Open source: Career-maker or wipeout?

Is a career focused solely on open source sustainable? Experts predict a wave of opportunities for IT pros with all-open-source résumés -- in five years or so

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These days, you might get passed up for plum jobs in enterprise IT if you have a predominantly open-source résumé. But in five years, even the most traditional organizations are likely to be looking at open source as a career-maker, says executive recruiter David Patterson.

"While we see more and better-paying opportunities in non-open source today, the future is clearly open source," says Patterson, president and senior practice leader at The Kineta Group, a boutique search firm that places SAP specialists at large businesses such as Kohler, Tractor Supply Co. and BMW.

Open source is permeating IT. There are open-source analytics tools, databases, programming languages, storage systems and more. In September, SAP announced Hana Vora, an in-memory query engine that will use the open-source Apache Spark execution framework to deliver interactive analytics on Apache's Hadoop open-source platform. In October, Microsoft said that it was hiring open-source experts to help support Linux and open-source software on its Azure cloud platform. And in July, IBM unveiled a new code repository that "aims to foster collaborative development of enterprise open-source software."

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