Dowsing Linux jobs and skills

The Linux Foundation has one answer to this question: where are the Linux gigs?

Where are the Linux jobs? The Linux Foundation has new information to answer that question, though it should not be taken as the only answer.

The Foundation, perhaps picking up on the current under-thread of jobs in the open source community, will be releasing an infographic snapshot of Linux Job Demand tomorrow. "The data is sourced from our Jobs Board and provides some indicators for the Linux jobs space as we head into 2012," said Jennifer Cloer, Director of Communications & Community.

Looking at the infographic provided to media on Monday, there are some interesting gems of information here, but one big whopping piece of information that must be qualified.

The second section, Linux Jobs by Location, seems to infer that if you want to get a Linux job, you'd better live in the U.S. Being in the U.S., this would seem to me to be a good thing. However, while it may be true that there are more Linux gigs in the United States, I would not want to take that from this particular infographic. The reason is simple: these results are from's job board, and is a U.S.-based, English-language web site.

Because of this, I would imagine that most of the people who advertise positions on are from the U.S. as well. The absence of data from India and Japan, where Linux is a significant player in the government and industrial sectors, respectively, is very telling at the geo-bias of this data.

Again, it could very well be that there are more Linux careers available in the United States, but I would take this particular figure with a huge grain of salt. And watch out for any FUD that decries Linux as a tool of the American technoglomerate or crows about the lack of Linux occupations in outside of the nations listed in this infographic. I'm sure someone's already cooking up something like that.

The rest of the infographic is more useful, though the data should be taken with this context in mind, too. But the information that is less geo-centric is indeed very interesting. I wasn't surprised, for instance, that developers still outnumbered sysadmins, by 53 percent to 47 percent, respectively.

I was initially surprised that Java was the most referenced skill area, even over Android and C++. But then when I thought about it, it seems that Java is everywhere you look these days, even if it isn't called Java (such as Red Hat's Ceylon language and Android's Dalvik virtual machine). This also seems to enforce the notion that Mono--and C#-- development is falling more out of favor on the Linux desktop.

We can probably take away the U.S. state information with some confidence, given the origins of the data. But it is nothing terribly illuminating--the highlighted states are where most of the tech jobs (and the larger Linux vendors) in the U.S. are typically found. That in itself may be telling: Linux is quite well-received in areas where technology dominates.

Overall, the snapshot provided by the Linux Foundation is just that--a snapshot. I would be interested to see a longer view of the same data, which incorporated more international sites. Some hard numbers might be useful as well, since we have little idea from this infographic how many actual positions are being referenced.

Hopefully, this will get the conversation going about the global Linux job market and let us see the bigger picture soon.

Read more of Brian Proffitt's Open for Discussion blog and follow the latest IT news at ITworld. Drop Brian a line or follow Brian on Twitter at @TheTechScribe. For the latest IT news, analysis and how-tos, follow ITworld on Twitter and Facebook.

ITWorld DealPost: The best in tech deals and discounts.
Shop Tech Products at Amazon