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Linux Skills in High Demand as IT Jobs Pick Up

Get 'Em While They're Hot

  • August 12, 2004
  • By Sharon Gaudin

Linux skills are a hot commodity today.

More employers are looking to hire people with Linux experience and skills than another skill sets, according to numbers from Dice.com, a major job board for technical professionals.

Scot Melland, CEO and president of Dice, reports that while IT job listings on his site have doubled in the past 12 months, job listings calling for Linux skills have gone up 190 percent. At this time last year, Dice was listing about 25,000 jobs. Today, there are more than 50,000 jobs listed. And a year ago, there were 860 to 900 Linux-related jobs listed, while there are 2,500 listed now.

"The demand for Linux skills is absolutely growing and it's growing faster than the overall demand for tech professionals," says Melland. "It's definitely one of the hottest skill sets out there."

And employers don't appear to be looking for certifications as much as they're searching for on-the-job experience.

"What's selling is experience," says Melland. "Our customers are really looking for someone who has been there and done that. They want to hire that developer who just did the six-month Linux conversion rather than hiring someone who might have just been trained in Linux. They want the systems administrator who can run those systems that have been converted."

Of those Linux job listings, 70 percent are for developers and 20 to 25 percent are for systems administrators. The rest call for a mix of skill sets, ranging from IT managers to business analysts.

As the economy slowly improves, companies are beginning to look at converting older systems to Linux or building the new systems completely from scratch.

"There are a lot of Fortune 1,000 companies out there that are doing Linux conversions, so there is a bit of a rush for Linux skill sets," explains Melland. "We'll see strong demand and fast growth in Linux for the next couple of years and at that point it will fall back to be similar to other demands."

And as the number of Linux-related jobs grow, so do the accompanying salaries.

The average salary for a Linux-related IT position is listed as $67,000. That's 6 percent higher than salaries in similar IT fields. Contractors and consultants working with Linux can expect to pull in about $87,000 as an average salary.

But it's the steady overall job growth that Melland focuses on.

"The IT job market as a whole has improved remarkably over the last 12 months," he says. "It's really very good news for a lot of tech professionals... We have twice as many opportunities out there and they're good opportunities. A year ago, there were slightly more part-time positions and it's shifting to full-time now."

[Editor's Note: This article originally appeared on the JupiterWeb site Datamation.]

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