Salary Survey PLUS: A who’s what of Linux IT pros

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This feature first appeared in the Summer 2015 issue of Certification Magazine. Click here to get your own print or digital copy.

Who works in Linux professions?Welcome to the boys club. Most people know that a fairly overwhelming majority of those who work in IT professions are men. The realm of Linux, however, is apparently an outlier even in the gender-skewed IT landscape. A staggering 97.9 percent of those who responded to our survey are men.

Statistically speaking, of course, those numbers allow for the presence of women at, say, a Linux convention … but don’t expect to meet very many of them.

If you have a Linux certification, then there’s also an excellent chance that you’re employed full-time, a condition shared by slightly more than 87 percent of those who responded to our survey. Unemployment is low (just 3 percent), with the remaining 10 percent of survey respondents either employed part-time (6 percent), on sabbatical (1 percent), or in school (3 percent).

Linux pros, it would seem, are not nearly as overwhelmingly college-educated as workers in other IT disciplines. Though we did hear from a tiny contingent who have risen all the way to a doctorate (3.1 percent), most of those surveyed who have some level of university education left college behind after gaining either a master’s degree (23.2 percent) or bachelor’s degree (35.8 percent).

We did find a smattering of two-year college degrees (7.4 percent) and professional degrees (4.2

percent). Perhaps most surprising, however, is the number of folks who either walked away from formal education altogether after high school (9.5 percent), or who finished high school and completed various technical training, including certification, but never attempted college at any level (15.8 percent).

Generally speaking, it would appear that Linux, like the breakfast cereal Trix, is for, well, at least youngish professionals. We heard from a small cadre of 50-something and even 60-something Linux techs, but most of those surveyed (78 percent) are 44 or younger. (Linus Torvalds himself is only 45.)

Though there’s a strong core of Linux pros (19.8 percent of those surveyed) who work at large companies — firms with more than 10,000 employees — we also uncovered an unusually muscular contingent of small business employees. Slightly more than half (51 percent) of all respondents work at firms with 200 or fewer employees.

Whatever your Linux workplace looks like, it probably sees a fair amount of coming and going. Roughly 58 percent of those surveyed have been in place at their job 4 or fewer years, although there is a body of stalwarts: 15.8 percent of those surveyed have worked at their jobs for more than 10 years.

Perhaps above all else, one thing we know is that Linux professionals think Jean-Luc Picard, by a nearly 2-to-1 ratio, is a better commander of the Enterprise than James T. Kirk. And where did that come from? We at Certification Magazine realize that salary and employment surveys are a dry business. To liven things up a little, we did some slightly less hard-edged polling at the end of our Linux survey.

There wasn’t much traction for anyone other than Jean-Luc and James Tiberius. Sisko, Archer and Janeway combined barely got as many votes as “Why aren’t Han and Luke on your list?” And that wry option was doubled up by the choice “Star Trek is for nerds.” If you find any of that amusing, then keep an eye on, where we’ll soon reveal the full results of polling in the Not-So Serious Tail End of the Linux Salary Survey.

 TABLE TALK  Who are the people in your Linux neighborhood? Here what we found out about where Linux pros go to work:

What do Linux people do for a living?

We learned a few other things, too. It’s all available right now in our latest quarterly issue, or you can pull up a virtual chair and settle in here at for the big (and gradual) reveal.

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CertMag Staff


Certification Magazine was launched in 1999 and remained in print until mid-2008. Publication was restarted on a quarterly basis in February 2014. Subscribe to CertMag here.

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