to get more great talent in the company.

SB: What's creating this demand? And, what is the reason behind a gap between demand and availability of talent?

LJB: There's been plenty of media attention on the need for increased diversity in the technology industry and in open source. I believe we can make big strides in plugging the skills gap by investing in STEM education and promoting inclusive environments in our companies and projects.

MLvD: More and more companies implement an open source strategy and look at Linux as a viable alternative. With the growth in the Linux market, there is inevitably a growing demand for Linux skills. At SUSE we feel that as well. Developing our own talent and hiring talent from the market go hand in hand at SUSE.

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