Dirk Riehle's Industry and Research Publications

Is Open Source Bad for Your Career?

ComputerWorld Canada recently published an article about the closing keynote on open source that I had given at the Free Software & Open Source Symposium in Toronto last year. The basic tenet of the article is that I had claimed that software developers will fall on hard times due to open source. This is obviously not true, at least not in a naive sense.

I hadn’t known about this article until SAP’s global communications team informed me about it. I wish ComputerWorld Canada had talked to me first rather than creating a storm in a teacup. What I had said in my keynote is that with open source becoming more ubiquitous, labor markets are getting more liquid. I had prefixed this observation by saying that this is one of many forces, and that I’m talking about economic models rather than the full complex reality of the industry.

As rightfully observed by Canadian commentators, other forces come into play as well, for example, the current lack of growth in computer science graduates. The lack of skilled programmers is a much more dominant force in the market than the improved liquidity of desired skills when it comes to finding a fulfilling job.

Summary: It remains a great time to be working in information technology.

Reference: “Is open source bad for your career?” In Datamation, December 17, 2007.

The article is available as a PDF file.



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