Linux and open-source technologies are hotter than ever

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The Linux Foundation and edX, the leading online training company, released the 2020 Open Source Jobs Report on 26 October. Once again, despite the COVID-19 pandemic, the demand for open-source technology skills is growing. 37% of HR managers say they will hire more IT professionals in the next six months. 

The research is based on data from over 175 HR managers in companies, small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), government organisations and staff agencies worldwide. It is also based on the responses of over 900 open-source professionals.

What emerged from the survey

An 81% of HR managers say that hiring talent with open source technology skills is a priority for the future. 56% expect to increase them over the next six months. 

As other surveys have also shown, most IT leaders said that the most innovative companies use open-source software because they have higher quality solutions, lower management costs, greater security and cloud native capabilities. 

It’s clear that demand for open-source know-how is higher than ever before. 

How high? 

A 93% of HR managers reported that they have difficulty finding employees who are familiar with open-source programs. In fact, 63% say that their organizations supported open-source projects or other resources just to recruit people with these skills. 

However, these are not just companies that are new to open source and are trying to impress potential open-source aware employees. SUSE, which has been a leading Linux distributor for almost 30 years, uses it. 

SUSE’s Director of Human Resources, Marie Louise van Deutekom, said: “SUSE sees contributions as part of our recruitment strategy. It’s great to see how much people really contribute to these communities over time.

“To be successful in an open-source organization you need to be reliable and accessible. Credibility is extremely important to SUSE. We thrive on transparency and use this strategy when working with our clients and partners”.

Other key results 

The survey also highlighted other current trends:

– The increase in DevOps: DevOps has become the first position that HR managers seek to fill, with 65% of companies seeking to hire these experts (compared to 59% in 2018).

Recruitment is declining, but not completely halted, due to COVID-19: despite the pandemic and economic slowdown, 37% of HR managers say they will soon hire more IT professionals.

Online training gained popularity during the COVID-19 era: 80% of employers now say they provide online training for employees to learn open-source software, compared to 66% two years ago.

Certification is becoming increasingly important: 52% of HR managers are more likely to hire someone with a certification, compared to 47% two years ago. Many even seem willing to pay for employee certifications: 74% of employers are willing to do so.

Cloud technology is a widespread phenomenon: knowledge of open cloud technologies has the most significant impact, with 70% more likely to hire a professional with these skills, up from 66% in 2018. 


The high demand for DevOps pushed the demand for developers to second place (59%) for the first time in the history of this survey. Engineers remain the third most requested role, with 56%, followed by architects with 41%. 

Sysadmin saw a massive drop from 49% in 2018 to 35% today. This is probably due to the fact that they are moving from their traditional server-oriented jobs to the broader role of DevOps. 

At a glance

“2020 has been a difficult year for all of us, but it is encouraging to see that open source continues to provide abundant opportunities,” said Linux Foundation Executive Director Jim Zemlin. “The Linux Foundation and our members will continue to work to provide technological advances that benefit everyone, while striving to make open-source educational opportunities more accessible.

In fact, over the past year, the Linux Foundation has launched many new courses on Linux and open-source. This includes a Cloud Engineer Bootcamp, a new entry-level IT certification and an Advanced Cloud Engineer Bootcamp.

Even in these challenging times, many companies are looking for people who know how to use Linux and other open-source programs. Perhaps it is still difficult to get a job in these fields today as many companies are still recovering, but this will change in the future.