Regardless of the health of the overall IT job market, open source is one area of the tech market that's always growing. In addition to traditional areas such as scripting languages and server operating systems, mobile app development, the cloud and big data offer new open source opportunities.
In a turbulent economy and an uncertain job market, open source jobs remain a consistent source of career growth for technology professionals. From scripting programming languages to open source server operating system to mobile applications developers, open source continues to offer opportunities for job seekers.
Shravan Goli, president of Dice.com, offers these statistics based on jobs posted on Dice.com from August 2012 to August 2013:
- The number of available jobs for Python programmers grew 22 percent year-over-year, from 3,578 to 4,360.
- The number of available Ruby on Rails positions grew 15 percent year-over-year from 2,307 to 2,654.
- While the number of available Perl positions fell from 5,025 to 4,880 (a 3 percent decline year-over-year) and PHP positions remained stable at 3,619 available jobs in 2012 and 3,627 available in August 2013, the numbers show a continued demand for open source developers.
Counting on the Community
Goli says that the open source's community approach to development is what makes it so appealing, because it can accelerate an organization's technology development and adoption.
"Ten years ago, open source was all about Linux and Linux-based technologies," Goli says. "Now, with the cloud, social media, big data and analysis, search and mobile applications all maturing so rapidly, it makes more sense for companies to leverage the community effort to accelerate development and deployment," he says.
Having a community of developers devoted to improving the code and continually adding functionality can help businesses shorten the adoption cycle and more quickly leverage new and emerging technologies to their benefit, Goli says.
"Just think how much impact the Cloud, big data, mobile applications, software-as-a-service (SaaS) models have on business. Companies that can quickly adapt and leverage these technologies will reap the benefits much sooner than those who don't," he says.
Open Source Is Everywhere
"When you look at the technology stack, open source is everywhere, from the front-end -- including newer technologies like HTML5 -- all the way into the middle and the backend server operating systems," Goli says. "Programming languages are certainly one aspect that remains in demand, but search technology, the cloud, big data using Hadoop, security - it's everywhere," he says.
Bret Tartaglino, regional operations manager for Waltham, Mass.-based MSP mindSHIFT Technologies, says many of his clients use open source technologies to not only accelerate technology development, but to get around exorbitant licensing costs.
"For organizations with more than about 20 or so servers, it's much more cost-effective to hire skilled open source developers and pay for their expertise than to pay for proprietary software licenses," Tartaglino says. "Since open source software is freely available, you don't have to pay twice - once to buy software licenses and a second time for personnel with the skills to work with proprietary software," he says.
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