Professionals with experience in open source operating systems are in high demand, according to the annual Jobs Report by the Linux Foundation. The report shows that enterprises around the world are increasingly dependent on Linux in all corners of their business and as a result, are offering higher pay and more perks to attract skills.

”While demand continues to grow for Linux talent, there remains a shortage of experienced Linux professionals on the market. This year’s Linux Jobs Report clearly illustrates this issue,” says Jim Zemlin, executive director at The Linux Foundation.

“This year’s report also shows there is unlimited career advancement for developers and systems administrators who contribute to and seek out learning opportunities for Linux. The future is a bright one for professionals who know Linux.”

MD of South African Linux specialist integrator LSD Sven Lesicnik says the new report confirms what he’s seen in the marketplace.

“Software is essential to any business, not just those which are in the business of software,” he says. “And as budgets get cut or flatline, and IT professionals are asked to do more with less, so companies are looking at the most cost-effective solutions. The major shifts in computing today – including cloud computing, mobile technologies and Big Data – are increasingly underpinned by Linux.”

Lesicnik says that often the only way for a company to remain competitive is to use what it has – its data, its existing resources and its relationships – more effectively. That means using pay-as-you-go computing infrastructure and deploying operating systems and solutions that do not require annual license fees, he adds.

He points out that the future of cloud lies in open source as a result of the economics involved.

“For example, cloud computing requires resources to be automatically allocated, switched on to cope with demand, and then turned off when no longer required. But if the software resources require usage-based license fees, then the model is completely hamstrung from the word go. Small wonder that the vast majority of cloud computing instances run on top of Linux.”

As a result, open source skills are only going to become more important, says Lesicnik, as the world increasingly requires skilled Linux admins to make sure that clouds are built securely, that the technology is being utilised to its full capability, and that the clouds are elastic enough to provide the innovation that businesses are looking for.

The Jobs Report says that more than three quarters of hiring managers of those companies surveyed said that hiring Linux skills was on their to-do list for this year but there’s a shortage: 90% of them said it was difficult to find them. 86% of those Linux professionals who responded said having Linux skills has given them more career opportunities. Nearly two thirds say they chose to work with Linux because it’s everywhere in today’s technology infrastructure.

“This kind of pervasiveness is hard to see from the outside,” notes Lesicnik. “So many technology niches – security, application development, data centres, appliances, Big Data, mobile and telecommunications – depend on Linux but it’s only when you see the demand for Linux skills that this survey shows that you can tell how widespread it is.”