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Is Open Source a Good Career Bet for Developers?

Mar 03, 2009, 23:33 (4 Talkback[s])
(Other stories by Esther Schindler)

"With any article whose premise is ensuring the safety of your programming career, it's tempting to try to hook your attention with fear, uncertainty, and doubt about the state of the economy. I could point at all those layoff statistics. Or I could frighten you by bringing up the spectre of your job going overseas.

"But that's not the point, really. Our career choices affect us personally no matter what the economy looks like. We all have to find a balance between what we love to do and work that someone else will pay for. (This is why I cannot brag about my remarkable career from consuming chocolate; I've never found someone to pay the bills for it, alas.) To make the best career choices, you must become aware of where the market is going. And then you have to fine-tune your expertise so that your skills stay in-demand... or so that you can develop new skills that shortly will be in demand.

"That's not to discredit the premise that you should do what you love, and the money will follow. That philosophy has been effective for many in the open source community who started out doing this stuff as a labor of love, and then found someone to pay us for our expertise.

"But businesses--and hiring managers--do not think that way."

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