Jobs have been the collective focus of much of the US population over the past two years. Whether it's keeping the job they have, or finding a new position in a very tight job market, US workers are looking for all the help they can get with employment. It's much the same in the rest of the world, too.
The good news is that, finally, there do seem to be indications that the frozen job market may be thawing, particularly in IT.
That's the indicator from analysts at IDC, who are estimating that the IT sector may see as many as 1 million new jobs in the US over the next four to five years, according to a January 7 story from NPR.
The Bureau of Labor and Statistics (BLS) is a little less optimistic, but the trend is still upwards: in 2008 there were 2,997,000 IT-related jobs, and by 2018, the BLS projects 3,115,000 jobs in the same sector, a 3.9 percent increase.
That may not seem too bright, but there are some jobs that will be more in demand than others. The same BLS report highlights an increase of 34 percent in software development positions over the same period. Several analysts have also pointed to data that Linux and open source professionals will be in high demand in the near future, too, as more businesses look to new solutions to improve their IT bottom lines.
Whether you take the optimistic or pessimistic path, one thing is agreed upon by most analysts: 2010 will be a bumpy start to the inevitable climb in IT jobs, as the US economy struggles to reset itself after a deep recession.
Knowing all of this, the Linux Foundation (LF) is trying to help fill the knowledge gap for Linux and open source workers. Last week, the non-profit group announced a new feature on Linux.com: a Jobs board aimed to help Linux and open source IT workers track down open jobs throughout the world.
Working with the JobThread Network, Linux.com hosts global job listings that job seekers can browse and search through and ideally find the best fit, all free of charge. Employers can post directly to Linux.com or to the entire JobThread Network, take their pick.
Now, this week, the LF is expanding another program: their online and on-site training for Linux professionals. This expansion is primarily in the form of a new free webinar series that will kick off on March 1 with Jon Corbet's "How to Contribute to the Linux Community" seminar. This is not a new presentation, as many attendees of Corbet's programs at various Linux events can attest. What is new is the fact that anyone who signs up for the webinar will be able to watch it free of charge.
This is just the first of a series of seminars that will include:
- “An Introduction to Git,” by kernel maintainer and TAB chair James Bottomley
- “Linux System Troubleshooting and Tuning” and “Linux Administration 101,” by Linux author and community manager Joe “Zonker” Brockmeier.
- “A Linux Filesystem Overview,” by kernel developer Christoph Hellwig.
- “Btrfs: An Intro and Update” to the new file system for Linux, by project lead and TAB member Chris Mason.
- “Linux Performance Tuning,” by kernel and ext4 developer Ted Ts’o.
And that's just the icing on the cake. The webinar series is designed to give Linux end users and developers a look at all of the rest of the Linux Foundation's training offerings, now published in a new Winter/Spring 2010 course catalog, which highlights all of the courses the LF is offering for the first half of the year, including sessions co-located at LF events and sessions companies can have delivered on-site.
Much of this fits very neatly with the LF's stated goal of promoting Linux, and these sorts of offerings are certainly timely as IT job growth is predicted to rise moving forward, and Linux job offerings have reportedly already risen as much as 80 percent since 2005.
It will take time to see how this program pans out. My hope is that the LF can work with existing certification programs or build its own certificate system that will enable participants to carry even more on their resumes.
Author's disclaimer: Until Jan. 22, I was Community Manager for the Linux Foundation. I was not, however, actively involved in either of these programs.