The open source job market is booming

The many job openings being advertised at OSCON make the convention floor look more like a job fair

Apparently, the notion of free software has not killed off job opportunities in the software space. Open source software is in fact creating numerous job opportunities, if the multitude of companies hiring at this week's OSCON (O'Reilly Open Source Convention) are any indication.

A walk through the convention floor in Portland features numerous companies advertising their need for more people. "This conference in two words? 'We're hiring,'" said conference attendee Tim Bray, the XML co-inventor who now is a developer advocate at Google. "Everybody's got a 'we're hiring' booth." Bray sees it as a symptom of an improved economy and open source becoming mainstream.

When open source software began taking a serious hold on the software industry more than a decade ago, it was feared that the commercial software market would not survive the onslaught of free software. But not only is commercial software software still thriving, open source itself is providing new employment opportunities for developers and others. Companies ranging from music service provider Spotify to educational content provider Wikimedia to online travel service vendor Expedia and cloud vendor Amazon Web Services made known their need for more people to the folks walking around OSCON., which provides online hotel reservations, is looking for developers, engineers, MySQL DBAs, and Web designers. The company notes its use of Apache, MySQL, Git, and Linux. Even a billboard within view of the convention center, posted by Web hosting company HostGator, professes "Do you know Linux? We are hiring!"

Wikimedia, which relies on open source for development and deployment, is mostly hiring in engineering. "There's a lot of work to be done, and we're definitely growing," said Wikimedia recruiter Heather McAndrew. Linux-based Web hoster Inmotion hosting also made known its need for people. "We're are always hiring, especially for tier 1 support reps," said Matt Bell, a consultant at the company. The company has grown from about 25 persons to about 200 people in about four years, he said.

It certainly is a good time to have expertise in open source technologies. The jobs are out there.

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