The 2016 Open Source Jobs Report released earlier this year by Dice and The Linux Foundation analyzed trends for open source careers and the motivations of professionals in the industry. Now, the data have been broken down to focus specifically on European open source professionals, and how they compare to their counterparts around the world.

open source jobs

This is the fifth year Dice and The Linux Foundation have partnered to produce the jobs report. The four previous years’ research focused exclusively on the job market for Linux professionals, but this year’s installment looks at the broader category of open source professionals. Overall trends between Europe and the world are generally similar, but show that open source careers may be even more in demand and rewarding in Europe than the rest of the world.

“Demand for open source talent is growing and companies struggle to find experienced professionals to fill open roles,” said Bob Melk, president of Dice. “Rising salaries for open source professionals indicate companies recognize the need to attract, recruit and retain qualified open source professionals on a global scale. Regardless of where they reside around the world, these professionals are motivated by the opportunity to work on interesting projects.”

European confidence is high

Europeans are more confident than their global counterparts in the open source job market. Of over one thousand European respondents, 60 percent believe it would be fairly or very easy to find a new position this year, as opposed to only 50 percent saying it would be easy globally.

In fact, 50 percent of Europeans reported receiving more than 10 calls from recruiters in the six months prior to the survey, while only 22 percent of respondents worldwide reported this level of engagement. While worldwide 27 percent of respondents received no calls at all from recruiters, only five percent of Europeans said the same.

The most in-demand skills

Application development skills are in high demand in Europe. Twenty-three percent of European open source professionals reported application development as the most in-demand skill in open source – higher than any other skill. Globally, only 11 percent identified application development as the most in-demand skill, second behind DevOps at 13 percent. DevOps was second among Europeans at 12 percent.

Retaining staff

Employers in Europe are offering more incentives to hold onto staff. Forty percent of European open source professionals report that in the past year they have received a raise, 27 percent report improved work-life balance, and 24 percent report more flexible schedules.

This compares to 31 percent globally reporting raises, and 20 percent globally reporting either a better work-life balance or more flexible work schedules. Overall, only 26 percent of Europeans stated their employer had offered them no new incentives this year, compared to 33 percent globally.

What differentiates open source jobs?

Open source professionals enjoy working on interesting projects more than anything. European open source professionals agreed with their global counterparts that the best thing about working in open source is the ability to work on interesting projects, at 34 percent (31 percent globally). However, while respondents around the world said the next best things were working with cutting-edge technology (18 percent) and collaboration with a global community (17 percent), European professionals selected job opportunities second at 17 percent, followed by both cutting-edge technologies and collaboration tied at 16 percent each. Five percent of European respondents said money and perks are the best part of their job, more than double the two percent who chose this response worldwide.

“European technology professionals, government organizations and corporations have long embraced open source,” said Jim Zemlin, executive director at The Linux Foundation. “The impressive levels of adoption of and respect for open source clearly have translated into more demand for qualified open source professionals, providing strong opportunities for developers, DevOps professionals and others.”

The findings of the annual Open Source Jobs Report are based on survey responses from more than 4,500 open source professionals worldwide, including 1,082 in Europe.

Help Net Security

DEF CON A quest to build a smart computer system that finds and patches bugs faster and more efficiently than humans is off to a good start with all the teams in DARPA’s Cyber Grand Challenge performing very well indeed.

The contest, held at the DEF CON hacking conference in Las Vegas, was organised by the research arm of the US military and saw seven teams test out their automated seek-and-patch-ware in a simulated operating system. The eight-hour contest saw the teams find and patch 420 flaws and create 650 proofs of concepts.

“Our mission is to change what’s possible so we can take huge strides forward in our national security capabilities,” said Arati Prabhakar at the post-contest press conference. “We did it today and it was a very satisfying experience.”

Each team was equipped with a server containing 128 Intel Xeon processors running at 2.5 GhZ and boasting over a thousand processing cores, 16TB of RAM and a liquid cooling system that required 250 gallons of water per minute to cool the big iron. They were let loose on a custom-designed operating system and instructed to find flaws, patch them automatically, and provide proof of concepts for flaws in each other's systems.

At the same time seven other similar system were used by the judges to monitor the progress of the event as the systems ran 96 rounds lasting 270 seconds, with 30 second breaks in between rounds. At stake was US$ 3.75m in government greenbacks.

The competition, which has taken three years and $ 55m to set up, is designed to automate the whole process of bug hunting.

Mike Walker, the DARPA program manager overseeing the Cyber Grand Challenge, said that this was the first stage in a possibly decade-long process to automate security monitoring and make networks more resilient.

“We have redefined what is possible and we did it in the course of hours with autonomous systems that we challenged the world to build,” he said. “I want people to understand how difficult it is to build prototype revolutionary technology and field it in front of the eyes of the world. I have enormous respect for those folks.”

A DARPA representative told The Reg that at this stage the winning team, with 270,042 points, was the ForAllSecure team, founded by the Carnegie Mellon University professor of electrical and computer engineering David Brumley. Results aren't final, but if confirmed his team will scoop the $ 2m top prize.

The ForAllSecure team’s success was all the more surprising because a key bug finding system in the computer’s programming crashed around half way through the competition. It repaired itself and got back up and running before the competition ended but maintained a narrow lead until the end of the contest.

In second place, with 262,036 points, was the TechX team from GrammaTech and the University of Virginia, setting them up for a $ 1m payday. In third place was the Shellphish team, led by Professor Giovanni Vigna, director of the Centre for CyberSecurity at the University of California, Santa Barbara, who are in line for $ 750,000.

Once the results have been confirmed the winning system will be pitted against human foes in a capture the flag competition. Walker said that he didn’t expect the automated system to come close to matching fleshy competitors in the contest, but the first five minutes of the competition would give a good example of how computers could leverage their faster processing speed against human inventiveness.

This is a long road we are going to travel, Walker stressed. The first United States Computer Chess Championship took place in 1970 and it wasn’t until 1996 that IBM’s Deep Blue system finally beat a human grandmaster at the game - and then only at speed chess. But the fuse has been lit he said, and the clock is now ticking for professional bug hunters ... and perhaps the automated systems that could one day put them out to grass. ®

Sponsored: Global DDoS threat landscape report

The Register - Security