Note: This is a guest post written by Abdulqader Kapadia
Open Source, a world of open and free software, can also provide a plethora of career opportunities while making big money. It may not be only for hardcore four-eyed coders but even amateur developers can opt in and discover miracles in the realm of Open Source. Stepping into the shadow of Open Source, most of us can possibly materialize our ideas with our own creativity and originality.
Elance.com, the world’s leading online talent marketplace, quotes:
Businesses and entrepreneurs continue to adopt open source platforms for a variety of reasons, including complete customization and community development. Currently, open source technologies represent 20% of the IT Top 50 Skills list. Open source content management systems like WordPress, Joomla!, and Drupal, are currently driving the movement with extremely high demand, while database, mobile, eCommerce, and web server technology platforms closely follow.
Many of the top opportunities are found at Enterprise level with more and more businesses, around the globe, adapting to Open Source software like WordPress, Drupal, Joomla, Android Framework, Social Media Integration, and others. When observing the recent career trend, many fulltime employees from big corporations have quit their jobs to start freelancing or blogging by using readily available Open Source platforms and tools. Big business names like Oracle, Google, IBM, Microsoft, etc also have numerous Open Source projects running under their umbrellas and are likely to hire individual professionals having required expertise.
How And Where Do You Start
There’s no precisely defined point from where you can take your first step into the world of Open Source, but the finest way is to develop and contribute to Open Source projects and code libraries or build apps/plug-ins during your spare time while keeping your present livelihood intact. Doing this will unquestionably fill your resume with spanking new recognition, in turn helping you stumble on the right career opportunity or attract new clients if you decide to start on your own.
Fundamental knowledge on Open Source technologies can easily be acquired from reading books or tutorials on the Web or opting for regular certification courses. Development and contribution of creative and handy tools/codes will lead to your recognition in the Open Source community, which will then start rising over a period of time. Places like SourceForge.net, Code.Google.com, Google Summer of Code (specifically for students), or Codeplex.com are fine programmer nests to start participating.
The Career Path
By working on Open Source technologies for companies, the career growth may be similar to that of any software developer; i.e. Programmer, Developer, Senior Developer, System Architect and so on. The actual power of growth and reputation lies in building your own services or products, which over a period of time will gain success if found productive and adaptive by the global audience. People like Matt Mullenweg (WordPress.org), Blake Ross (Mozilla/Firefox), Larry Augustin (SourceForge, SugarCRM) are few prominent personalities who reached the pinnacle of Open Source world from nothing.
Gartner.com, the world’s leading information technology research and advisory company, reports:
By 2012, 80 per cent of all commercial software will include elements of open-source technology. Many open-source technologies are mature, stable and well supported. They provide significant opportunities for vendors and users to lower their total cost of ownership and increase returns on investment. Ignoring this will put companies at a serious competitive disadvantage. Embedded open source strategies will become the minimal level of investment that most large software vendors will find necessary to maintain competitive advantages during the next five years.
Open Source is a promising field, today and tomorrow too. Students who are yet completing their degrees and interested in giving something to the world in the field of technology should definitely start mentoring themselves with open ideas and future open source software products. For regular employees and others, make use of your free time in developing Open Source skills and contributing to the world of Open Source.