Linux Professionals Receive Higher Salaries: Dice

Average salaries for Linux pros come in at $90,853, compared with $85,619 for tech pros nationwide, according to a Dice survey.

As the U.S. jobs recovery steadily inches forward, the market for Linux professionals continues to leap ahead, with 93 percent of hiring managers planning to hire a Linux pro in the next six months, according to a survey from career and employment site

In the red-hot Linux job market, those with the right skill set can also expect better-than-average compensation, according to the report. Salaries for Linux professionals, coming in at $90,853, are well above the average tech salary nationwide of about $85,619. That represents a 9 percent jump this year, far outpacing the 5 percent jump in tech salaries overall, according to Dice, which polled more than 850 hiring managers from corporations, small and midsize businesses (SMBs), government organizations and staffing agencies.

Nine out of 10 respondents stated that it is "somewhat difficult" or "very difficult" to find experienced Linux pros, up almost 4 percentage points from last year. More than 85 percent of hiring managers said they plan to hire the same or more Linux pros in the next six months as they did in the previous six months, compared with 80 percent of hiring decision makers who felt that way a year ago.

Three-quarters of Linux professionals surveyed said they have received a call from a recruiter in the past six months, and more than a third (35 percent) said they plan to switch employers in 2013. Of the respondents who plan to make new Linux hires within the next six months, systems administrators ranked No. 1 among hiring managers, followed by developers and DevOps, a new category on the survey this year.

More than half (57 percent) of respondents said they would be looking to fill positions for Linux developers to create new products, devices and applications to power their business success, and a quarter will be looking for professionals with DevOps expertise.

However, no matter which Linux position companies seek to fill, the survey indicated three to five years is the consistent sweet spot for work experience, with 73 percent of respondents looking for candidates with this level of experience.

"Linux is increasingly becoming an essential part of modern-day computing, powering everything from mobile devices to enterprise management to consumer electronics. As a result, the professionals who know how to harness its powers are maintaining their own dominance at the top of the IT job market," the report concluded. "By offering higher salaries, professional development opportunities, and work/life perks to Linux experts, companies will be prepared to seize new opportunities in collaborative development—and Linux pros will continue to enjoy limitless possibilities for career advancement and the satisfaction of contributing to the world's largest collaborative development project."