Want to land an IT job in 2014? It helps to be a Linux pro

Joint Linux Foundation/Dice report claims Linux expertise remains in strong demand for 2014, commanding top pay and perks

The Linux Foundation and tech recruitment firm Dice pair up each year to produce the Linux Jobs Report, where around 1,000 corporate hiring managers and 4,000 Linux professionals are surveyed to learn what's been going on in the Linux job market.

The 2014 edition of the report makes clear that Linux is not only an in-demand job skill for IT, but one that commands better pay and more job perks than other jobs in the same field.

The first and most striking claim in the report is how the search for Linux talent has intensified, with both recruiters and Linux pros reporting major activity on that front. Of hiring managers polled, 77 percent have "hiring Linux talent" on their to-do lists for the year (up from 73 percent last year), and more than 90 percent of all hiring managers plan on hiring Linux talent of some kind in the next six months.

The report also emphasized how tough it was to find suitable Linux talent; again, 90 percent of the managers polled mentioned it was either "somewhat difficult" or "very difficult" to find experienced Linux talent. Likewise, 75 percent of the Linux professionals polled claimed they'd been contacted by a recruiter in the past six months, and more than half had been contacted six or more times.

Just saying "Linux expertise" doesn't describe what exact skill sets are in demand, but the report goes into some detail. The most in-demand Linux skills included sys admins, Linux application development, and system engineering.

Some additional detail here might have helped, since "Linux application development" could cover any number of things. Sarah Conway, PR manager for the Linux Foundation, explained the definition of the category this way: "We didn't ask [the respondents] to clarify the types of Linux applications, but we can assume this is largely focused on enterprise apps to support servers and data centers."

To top it all off, the report claims Linux pros can command top salaries and work perks (such as telecommute options and paid training). Around one-third of the employers polled said they are willing to offer such incentives to attract talent, and around 20 percent of the Linux pros polled say they were offered such perks by a prospective employer.

There's little question that folks with IT jobs are enjoying lower rates of unemployment and better salaries than their non-IT counterparts. But not all IT jobs are created equal, and the goalposts move from year to year. Mobile, Web development, and QA testing, for instance, are big draws right now.

Linux, though, counts as its own domain and may map into other domains as well. It's not hard to see how Linux skills are needed for industrial-strength Web development jobs, for instance. But there's little question that demand for pure Linux skills -- the foundational "heavy lifting" of IT -- will remain strong, especially with the growth of related markets like cloud computing.

This story, "Want to land an IT job in 2014? It helps to be a Linux pro," was originally published at InfoWorld.com. Get the first word on what the important tech news really means with the InfoWorld Tech Watch blog. For the latest developments in business technology news, follow InfoWorld.com on Twitter.

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