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 Linux Remains a Recession Proof Niche --

Linux Remains a Recession Proof Niche
by Andrea Cordingly for the OPINION/EDITORIAL section.

Readers of this article were also interested in: IT Job Ads Gone Mad

In this article, Andrea explores some of the most recent Linux job postings and determines that Linux is a very good niche to be in during these economically strange times.

Few people still live in a fantasy bubble where the problems with economy have eluded them. Each conference I attend, and each meeting I sit, there are people talking about the latest cuts, a cousin who just got laid off, an unexpected bill that caused stress, etc.

So why is it that when I attend Linux meetings, or sit in a conference room surrounded by Linux administrators I feel a geeky air of optimism?

Instead of fishing around for qualitative answers, I dove right in and began to investigate just what the jobs market looks like for Linux professionals.

What I found was surprising, even to someone expecting Linux to fair well in tough economic times.


1. Linux has expanded at a high rate over the past few years, with recent expansion even within Government organizations and the military.

2. Linux is recognized as a cost saving device among larger corporations that are trying to cut back on hardware costs.

3. Linux administrator positions continue to be approximately 25% of the total Linux related job market.

Those are the high level conclusions made from a cursory evaluation of 10 IT job websites in the US and Canada, UK, Australia and New Zealand.

Linux is certainly a recession proof technology as its use consistently expanded over the past three years. The positive news is that a number of the job listings I saw were for "mid-level" Linux administrators, not just for highly experienced or software engineers.

Moreover, in speaking with some IT managers, Linux proved to be a catalyst for reducing some hardware related costs while also increasing performance/administration efficiency.


In the United States, reveals 4,981 job listings for Linux (at the time I am writing this article), with 1,722 new postings placed this week.

Removing more vague "Linux" jobs postings and explicitly finding "Linux server" roles, I find that currently there are 2,068 job listings with 722 posted this week.

Although software development remains one of the main roles for Linux experienced technical staff, there is an increase in the number of Engineering specific roles.

These numbers have been nearly consistent over the past year.

IT specific websites like currently list over 1,373 "Linux administrator" positions. Interestingly those with Linux experience for other roles expand the job listing to 7,742 positions.

Obviously, the Linux platform has expanded sufficiently to now make Linux a requirement for numerous software engineering roles.

Another frequently used IT job site in the United States, lists 2,156 Linux related jobs, with numerous administrator specific positions.

In the UK as well as Australia and New Zealand, there is a similar picture. The popular website currently lists over 600 Linux specific jobs.

Other UK related job websites also list several hundred Linux positions, including sites like and with over 500 Linux related positions currently posted.

The big job website in Australia,, currently lists 916 Linux related positions, with over 160 specifically for server administrators. The seek site in New Zealand also posts 90 Linux specific positions, which for a nation of 4.5 million is actually a positive ratio. However, most of the roles in New Zealand are related to software development roles as opposed to server administrator specific roles. as well the Seek job search engines now span internationally and display similar ratios with regard to Linux roles. Australia's CareerOne lists 136 Linux roles today.


After review, it appears that some of these postings are b.s. and overtly placed to cover someone's legal requirements rather than offer a legitimate role to those with qualifications.

However, a significant number of the roles included key words such as: urgent, or immediate hire. Others have been on display or re-displayed several times over the past few months indicating a primary need.

Unfortunately, Linux remains a niche in many countries, where especially government jobs (which I did not research for this article) remain elusively engrained with Microsoft explicit products and servers.

The real positive is that while other related IT jobs have subsided over the past three years, including Microsoft Server roles, Linux administrator roles have continued to be available at similar levels.

When assessing the type of IT skills beneficial for potential jobs, having Linux background or expertise absolutely opens more doors. In fact, many of the "administrator" specific jobs listed required exclusive Linux expertise.

The next step is in ensuring that you can verify or validate that you have Linux experience, and that can come either from a current role with Linux server administration or by getting a Linux certification.


The Red Hat Certified Engineer (RHCE) remains the leading and most recognized validation of Linux expertise. With numerous jobs explicitly requiring or noting this certification.

However, more and more jobs also list:

  • LPI Certification levels 2 and 3
  • CompTIA Linux+
  • Red Hat Certified Virtualization Administrator (RHCVA)
  • Red Hat Certified Technician (RHCT)

The door can also be opened if you have used Linux in a business environment for 2 or more years, with many jobs indicating that level of experience.

This is especially good news to those who have been working with Linux for years, so long as they can verify their roles are Linux related.

In the difficult economy where competition for jobs in cities remains intense, it is nice to know that Linux experience still carries weight and affords more opportunities.

This brief opinion piece should not be construed as factual information, and only contains the opinions and personal experiences of the author at the time of publication. could not find information in this article that at the time of publication was inaccurate. However, the opinions and personal experiences that have been posted do not express the opinions of and are not endorsed in any way. Linux is a registered trademark of Linus Torvalds. Microsoft and Microsoft Windows are trademarks or registered trademarks of Microsoft Corporation both in the United States and Internationally. All other trademarks or registered trademarks in this opinion piece belong to their respective owners.

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