Linux Growth Demands Bigger Talent Pool

jzemlin's picture

Today at LinuxCon and CloudOpen we're making an announcement that signifies the natural next step in helping to build a qualified talent pool of Linux professionals worldwide: The Linux Foundation Certification Program.

We sought to create a new Linux certification program that is innovative, highly valued among Linux pro’s and employers and advances the state-of the-art of certification exams. We think it's a different approach to testing and can help advance Linux by bringing more Linux talent into the market. The exams are available anytime, anywhere; performance based with testing in the command line; and distribution flexible.

Let me tell you a bit more about why we believe this is so important. Linux today powers most of the technology infrastructure that runs our daily lives. It is the fastest growing platform in nearly every sector of technology from embedded systems, mobile devices and consumer electronics to the cloud, enterprise server, high performance computing and more.

The result has been a global shortage of qualified Linux pros to support this rapid growth. Linux was the first major open source project to see widespread adoption and today is the largest collaborative development project in the history of computing. We're experiencing today the results of that success and are pioneering a way for employers to assess Linux talent and for that talent to be able to demonstrate their skills. And, we're not talking about their ability to answer questions correctly. We're talking about the ability of Linux professionals to be able to address real-world scenarios in the command line. Make no mistake, The Linux Foundation Certifications are difficult. They should come to represent the best of the best in the Linux job market.

The program comes on the heels of our partnership with edX to launch the first-ever 'Intro to Linux' Massive Open Online Course (MOOC). With more than 230,000 people registered it's among the most popular courses ever on the edX platform. And, for years we've been providing educational information to help increase the supply of Linux talent. We publish hundreds of tutorial, white papers and original research reports; host mentoring programs, Hack-a-Thons, hangouts, developer meetups and a highly sought-after Linux training scholarship program; participate in Google Summer of Code; and provide developer training both onsite and in the classroom, as well as legal training. The new Certification Program brings another, critical element to our work here: Increasing the number of professional, qualified Linux pro’s.

We admit our approach to certification is different.  We tried to make it similar to how Linux is developed: available anytime, anywhere in order to increase access to more people in more places around the world. A webcam and microphone are required and a human proctor monitors the exam to minimize misconduct. Tasks are completed in the command line. This is the real world and Linux runs important systems. Linux pro’s must know how to deal with anything. It’s distribution-flexible. Linux is about choice and everyone has their preference. We’ve started with three of the most commonly-used distribution families and expect candidates to move on to distributions-specific certifications as they get further into their careers.

Ninety-three percent of hiring managers have reported plans to hire Linux pro’s this year. Ninety percent say it’s difficult to find that talent (a five-point increase since 2012). We’re hoping the Linux Certification Program can help increase the qualified talent pool for Linux and support the maturity and growth of the world’s most ubiquitous technology platform.