back to article Open-source skills best hope for landing a good job

In the midst of a weakening global economy and rampant uncertainty as to when the recession will lift from North America and Western Europe, one thing is certain: open-source technology skills may be the best hope for landing a good job. As reported by The Wall Street Journal, open source claims five of the top 10 keywords in …


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  1. Steve Loughran


    If you look at the graph, Windows & .NET dominate; sharepoint is growing about as fast as the OSS technologies, and it's bigger. Makes it hard to conclude that OSS-skills are what you need. A breakdown of skill by region/company type would be interesting: is it the enterprises that want (windows, sharepoint, oracle) while its the startups that want OSS? I wouldn't conclude that immediately, as if you do search for Hadoop, you get a mix of web companies, telcos, media companies and others, implying its a tool that fits a role in organisations. It's just not an end user tool the way shareporint is

  2. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Rampant Sexism

    Somehow I suspect she in the pic would have no trouble finding a job if she were even half good at something.

    As well as Open Source skills having some people skills and not being a social lepper would really make a difference, sadly there are a lot in our industry who just don't. I've interviewed them, I've rejected them and hired the guy who could string a sentence together and pull a smile instead.

    1. alwarming
      Paris Hilton

      That picture did offfer a tip to she-techs..

      or rather 2 tips.

  3. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    did they find an open source for that stock pic? sorry a second look, it appears she's a left handed creative.

    1. deadlockvictim

      indeed, where?

      It looks as if she hasn't a clue what she supposed to be doing.

      I suppose that there were vacancies and the Dominic Connor of stock pictures went with someone vacant. She had a well-spelt, nice-looking CV.

      She looks as if she needs to attend the DigiGirlz camp:,r:0,s:0

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Oh dear. Did some person sans penis pip you at the post? Pity.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          She could pip my post any day

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      > it appears she's a left handed creative

      She can't be a creative; there is no coffee machine in the picture.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        white buttoned shirt computer

        The keywords to use at shutterstock.

        1. J-Wick
          Thumb Up


          She looks like a total ditz, unfortunately. Oh well.

          Thumbs up regardless :)

  4. jake Silver badge

    "job postings" and "jobs available" aren't synonymous.

    The former exists to keep HR running, thus helping keep the HR droids in a paycheck.

    The later doesn't really exist anymore, not in IT anyway.

  5. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Ten years ago

    Ten years ago a friend of mine embarked on his red hat certification while I embarked on the microsoft certification. He has been sporadically unemployed while I have been employed throughout. He is the 'CTO' of a company that is pretty much him and a couple of ruby developers, they scratch by just about on the verge of bankruptcy; I work for a major storage vendor and do OK for myself.

    I concentrated on the commercially viable stuff first and then added the rest later.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      What a terribly, insufferable prig you are about your supposed friend's career choice!

      To use a poor and oft misquoted Tennyson snippet, "Tis better to have tried and failed, than to have never tried at all.".

      1. Mark 65

        'Tis not better to have tried and failed if one has a mortgage and family to provide for.


      A tale of two monkeys...

      it sounds like the Redhat guy chose his path. There are certainly enough Corps that hire Unix people that he could have a nice cubicle job if he really wanted one. Chances are that he doesn't like the Fortune 100 life. I could certainly understand it if he does not.

  6. Anonymous Coward

    As a recovering Microsoftie

    I have to say FOSS is a breath of fresh air.

    Example: SQL Server comes on a DVD, can take almost an hour to install, requires service packs & updates, and costs thousands of dollars for the privilege. MySQL does 99% of what MS SQL does, in a 30MB download and a 5 minute install - for free.

    It isn't really about the cost (a few grand in license fees can work out to only a small fraction of labor costs), it is more a question of when simple & cheap beats powerful but bloated.

    1. Frank 2


      That's why we use DB2.

    2. Lee Dowling Silver badge

      This is my experience too.

      I work in schools and I feel a surge of pain every time I am asked to buy a license for something like SQL Server or Windows Server for some job that could more easily be done some other way (not just monetary, but technically too). Our fax server is a Linux machine running OS software for the task. Our IM server is a Linux machine running OS software for the task. Our web filter is a Linux machine running OS software for the task. Our firewall, our file storage server, our intranet, our website, some of our databases, our network scanning, our print management, our offline backups, etc. If I bought a Windows server for each task (and I would need 2-3x as many Windows servers as Linux servers at best anyway - all that runs off ONE machine that's doing a lot more besides) I'd spend thousands and thousands just on licences. When you *need* high-powered SQL, then it's worth paying for it. When you don't (e.g. your own website, intranet, other menial tasks etc.), then a MySQL instance is more than enough (and some would say even too much!).

