Open-source software may be the backbone of software development, but finding open-source talent is proving to be difficult. In the latest Linux Foundation and edX 2020 Open Source Jobs Report, while 81% of respondents say hiring open-source talent is a top priority, 93% of hiring managers report trouble finding the skills.

The report also revealed the top desired skill sets include Linux, DevOps, cloud and security. According to the foundation, these skills align with the technologies of highest importance to open-source professionals, which are cloud and containers, AI and machine learning, security, Linux, networking, and edge computing. 

In order to address the open-source skills gap, more and more businesses are leveraging online open-source training for employees. Eighty percent of employers reported they now provide online training, which is up from 66% two years ago. According to the report, the increase in online training is due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Certifications are also becoming more important with 52% of hiring managers now saying they would consider someone with a certification. 

“The tactics for dealing with shortages of open source talent continue to evolve. In 2018, the most common response to this question was to continue looking until the right applicant came along, which was employed by 50% of employers. That has dropped to 43% in 2020 and been surpassed by hiring outside consultants (48% in 2020 versus 38% in 2018) and training existing employees to gain the necessary skills, which is now the top tactic in 2020 utilized by 57% of employers (up from 42% two years ago),” the report stated. 

Of the professionals surveyed in the study, 60% reported they wish their employer would cover the costs of certifications. Fifty-four percent of open-source developers find a lack of employer-sponsored training opportunities. However, 74% of hiring managers reported they would be willing to pay for certifications. Other ways hiring managers are trying to acquire and retain open-source professionals include increasing salary, providing opportunities for supporting and contributing to open-source projects, and providing bonuses. 

Other findings included hiring managers want staff who have experience contributing to open-source projects, open-source professionals cite collaboration with a global community as the best part of their job, and 63% of hiring managers are looking to attract talent by having their organization support open-source projects financially or with code. 

“2020 has been a difficult year for all of us, but it’s encouraging to see that open source continues to provide abundant opportunities,” said Linux Foundation Executive Director Jim Zemlin. “The Linux Foundation and our members will continue to work to provide technological advancements that benefit everyone while striving to make open source educational opportunities more accessible.”