Open source jobs: What's hot, where to look, what to learn

By , ITworld |  IT Management

Albert Einstein said "Imagination is more important than knowledge." And that is why real diversity is essential, because a lack of diversity leads to a lack of imagination. So don't hold yourself back because you don't look like a stereotype computer geek, because you are a woman, young, old, a person of color, a mid-life career changer, disabled in some way, or whatever difference you see when you look in the mirror-- it really doesn't matter. It will matter to some people that you encounter, but they don't count because in reality it doesn't matter.

The advantage for the worker bees, the people designing, writing, and maintaining the code, is having access to a global pool of talent and code. Some of the best minds in tech are in FOSS, and they are not hidden away behind corporate walls and non-disclosure agreements, but are out in the open. You can study their code and read their writings, and sometimes develop friendships. Another advantage is when you're good it gets noticed. An unfortunate feature of corporate life is that all too often, merit doesn't get you anywhere. But in the FOSS world, reputation matters, and good work gets recognition.


Skills that matter

You probably want to know some specifics. What skills? What kinds of jobs? What companies? What salaries and benefits? Are there Ferraris and rivers of Mountain Dew and full-sized arcade game machines? Well, maybe. Let's talk about skills. Adaptability is your #1 essential skill. High tech is a moving target, so you better enjoy continually learning new skills and improving your existing skills.

Coding is the #2 lifetime skill that will never be obsolete. High-tech is just a baby, and is going to grow like crazy for a long time, and there will never be enough programmers. But coding is not everything; it takes a wide range of skills to support any software project. The Linux Foundation is the center of Linux kernel development, and has become a meeting place for both corporate and individual FOSS users and developers. Amanda McPherson, Vice President of Marketing and Developer Programs, notes that:

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