      The proprietary access-control software that I installed in work uses the FireBird SQL server - it's like SQLite and designed for use in programs running on all OS. Everything it does is queriable via SQL using the appropriate standardised tools but it saves in a simple small backup-able file on your normal filesystem (and thus you can easily backup, restore, have multiple installs, etc.) and is ideal for small database installs on Windows (or even Linux - it has Linux tools and the above Linux server queries the access control system every 30 seconds or so to make a primitive In/Out board). Firebird takes literally seconds to install from scratch. We really *don't* need an installation of SQL Server (or even Express) like the boiler-control software I have uses to store historical boiler temperatures that the software itself won't even let you query anyway but won't install without (and took 2 hours to reinstall after a server crash the other day).

      Sometimes, you know, a simpler, smaller tool is better for the job. You can keep all your fancy grass-collecting drive-on lawnmowers when you only have 6ft of lawn to cut anyway because it's wasteful and unnecessary. If you told people that they would have to pay a licence for the shelves you fit in their house, they'd pop down to B&Q and learn how to fit one themselves. But when it comes to software, they will happily spend hundreds on Windows, hundreds more on Office, THOUSANDS on SQL Server and Exchange (and people to manage it), more on things like WinZip etc. and be no better off than if they'd replaced most of those components with OS software.

      That doesn't mean there aren't places that benefit from that software but the truth is that 90% of small businesses wouldn't.

      Linux as an OS replacement for Windows is a big step, it has to be said, but it's still perfectly viable for servers where you don't CARE because the only people to sit down in front of it and start fiddling with your database internals are going to be technical anyway (and probably don't care what OS it's on). But silly, everyday things don't all need stonking great CAL's for hugely over-complex programs all the time. Seriously, do I *really* need Windows and an SQL Server install to see that my boiler is running a little hot and lower the threshold? No. Do I need it to store the database of people and cards that can access the site? No. Do I need it to run a Mediawiki intranet? No. Do I need it to run most small-business databases at all? No. But people get told what to buy by other businesses and apply the advice literally without thinking. A small office does NOT need an Exchange server (where just a plain email server would do with some basic calendaring software), or a huge Windows Server to store files (when a small NAS box or Linux Samba share would do), or SQL Server for a database accessed by a handful of people (when a small MySQL or even flat-file databases would do).

      And you have to think of ongoing costs. If your system rely on SQL Server, you need someone who can manage it. You also need to keep it running all the time. And you need to upgrade it when the software that "needs" it requires an upgrade. And you might need to install redundant backup servers that can take over that task from others, etc. The costs soon spiral ridiculously for something that wasn't necessary.

      Disclaimer: I spent my entire adult career moving schools from RM to plain Microsoft systems (because, believe it or not, that was a huge step in the right direction) and have spent the last few years slowly migrating a private school to Linux where appropriate. I'd saved them my annual salary in licensing, extra hardware, etc. within the first few months with ZERO compromise of expected functionality, availability, reliability, backup, etc.

      It's not for everything (anyone that tells you that Linux can do it all should be viewed in the same light as someone saying that a screwdriver can be made to do every job for every level of the service sector) but it can surely replace a lot of nonsensical, wasteful uses of technology.

      1. mrweekender

        @Lee Dowling

        I agree wholeheartedly with everything in your post and I too have spent a significant amount of my working life fending off the shite that is known as RM. It's a pity that most of the idiots who were managing the BSF/PFi procurement process, didn't do the same. So yes, more OS please, it's time to stop spending ridiculous amounts of taxpayers money on pointless licensing. It's also time to stop teaching our kids Microsoft clerical skills and start teaching them some proper computer science and programming skills. I am literally sick to the back teeth of the Microsoft bullshit.

  7. Jerry

    Graphs are 'fixed'

    All these are tiny fractions of job ads. Well under one percent to maybe a couple of percent.

    It's all down to selection of search terms by the writer. How about something useful like C++?

    Nope. This is yet another pop-quiz by a totally out-of-touch author.

  8. poohbear

    Forget the tech, I want to work where she works.

  9. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Is surprising

    because if you think about it. Open Source destroys more jobs than it creates. I can elaborate a whole lot more on this topic, definitely think people should think about why Open Source projects destroys jobs before they side completely with FOSS.

    Some FOSS is good. Others are just evil communistic projects that ultimately destroys entire industries primarily because of the lure of Free as in beer.

    Don't get me wrong, Free as in Freedom is good. Free lunch on the other hand is a different issue in this recession prone world.

    Though on the topic of getting a job. Companies really only side with open source projects because of the effect of open standards. Pretty sure there are better ways than to adopt FOSS if you want open standards though.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      "Open Source destroys more jobs than it creates."

