If paychecks are any kind of a measure, then people with Linux skills are doing better than most.
The national median annual IT salary is $91,050, or $43.77 per hour, while the national medium annual salary for Linux-certified information technology professionals is $96,750, or $46.51 an hour, according to Yoh Services, a staffing firm that produces its own wage index. The indexes generally focus on temporary wages.
At the request of Computerworld, Yoh gathered data on permanent jobs in Linux-specific occupations that was compiled by Wanted Technologies, which does labor market analysis.
Yoh searched for IT jobs requiring knowledge in Linux with optional skills that included Java, quality assurance (QA), the Microsoft .Net Framework (.Net), Oracle WebLogic, Hypertext Preprocessor (PHP), extract, transform, load software (ETL) and/or Oracle.
When it looked at the national jobs database, a search for IT jobs with Linux knowledge as a requirement revealed the top three positions are Java developer, with 12,300 jobs; systems engineer, 7,400 jobs, and senior software engineer, at 6,850 jobs.
"Android and iOS developers are almost becoming a dime a dozen," said Joel Capperella, vice president of marketing at Yoh. "Linux is still a unique skill; not everybody owns it."
People in their twenties coming out of school "think they are going to make big dollars working for a start-up or developing Web apps, and all of a sudden they find, 'holy smokes, I'm one of thousands,'" said Capperella.
In terms of employers, Yoh's research found that there are 8,000 employers currently hiring for IT jobs with Linux requirements. The companies with the most Linux-related job postings are: Amazon.com, 2,356 jobs; Lockheed Martin, 713; Dell, 679; Northrop Grumman, 569; and Computer Sciences Corporation, 535.
Amazon posted 16,100 IT jobs last year, the most by any one firm.
The Northeast leads in demand for people with Linux skills, Yoh found.
Yoh keeps track of wages in the temporary IT market in its Yoh Index, which is has published since 2001. This index covers a spectrum of IT jobs, and found is that the wages of degree-holding workers and certified technical professionals holding temporary jobs saw their wages rise by an average of approximately 4.4% in 2013. The increase might have been greater had it not been for the impact of sequestration, Yoh said.
Patrick Thibodeau covers SaaS and enterprise applications, outsourcing, government IT policies, data centers and IT workforce issues for Computerworld. Follow Patrick on Twitter at @DCgov, or subscribe to Patrick's RSS feed . His email address is firstname.lastname@example.org.