Companies still can’t find enough open source skills

The pandemic has accelerated demand for IT professionals with open source skills, and organizations are searching far and wide or retraining staff to fill the gap.

Companies still can’t find enough open source skills
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After a rough year for everyone, IT hiring at least appears to be trending up again for the first time in months, with openings starting to rebound in August and a further 12,200 IT roles being added in September, according to the most recent survey of IT executives by management consultancy Janco Associates in the US.

Despite a backdrop of uncertainty, one thing is for sure: Open source skills still come at a premium in the current market, according to the latest Open Source Jobs report from the Linux Foundation and EdX.

The global report, published this week, showed that 56% of hiring managers say they plan on hiring open source professionals over the next six months, despite the fact that 93% are still having difficulty finding open source talent, up from 87% two years ago.

“Despite an overall economic downturn, having demonstrated skills in open source technologies remains highly desirable for employers seeking IT professionals for potential hire even during these times of uncertainty,” the report notes.

In response to this open source skills gap, organizations are going further than before in up-skilling their existing employees, with 80% of respondents saying they provide online training courses for employees to learn about open source software, up from just 66% two years ago.

Open source skills clearly encompass an extremely broad set of proficiencies, but the report makes clear that as enterprises and smaller businesses continue to see the value of open source technologies, demand for matching skills should only continue to rise.

Drilling down, cloud-native open source skills are the most highly sought after, as the industry broadly continues to shift further in that direction. The report specifically identifies containers, machine learning, devops, Linux, security, and software-defined networking skills as hot areas. Of those, Linux is the most in-demand skill at 74%, followed closely by broad expertise in containers.

As with the IT sector as a whole, there also appears to be a diversity perception gap in open source, with 88% of employers saying they proactively encourage diverse hiring practices, while only 70% of employees feel the same way about their employers.

In terms of actions employers are taking to do better with diversity and inclusion, supporting industry-wide groups and initiatives such as Women Who Code or Blacks in Technology remains the most common at 54%, with actively recruiting underrepresented individuals close behind at 52%. Companies also have increased the levels of diversity training they provide, at 33% of respondents today, and the same proportion are actively sponsoring diversity groups internally.

Other findings include a rising respect for certifications among employers, with 52% of hiring managers saying they are more likely to hire someone with a certification, up from 47% two years ago.

Devops is also continuing to rise, with 65% of companies looking to hire more devops talent than in 2018, when that figure was 59%. This is reflected in the fact that 75% of respondents said they are using some level of devops practices today, up from 58% two years ago.

On the other side, open source developers report being primarily driven by their passion and belief in the value of open source technology, as well as the freedom it affords them and the boost it gives their résumé. The least popular response was money and perks, at only 13%. In terms of job satisfaction, collaboration with a global community was the most cited factor, at 28%.

Copyright © 2020 IDG Communications, Inc.