The most recent reports regarding market shares shows Windows platforms sharply on the decline, while Linux systems are increasingly in demand. Though Linux still stands at just under 2 percent of market shares, the increase over the past year has shown very nearly a full double in gains.
Microsoft has essentially shot itself in the foot, discontinuing the incredibly popular XP operating system, and rolling out version 8, which was woefully inadequate for hard-core users, particular business users. Version 8.1 did little to redeem itself, and version 10 is meeting lukewarm expectations in the marketplace.
But Microsoft’s long list of blunders isn’t the only thing driving up the demand for Linux professionals. Here is why Linux knowledge and experience is increasingly sought after by IT departments and why your next IT service desk hire just might need to be someone skilled in Linux.
Factors Driving Linux’s Newfound Popularity Among Enterprises
Cyber criminals are drawn to Windows like birds and bees to nectar. After all, by developing malware and launching attacks on the system used by upwards of 90 percent of all users, your efforts go a long way. Linux, on the other hand, has seen relatively few cyber attacks, just four serious issues over the past year, compared to the thousands launched on Windows systems. Linux is also considered to be inherently more secure. However, last year’s marquee attack on Linux systems, Heartbleed, is causing businesses to seek workers who come with Linux security expertise.
Also driving the increase in Linux for business is the need for cloud computing and mobile technologies. Both the mobile device operating system frontrunner, Android, and the cloud computing leaders Amazon Web Services, OpenStack, and CloudStack, are all Linux based. Additionally, much of the help desk software developed currently is based on Linux. Linux also offers the potential for cost savings over other operating systems for business, along with technical superiority.
IBM has already invested $1 billion toward Linux development for their Power system, which is on top of their new mainframe rollout, the IBM z13. Experts predict that about 30 percent of all new servers shipped out during 2015 will be Linux-based. Another driver is Docker and Linux containers, though this is less of a factor, cited by fewer than 20 percent of the hiring managers polled.
Number of Hiring Managers Looking for Linux Talent
These developments haven’t escaped the attention of hiring managers, 42 percent of which are seeking more Linux talent than they can find. Ninety percent expect to hire new Linux talent within the next six months, and 70 percent have already upped the incentives they offer to retain Linux talent. Thirty-seven percent are offering incentives like flexible work hours and/or telecommuting options, while 36 percent say they pay more money to their Linux-knowledgeable workers.
In the current environment, it pays to hang on to the Linux-skilled workers you do have, and snap up any you can find on the job market. Hiring managers reportedly give preference to workers who have been through some type of formal training (such as college courses) and those with certifications. However, as talent becomes shorter and the need for Linux business talent grows, it is likely all candidates with proven skills will be accepted for employment.