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It’s an odd time in the technology job market these days. On the one hand, the overall job market is doing great — an unemployment rate of 3.9%. On the other hand, big tech companies are still cutting people

Regardless, employers are still looking for Linux and open-source-savvy people. And what are these Linux and open-source-savvy job hunters looking for?  According to the 2024 Open Source Professionals Job Survey Report, it’s not a fat paycheck.

Also: Tech giants hatch a plan for AI job losses: Reskill 95 million in 10 years

Mind you, no one’s offended if you offer a six-figure salary. But this survey, with responses from 544 participants, paints a picture of a workforce that values work-life balance and remote work opportunities above all else. No less than 92% of respondents cited these factors as crucial when considering a new role, reflecting the changing dynamics of the modern workplace. 

“Remote work has become a fixture of the global economy, and it’s not likely to go away,” according to the report, a collaborative effort between the Linux Professional Institute (LPI) and Open Source JobHub (OSJH). “People working in open source are already accustomed to dealing with collaborators over long distances.” 

How true. As many companies try to force employees back into the office, top tech talent are quitting in droves from companies such as Apple, Microsoft, and SpaceX. 

Open-source administrators say working from home is their top priority, followed by work-life balance and professional fulfillment. Curiously, open-source developers — many of whom collaborate with their colleagues over the Internet every day — value remote work third after professional fulfillment and work-life balance. 

Open-Source Admins Job Priorities

Linux Professional Institute and Open Source JobHub

What is professional fulfillment to these folks? It includes networking opportunities and exciting projects. This criterion ranked higher among people actively seeking work or open to new opportunities (67%).

But it’s not just about the flexibility to work from anywhere and networking. Open-source professionals are deeply committed to open-source principles and practices. When making job choices, 89% of respondents valued an organization’s open-source policy. In particular, they want clear guidelines on how they can use and contribute to open-source software. 

Not everyone wants a hard and fast open-source software (OSS) policy. One administrator remarked, “I do not need a written open source policy, but the employer should allow/foster OSS contributions.” Personally, as someone who’s been involved in open source almost since day one, I would want a clear policy. Too many things can go wrong if it’s not spelled out. 

Also: What Linux kernel maintainers do and why they need your help

Training and certification also emerged as key priorities, with 74% of respondents ranking employer-provided training and certification as important in their job choice. This figure rose to a whopping 83% for administrators and 80% for non-technical professionals, highlighting the value placed on continuous learning and skill development. 

And what about pay? According to ZipRecruiter, the average salary for a Linux administrator is  $108,079, and an open-source developer will earn an average of $113,515 a year. Your open-source skills won’t make you rich, but you can expect to make a comfortable living. 

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