Samsung is hiring Linux and open source professionals as never before. That may come as little surprise given the company's investment in Google (GOOG) Android tablets and other mobile devices, but it also suggests that the Linux Foundation was right when earlier this year it proclaimed soaring demand—and remarkably high pay rates—for people with open source talent.
The Linux Foundation data, which came from a survey of 850 organizations that varied widely in size and type, found that the average salary for IT professionals with skills in Linux-related software and deployment was about 6 percent higher than the industry standard. More remarkably, compensation for Linux skills was growing at about the twice the rate of average salary increases in the field.
Now, reports about hiring trends at Samsung seem to confirm the Linux Foundation's findings. According to Tizen Experts, Samsung currently has about 20,000 employees working in areas related to open source software, and plans to hire more. The company has also vastly increased its contributions to the Linux kernel source code.
On that note, so have a lot of other major companies that were not traditionally prominent members of the open source ecosystem. While organizations with strong investment in Linux software, such as Red Hat (RHT), have decreased their share of contributions to the kernel code, hardware vendors—especially those with a sizeable interest in the mobile device market—top the list of enterprises that have trended in the other direction.
The takeaway message, then, is two-fold: First, the Linux Foundation's rosy picture of hiring in open source fields was not merely rosy optimism; the numbers seem to be playing out on the ground as well. Second, the mobile market is likely playing a key role in driving that growth.