Growing Linux popularity leads to job opportunities

ITworld.com |  Operating Systems

As Linux continues to muscle its way into the mainstream, Linux professionals are in
more demand than ever. A quick search on the venerable job board Dice.com reveals an
incredible 6,910 jobs (full-time, temporary, and contract) whose descriptions include
some mention of Linux; the first listing to appear on my screen was a call for a Linux
engineer, that promised $100K+ and stock options. "Companies just can't hire Linux
programmers fast enough," said Melissa London, spokesperson for Linux vendor Red
Hat. "People with skills and experience in Linux are becoming more and more
valuable."

Demand for Linux

Only a few years ago, Linux was relegated to the backwaters of technology -- it was
considered a hobbyist's OS, at best. But all that's changed, and quickly. "Most of the
major hardware vendors and software vendors have some sort of Linux division," said
London. "They need to hire engineers with that kind of experience."

"You're just seeing the tip of the iceberg," said Evan Leibovitch, director of
marketing at the Linux Professional Institute, a grass-
roots community effort created in 1998 to grant certification to trained professionals
within the Linux community. "I believe as of right now there are about 160 training
centers that are targeting LPI certification within their courses, and there's a number
of companies working on books that will allow people to do self-study towards LPI."

Certification

Certification programs present an excellent way to get up to speed on a particular
technology quickly. Most of these are vendor specific, and, in a matter of a few
months, you can have MCSE (Microsoft), CNE (Novell), CCNA (Cisco), or several other
groups of letters appended to your name. Although Linux isn't produced by any one
company, there are still certification options. LPI, for example, offers independent
testing to certify individuals for Linux system administration. Although LPI itself
does not get involved in the training process, it does work with several different
training organizations, and the LPI exams are delivered through href="http://www.vue.com">Virtual University Enterprises, which has a network of
over 2,500 testing centers around the world.

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