Five open source skills you'll need in 2017 | Top skills IT pros will need to conquer the open source platform
With more organisations opting to either use open source software or open up their platforms, most IT pros will be versed in basic open source practices. However, like most things in tech, the required skills can be subject to change.
According to The Linux Foundation, a huge 87 percent of managers say it's difficult to find open source talent, with 79 percent of mangers increasing incentives to retain their current open source employees.
1. Open source skills for 2017: Open source devops tools
For the last couple of years, devops and automation have begun to shape the way IT teams approach certain tasks with businesses looking to open source devops tools. Some argue that there can be no devops without the open source platform.
The open source community can provide a technical framework needed for the successful implementation of devops but according to Shawn Powers, it should not be thought of as the latest big thing anymore.
"I think finally the big devops craze has gone away, in that it's just become a ubiquitous part of IT. It's no longer 'the' thing, it's just the way that we do things now," said Powers.
"Tools will keep changing and improving, In a devops world I see us going from just configuration management with [open source tools] like Puppet and Chef to orchestration, where now we're managing the management of all those machines. It's going to grow. It's not going to stagnate but it's not new.
"I'm not saying devops isn't important but I don't think that's going to be our buzzword," he added.
Read next: 10 devops tips for IT pros
2. Open source skills for 2017: Security
Security skills will continue to be in high demand in 2017. This will be particularly felt in relation to open platforms which can be accessed and edited by anyone.
"When we think of the internet of things, where all of our devices are beginning to get connected, so approaching all of those integrations with security at the forefront is so crucial," said Powers.
"Security is going to be really key and not just hiring security experts but in everything that we're doing in IT. We're going to have to do in a secure way," he added.
3. Open source skills for 2017: Software development
The lines defining what it means to be a developer are blurring and this should continue into 2017. Businesses will expect well-rounded IT pros with experience in open source, rather than individuals with niche talents.
"Everybody who's planning to work in IT [and open source platforms] is going to require at least a moderate understanding of programming. I don't want to say one specific language you have to learn. It's more about understanding how to think programmatically as you approach problems," explained Powers.
He added that it is not just developers who need to have knowledge of open source tools. With hardware increasingly managed through a software layer, IT operations professionals are having to build their understanding too.
"Those going into networking haven't traditionally needed to know software development. However, that's going to change," said Powers. "As networking is more virtualised and automated, it's going to be done with programmatic approaches to things. So software development is key."
4. Open source skills for 2017: Understand what's beneath devops
With great open source automation platforms such as Chef and Puppet, it's easy to only look surface-deep when it comes to devops.
However, according to Shawn Powers, IT pros will need to look at what's behind devops to differentiate themselves.
"People over the past few years, have got jobs because they could talk the 'devops talk', the fear is that they may come in understanding how to use the devops tools but not know what those automation tools are actually automating. If you don't understand what's happening, it's a scary place to be when things go wrong," said Powers.
"It sounds like a step back away from devops but it's really just an important thing to understand what it is, all of that automation is automating," he added.
5. Open source skills for 2017: Soft skills
In terms of non-IT related skills, soft skills such as communication, work ethic and professionalism (to name a few) will become even more valuable as we go into the new year, and beyond. As anything open source is on a community-led platform, it's crucial that IT pros know how to communicate and both offer and take on advice from others in the community.
"Soft skills is something that is overlooked in IT to a great degree because we focus so much on the IT and not the people that are making it happen. You just have to be able to communicate," said Powers.
"It's my absolute biggest recommendation for getting a job in the upcoming year because it's something that's overlooked and might give you an advantage over people who know the skills really well but can't communicate how well they know them," added Powers.
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