Whether you love living in the cloud or still cling to your desktop applications whenever possible, it has become increasingly clear in recent years that the cloud is where computing is headed. And if you’re seeking to keep your skills relevant to the IT jobs of today, and tomorrow, understanding the technology that underlies cloud services is critical. Fortunately, the cloud offers many opportunities for using open source software up and down the stack. If being on the cutting edge of cloud infrastructure interests you, it’s probably time to take a look at OpenStack. OpenStack is the engine that makes scalable, rapid, and secure deployments of computing power, networking, and storage possible in a modern datacenter. And it’s open source technology, which means anyone can dive right in and get started.
We’ve written before about the virtues of participating in the open source community as it relates to your career. Not only is the source right there for you to review and get started with, but an active user and developer community can help move you along. Plus, you can prove your worth to potential employers by getting your contributions accepted to a project in the OpenStack universe.
OpenStack job trends
Investing your time in learning OpenStack pays off. The rapid growth in cloud technology has created thousands of new jobs, and the OpenStack job market specifically has been among the top growth areas. Hosting giant Rackspace looked at the trend among job listings for competing cloud infrastructure projects a little over a year ago, and the graph is crystal clear: OpenStack outpaces other cloud infrastructure jobs considerably.
But how have things fared in the eighteen months since? Well, just take a look. Since Rackspace conducted their survey and writeup, the OpenStack job market has doubled. Again. Many companies are creating OpenStack jobs faster than they can fill them, and new companies are coming into the fold all the time. As we reported last week, GoDaddy is just the latest big name to make the leap to OpenStack, and news of their involvement was first broken through, you guessed it, a job listing.
And OpenStack is a great place for budding engineers to get started, regardless of their physical location. As a teaching tool and a path to a job, OpenStack is being used around the world, to match jobs that are globally located.
What's in it for me?
So why take the time to become familiar with OpenStack when there are hundreds of different technologies out there which might be of use to a cloud engineer? Among the many good answers is one that is hard to ignore: compensation.
According to listings on Indeed.com, jobs related to OpenStack pay an a average of 36% more compared to cloud engineering jobs on other technologies. Taking an average of stated hiring ranges from across the United States, an OpenStack engineer can expect to make about US$133,000 a year, compared to $98,000 for non-OpenStack cloud engineers.
Not sure where to start? We can help. First, check out this great collection of videos to understand where OpenStack fits into the picture of cloud technologies. Once you've got a handle on the basics, try it out! TryStack.org is a sandbox where you can fire up OpenStack and try it out with your existing apps. You can try it on your local machine with DevStack, a shell script to build OpenStack development environments so you can give it a whirl on your favorite distro.
You can also take a look at the project documentation or watch some of the videos from the last OpenStack Summit in Hong Kong. Ready to check out the source code? It's all on GitHub so you can easily see how things work under the hood. OpenStack is written in Python, an easy-to-learn language that is rapidly growing in the enterprise community.
Need some training? There are many options from the various companies backing OpenStack, some of whom also offer certification options, as well as vendor-neutral courses from the nonprofit Linux Foundation.
And if you're interested in the development community behind OpenStack, there are plenty of ways to do that as well. With a large and knowledgable community backed by some of the biggest names in cloud technology, OpenStack is ready for you to get involved.
Ready for that job?
In addition to the usual suspects for finding IT jobs, the OpenStack foundation operates a job board with frequent updates of opportunities around the globe. Take a look at the broad range of specializations needed, and start working on that résumé.