      Nope. Free Software, if it has an effect on employment at all, more often than not eliminates the jobs that tied up money for the sake of it. There are quite a lot of positions involving the sales and promotion of proprietary software, plus a few doing the monkey work of servicing proprietary solutions - people whine that "open source is unpolished and needs more tweaking" but fail to acknowledge the traipsing around with installation media, the licence code charades, the "that bloke there is the only person authorised to give the upgrade" bullshit, the call centre with drones reading out the licence codes (such a satisfying job!), and so on - and you can argue that in a modern, productive economy those positions could be replaced by something better.

      Of course, the proprietary software business wants to be as big as possible, just like any other business - it's all about the money going through your business so that you can grab as much as you can - but a modern society should be able to offer more productive employment, and competent decision makers should be able to see that the elimination of low-end menial service jobs (or cushy "I'm a salesperson" jobs) ought to lead to something else.

      Whining about jobs lost in this context is just demonstrating a lack of strategic vision, which is unfortunately the background music featured in the soundtrack of today's Britain, but that doesn't mean people can't try a bit harder to think beyond the knee-jerk idiocy of their political leaders.

      1. TheOtherHobbbes


        marketing and support are orthogonal to software quality.

        I use Creative Suite because Gimp *does not do what I need* when I need a good photo editor.

        I don't particularly mind that Adobe employs sales droids and licence droids and other pigs' bladders. They get a job, and I get a piece of software that 's a useful and fairly transparent tool.

        FOSS *could* have created a truly professional replacement. There's no technical reason why Gimp has to be as bad as it is.

        But there is a political one, which is lack of developer imagination and insight.

        The point about corporate development is that marketing feeds user experiences back to the dev teams, and managers ride herd on both to try to keep products on message.

        If management and marketing are bad, you get disasters - and that's when companies and products die.

        But sometimes they're at least passably competent, and you get mostly usable products - even if they're not particularly innovative ones. And even if they're partly broken.

        Outside the networking space and a few specialised projects that happen to have succeeded against the usual odds, FOSS doesn't get this. The devs mostly *are* the users, and they're too obsessed with solving problems for the sake of solving problems and adding 'cool' features to suit their personal whims.

        Then when something is almost working, too many of them get bored with the final polish you need to get a professional product out the door, and they go and obsess about something else because it's suddenly *much* more interesting.

        Corporate mismanagement has its own failure modes, but can we please stop pretending that FOSS doesn't have failure modes of its own?

        Like Matt Asay, who is his own failure mode. Only a zealot would take data showing that Windows/.NET experience is still kicking the arse of OS in the job market, and try to spin that fact as its exact opposite.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Jobs For The Lads

      Open Source Software creates jobs because it is rarely well built and requires Unix in most cases. Lots of jobs to tweak and administer the sprawling server farms of inefficient bits cobbled together and running under an OS designed to play Space Travel. OSS only looks good when compared to Microsoft or Oracle; who are about as bad and charge you for the privilege. Most of the code I see these days would have gotten my head nailed to a conference room table (during the walk-through- remember those?) 15 years ago; now it's shop standard. And let's not even talk about the poor bloody end-users trying to post their work while debugging the freeware apps dumped on them without regard to functional requirement.

    3. Tomato42

      You lost it with communism.

      I'd suggest using a service model for work and not trying to replicate the MAFIAA model.

    4. LaeMing

      Open Source destroys more jobs than it creates...

      in the (quite small compared to the whole IT industry) retail software sector. [fixed it for you]

      High-street-sold software sales are a teeny tiny part of 'IT' while the really huge bulk of the employment is in software customisation, and small custom software modules from scratch, an area that OSS is rather good at driving.

      Believe it or not, most IT people don't actually spend their days writing operating systems, office suites or database backends, they spend their time modifying such software to suit individual needs of users paying them. This is all quite doable with much of the closed stuff provided you are willing to stay in the supplier's sandpit, play by their rules and don't dare think outside what they believe you ought to be doing with their product. But customisation is an order of magnitude more doable with OSS stuff which gives you access to as much of the whole sand mine as you need (or at least can handle).

      Any company who thinks going OSS will save them having to spend ANY money on IT deserves what they will end up as. Using OSS as part of a long-term strategy to get the most optimised tools for whatever job is to be done at the best price-point, is a far more realistic strategy.

    5. Daniel B.

      Actually, you got it backwards.

      FOSS, even the "commie" GPLy bits create jobs. The consulting sector can now grab FOSS and offer support or tailor-made versions of these products to their clients and get paid for it instead of acting as glorified salesmen for closed & crappy products.

      The GPLy FOSS merely forces you to release the source code with the software.

  10. Uwe Dippel
    Thumb Up


    i think she could make it to my new birdie since El Reg abandoned the Asus Bird using her EEeeePeeeCeeee on the beaches.

  11. Tecstio

    Relative results...

    Now if only the author of this article selected Relative instead of Absolute....

  12. AdamWill


    "one thing is certain: open-source technology skills may be the best hope for landing a good job"

    so, what you're saying is that we're certain that we're not sure about this? excellent!

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