Originally Published: Wednesday, 23 February 2000 Author: A.L. Lambert
Published to: news_interact_jobs/Jobs News Page: 1/1 - [Std View]

Making a Living With Linux

The question has been posed: Can I really make a living with a free OS? The answer to that question is a resounding YES!

The question has been posed: Can I really make a living with afree OS? The answer to that question is a resounding YES! You can get a job working with Linux, you can create a job working with Linux, or you can even find a venture capitalist to fund your efforts to do interesting things to/with/for Linux. Sound good to you? Then keep reading.

For those of you who aren't partial to the stress of self-employment or rocking the boat in a potentially Linux-hostile environment, you can point your web browser at your nearest handy IT jobs web site, and search for "Linux" and pick something that looks interesting. I checked a small number of them while doing research for this article, and found literally thousands of jobs open today, all seeking personnel with some level of Linux knowledge (See figure [1] at the end of the article). If you know your Linux, then you have what it takes to land one of these jobs, and spend your days working on and with the OS that you (presumably) love. You might also take note, that most of these jobs pay what most people would consider to be quite respectable amounts of money.

If you're a more creative and fearless type, you can invent a Linux job for yourself at your current company. I know this works, because I've been there and done that more than once. All you need is a problem that Linux can solve easily, and cost effectively, to take to your boss and prove it. Typical Internet/Intranet services are a great place to start looking for this problem. I once worked at a company that was contemplating buying into Microsoft Exchange for SMTP/POP3 mail services for around 8,000 users, which would have a total cost well into the 6 digit figures. Spying my chance, I grabbed the nearest handy PC, a copy of a Linux CD, and setup a SMTP/POP3 mail-server for a total cost of under $2,000. Not only was the company very pleased with the cost savings, I was the brand new head Linux mail-server administrator. Within a few months, I was a dedicated Linux administrator, in a company that previously had no such position.

Unfortunately, there are IT managers in this world who are clueless, and will not agree with you when you present your case in something like the above scenario. If you have such a boss, who refuses to allow you to save your company large sums of money, increase system reliability, and open the door to technical freedom and vendor independence, then you are in need of a new job. At this point you can use the job search method, or you can continue to work at creating your own ideal Linux job.

If you wish to continue with the "create your own Linux job" method, you should research your prospective employer(s) thoroughly, and figure out exactly what you can do for them, and how to do it. I highly recommend you look for a company in the early stages of Internet/Intranet technology implementation/development; it will save you many migration headaches if you can find such an organization. When you sit down to an interview, spell out for the interviewer in detail what you can do for them with Linux, how much money it will make (or save) them, and when you get done, you will have a great shot at having yourself a shiny new job, created for you by you. My current position came about by using this method. I walked in, explained the cost savings, the performance benefits, and the wide range of services we could almost immediately begin offering end users at no cost other than my salary and some inexpensive hardware, and I started work the next day as the head Linux administrator with free reign to do what I love best in a company that had no Linux anywhere prior to my arrival.

For the truly ambitious and talented among you (you know who you are), I recommend you figure out something you can do with Linux that could potentially make money. Preferably a lot of money. This can be anything from a service to be offered up to the vast hordes of people who use the Internet, to a specialized embedded system for some field in which you have expertise. Once you've got your idea into a cohesive stream of thoughts in your head, write a business plan, a prospectus, and get together a group of people who are willing and able to help you make this new business a success. Proceed to your nearest handy venture capitalist,get yourself some funding (7 digits if possible), and get cracking at making some money. Spend at least a year building your business into something respectable, and if it is doing well by that point, take it public. Survive the several years of headaches the shareholders will give you after the IPO, and then cash in your stocks, and go do whatever you want with the rest of your life (hopefully something beneficial to the Linux community). :)

Yes, you can make a living with Linux. You can generally make a very good living with Linux. If you're ambitious and smart and creative enough, you can even make a downright killing with Linux. What are you waiting for?

-- [1]. A few job sites I discovered within about 10 minutes of searching which have listings for Linux and Linux related jobs.

Linux.com Jobs. (over 200 current linux specific jobs!).

monster.com. (Search keyword "Linux") (Over 1,000 current Linux or Linux related jobs).

computerjobs.com. (Search keyword "Linux") (over 400 current Linux or Linux related jobs)

yahoo.com. (Search keyword "Linux") (over 500 current Linux or Linux related jobs in Texas alone)

linuxjobs.com. (Links to various Linux related job sites; very handy).