Linux jobs favour hands-on ahead of certification

When it comes to hiring Linux developers and programmers organizations favour results over certification with real-world experience winning every time.

While certification makes a prospective employee more saleable, Hays Personnel senior consultant Neil McCormick said don't rely on that piece of paper to get a foot in the door.

He said it just doesn't compete with practical, real-world experience.

However, this tendency to ignore certification generally applies only in the search for Linux skills, he said, as course completion is often a must-have when it comes to developers and programmers working in other areas.

"Certification is not the be-all and end-all. Ultimately you need experience and you rarely get any positions with a pure Linux flavour - you get many roles with a mix of different capabilities - we don't get companies specifically looking for Linux certification," McCormick said.

According to the latest Ambit-Jobnet trend series, Unix programmers in Australia are in the highest demand, with 11.5 percent of all operating system positions demanding Unix skills and a further 3.3 percent looking for Linux skills.

Because most courses offer Unix or Windows NT as part of an operating systems module, prospective students have been advised to tool up on Linux, especially if they plan to work in IT support.

Joe Poole, a technical support manager at a large retail company, said Linux certification will help get an interview when his company hires, but it certainly isn't mandatory.

While Ambit IT recruitment national spokesperson, Peter Butterss, said there is an increased interest in Linux it seems to be small with the company claiming that certification wasn't required in the Linux placements made in recent months.

"Companies have been happy enough with people simply having practical experience, but this could well change as demand grows," Butterss added.

"Predictions are that demand for Linux people will increase over the next few years but there will be no real spikes, because while Linux is low-cost and in some cases no cost, it does not have the support infrastructure of Microsoft," he said.

"Many of the older Linux versions were not user-friendly - a perception that still remains; the new Red Hat version, however, is extremely user-friendly."

Icom marketing manager Neda Morris said the training institute considers Linux certification equally as important as real-world skills giving employers added confidence.

"While Linux will not become a threat to Microsoft, it has the potential to run side by side," he said.

(With Todd Weiss.)

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