Aug 262010

Linux-vs-MicrosoftContinued from : Is your company afraid of Linux?

Fear #2 (Cost!): Let’s look at skill-sets first.  When you hire an employee who labels themselves a Windows Server Administrator, you are generally getting someone whose expertise on servers stops with Windows.  Yeah, sounds extremely obvious, but I am addressing an important point.  When you hire someone who labels themselves as a Linux Server Administrator, you are generally getting someone who knows both Linux and Windows server administration.  Emphasis on the word “generally” as not all windows server admins know only Windows and not all Linux admins are well rounded.

How about salary comparison?  Comparing salaries in this economy is like throwing darts in the dark.  I’ve seen Windows and Linux employee’s being hired at ridiculously below average salaries but generally speaking the salaries are all over the place.  Various studies and statistics show that Unix Server Administrators are the highest paid, then Linux and then Windows.  The margin between Linux and Windows salaries is small and is shrinking due to higher numbers of Server Admins with Linux experience.  Supply and Demand.  This is good news as a business owner or IT manager.

The goal in tackling Fear #2 is:  Take your time in reviewing your resumes when hiring.  Interview potential hires that have skills in both Linux and Windows server administration.  In my experience, mature Linux knowledgeable employees have a natural inclination towards problem solving and outside-the-box thinking and a no-fear approach to new technologies.  In this current economy you just may find a “diamond in the rough” when sorting through the plethora of resumes in your in-box.

Fear #3 (Employee knowledge transfer.):  Fear #2 provides a great segue into Fear #3.  What if your “linux guy/gal” leaves your company?  Truthfully, this used to be a big and valid concern up to about 5 years ago.  The sheer mass of and demand for Linux Server Administrators puts this fear to bed.  You could be living in nowhere North Dakota and you will stumble upon someone who would proudly title themselves a Linux Guru.  The demand for Linux-knowledgeable employees is huge.  Here is a simple experiment.  The results are for your interpretation and have no professional statistical validation behind them.  Do the following two searches on Google:”linux+jobs””windows+jobs”

233,000 results for “linux jobs” and 32,400 results for “windows jobs”.   Clearly there is no longer a need to fear “linux desertion” within your organization.

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About the Author

Brad Triem brings years of experience from start-ups to large well established companies in business systems analysis, project design, implementation and process management, network infrastructure, network security and systems support.  He is also an accomplished software developer designing and deploying affordable hosted solutions for IT professionals.

Brad is co-founder of Trinsic Technologies, Inc., a provider of managed IT services for small to mid-sized businesses and easy-to-use hosted IT solutions for IT professionals.

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