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IT professionals adept at working with open source technology will find some healthy employment prospects ahead. In a report released on Wednesday, the Linux Foundation and online course provider edX revealed that employers are having a tough time finding people skilled in open source, leading them to not only increase hiring in this area but pay existing employees to obtain open source certifications.

For their 10th Annual Open Source Jobs Report: Critical Skills, Hiring Trends and Education, the Linux Foundation and edX surveyed more than 1,900 open source professionals as well as people responsible for filling open source positions.

SEE: 40+ open source and Linux terms you need to know (TechRepublic Premium)

Among the respondents, 93% said they’re bumping into difficulty trying to find qualified people with open source skills. As a result, almost half of the employers plan to increase hiring of open source pros over the next six months. On the flip side, almost three quarters of the open source professionals surveyed revealed that they’d be able to find a new job pretty easily if they decided to leave their current position.

Employers are trying different tactics to retain open source professionals, including higher salaries and bigger bonuses. More than 65% of the open source pros surveyed said that a higher salary would prevent them from leaving their current job. In the past, lifestyle benefits would also be used to try to keep qualified employees. But with the shift to remote and hybrid work, financial incentives are a greater lure.

Paying for certifications is another option for organizations looking to hang onto skilled workers. Some 90% of the employers would pay for employees to obtain certifications, while 81% of the professionals plan to add certifications this year. Among the employers, 69% said they’d be more likely to hire an open source pro with a certification, revealing that prior experience is less critical as long as someone proves they have the skills to do the work.

With open source projects under strict deadlines, 43% of the hiring managers are training internal employees. But 41% are turning to external consultants, even though it’s a more expensive option. Only 16% of those surveyed said they would delay a project due to lack of sufficient skills, showing that such projects are being prioritized even if they require costly help from outside.

Among the open source skills desired in an employee, cloud and container technology is the one most in demand this year as 29% of the employers are looking to hire people with these talents. This demand fits with the 68% of companies who said that their use of the cloud grew over the past year. Linux skills are also needed in open source professionals given that Linux enables much of cloud computing.

Of course, cybersecurity is also always in demand. Security skills are the fourth area desired among open source pros, behind the cloud, Linux and DevOps. Among the professionals surveyed, 77% said they’d benefit from further training in cybersecurity, showing that more work is needed to effectively protect an organization’s assets.