Need a new tech job? Learn Linux

I grew up dirt-poor in the middle of West Virginia on my grandparents' stories of the Great Depression. We're not even close to being that bad yet. But, when it's you without a job, when you're not able to draw a paycheck, that's cold comfort. One ray of light in this misery economy though is that there are still some Linux jobs.

So it is that the Linux Foundation, the nonprofit organization dedicated to Linux's growth, has announced the Linux Foundation Training Program. According to the Foundation's press release, "It will kick off with courses taught at the Linux Foundation's Annual Collaboration Summit April 8 - 10, 2009 in San Francisco."

The Foundation explains that with the Linux server market predicted "to reach $50 billion dollars in three years, and the embedded and mobile Linux markets continue to explode," it's a good time to move your career to Linux and open source. Citing the freelance marketplace Odesk, the Foundations reports that the number of Linux-related jobs posted on its boards has increased more than 1400% since 2006.

In a statement, Jim Zemlin, executive director at the Linux Foundation, said, "We've received consistent feedback from companies worldwide that the rising number of Linux deployments is putting new demands on a talent pool that needs more Linux-related developers."

I can believe that. On LinkedIn, the social network for business networking, I see a constant flow of Linux and open-source software job offerings.

What the Foundation is doing is providing "the tools for a new generation of programmers," by offering "vendor-neutral, technically advanced and built in conjunction with the actual leaders of the Linux development community themselves. The Linux Foundation training classes will give attendees the broad, foundational knowledge and networking needed to thrive in their careers today."

The Foundation's announcement also mentions what I think is the most important element of all: the "training classes will give attendees the broad, foundational knowledge and networking, needed to thrive in their careers today." The italics are mine.

What you know and how well you know is always important. But, in times like these, knowing who needs those skills, good old fashioned networking, is more important than ever. As my friend and long time writer and editor, Esther Schindler, all too aptly puts it, "HR people exist to eliminate resumes, not to find people." Amen sister!

The Training Program first classes will be Essential Linux Device Driver Development Skills; Creating Applications for Linux; and Kernel Debugging and Performance. Students who register for these first Program offerings will get an automatic attendee pass for the Collaboration Summit. If you go, for better or for worse, you'll also get a chance to network with yours truly. For more details, check out the Linux Foundation's Training page.

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