This is a contributed piece by Clyde Seepersad General Manager of Training at The Linux Foundation
Open source careers may be even more in demand in Europe than in the rest of the world, according to newly analysed data from the 2016 Open Source Jobs Report. The findings are the latest indication of just how strongly demand for skilled open source professionals is growing – and they once again turn the spotlight on the struggle many companies face to fill open roles.
The Open Source Jobs Report was released earlier this year by Dice, the leading career site for technology and engineering professionals, and The Linux Foundation, the non-profit advancing professional open source management for mass collaboration. It analyses trends for open source careers and the motivations of professionals in the industry.
Now, the findings have been broken down to focus specifically on European open source professionals – and how they compare to their counterparts around the world.
Europeans, it turns out, are even more confident than their global counterparts in the open source job market. Of over one thousand European respondents, 60 percent said they believed it would be fairly or very easy to find a new position this year – as opposed to only 50 percent saying it would be easy globally.
In fact, half of the Europeans reported receiving more than 10 calls from recruiters in the six months prior to the survey, while only 22 percent of respondents worldwide reported this level of engagement. While worldwide, 27 percent of respondents received no calls at all from recruiters, only five percent of Europeans said the same.
Companies and organisations know that that they need to establish, build and sustain open source projects; they also know that for such projects to be successful, they must possess a level of sophistication that solicits support from developers. For this they need talent, skills, and experience.
In the light of this, it is not surprising that employers are offering incentives to hold onto staff – in Europe even more so than in the rest of the world. Forty percent of European open source professionals reported that in the past year they have received a raise, 27 percent report improved work-life balance, and 24 percent report more flexible schedules. This compares to 31 percent globally reporting raises, and 20 percent globally reporting either a better work-life balance or more flexible work schedules.
If these findings clearly indicate how much companies recognise the need to attract, recruit and retain qualified open source professionals, the Open Source Jobs Report also highlighted how hard it is to identify the right talent: 87 percent of hiring managers said they struggled to find qualified individuals for their open positions.
One of the biggest problems remains qualification. The open source community operates in a much loser framework than its standard or proprietary software equivalent. In a world where collaboration is the highest principle, careers do not necessarily follow predefined pathways. Benchmarks differ, and the criteria that usually lead HR departments are not as clearly defined. How can a company know that a particular individual is qualified for a position?
Expert training courses and credible certifications have started to play a crucial role in the effort to build a support ecosystem similar to that which has long been the standard for proprietary software – but operating on open source principles.
These courses are accessible from anywhere in the world, and users can start and pause them at their convenience, making it much easier to integrate exercises and exams into busy schedules. They do not only enable employers to identify well-qualified talent with more ease; they also help them to find the best open source professionals out there – and fill an open position with exactly the right candidate.
As certification programmes become more widely accepted, open source professionals are likely to seek them out with more and more enthusiasm. Developers, administrators and engineers will be keen to showcase their skills, grow their expertise, and keep their competitive edge in a market that is only likely to grow.
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