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What kind of job opportunities are out there for people that have extensive experience with *NIX?

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closed as too broad by Braiam, Anthon, slm Mar 14 '15 at 13:25

There are either too many possible answers, or good answers would be too long for this format. Please add details to narrow the answer set or to isolate an issue that can be answered in a few paragraphs.If this question can be reworded to fit the rules in the help center, please edit the question.

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The jobs mainly fall into two categories: Programming and System Administration. In the programming field, Unix experience is not too often required as most software still is developed for windows, Mac or mainframes but there are some niches where Unix is strong. E.g. many network devices run embedded Linux today, the same goes for Phones where Android and Meego is often used today. In system administration, again, most jobs are for Windows, but there are plenty corporations running Unix servers in need of competent administrators.

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You forgot embedded programming, which is by no means a niche (unlike mainframe, these days). Some embedded systems run Linux (though far more jobs involve smaller real-time OSes — but unix system programming prepares you for that a little better than, say, Windows UI programming). – Gilles Oct 23 '10 at 21:23

As Linux is an open operating system, all kinds of standardisation and interoperability work can be done (e.g. stuff that works on all platforms).

Basic jobs include document handling (openoffice), network design (kompozer, php, apache) and communications (empathy, gwibber, thunderbird, zimbra).

Programming wise, Linux is great for application development on multiple platforms. Google searches for "platform linux sdk" yield results for instance for Android: http://developer.android.com/sdk/index.html

An additional benefit arises if you release your programs as open source. This way, the community can provide more accurate feedback and patches to your work and help with porting the software to different platforms.

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One growth area for Linux use is scientific research, particularly biology related work, like biomedical research and bioinformatics. This is a rather specialist and possibly marginal area, but something I know a little about. This does typically involve some knowledge of the domain area, typically a mix of biology, computer science and statistics, so it is not just a programming job. At least, the good ones aren't. Also, to get such a job you'll typically need at least a Bachelor's degree in a relevant domain area. However, the question said:

What kind of job opportunities are out there for people that have extensive experience with *NIX?

It didn't say they didn't have extensive experience with anything else.

Research in these areas often involve heavy doses of programming coupled with management of large data sets, often involving heavy duty hardware, parallelization and clusters. For some reason, these kinds of jobs greatly favor Unix-like systems, which these days typically means Linux, and (to a much lesser extent) the *BSDs. I don't know exactly why, but I speculate there are two different reasons

  1. Linux is associated with free software, which is also free as in beer. Academics don't care a lot about free software, but they do care about doing things on the cheap. The money for such project is usually soft money from grants and contracts, and there is much discretion on how to spend it. The people running things prefer to put the money in their pockets (and those of their friends) rather than handing it off to some corporation.

  2. Linux is perceived to handle heavy number crunching and demanding computational jobs, including cluster work, better than other operating systems do. I don't know if that is actually the case these days, but such is the perception, I think.

The upside is that you might end up doing some work that is actually interesting, if you are lucky. If you are interested in science, this can be a big plus. The downside is that such jobs are not paid well and are commonly temporary contract positions. Also, they can be extremely hard work.

It is also worth noting that typically academics really, really suck at software work. This can cause problems with the research. See this interesting opinion piece in Nature. What impact this will have on a hacker who tries to work within the scientific establishment is not clear to me; there are so few there. However, based on my experience, you may find yourself surrounded by people who don't care at all about software quality. Of course, that is possible anywhere.

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Many super computers use Linux.

This are some of the cool things you can work on with Linux.

A little more boring section. You can do normal every day tasks with Linux. You can use it for every day desktop productivity. So you might just well use Linux to edit a document, or spread sheet as a secretary.

Google thinks it is a perfect system to use in the office.

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A lot of web hosts use the LAMP stack or Linux-based derivatives thereof. You might look into working for a web hosting provider.

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OK, it's sysadmin, every sysadmin must have skilled in unix and there're thousands of developers work on unix :) You can find out at this page : http://jobs.linux.com/

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Plenty of places are Microsoft-only. I don't have statistics, but I'd be surprised if Microsoft-only admins didn't outnumber all other kinds put together by a wide margin. Very few admin jobs are unix-only (pretty much server-room/database admin jobs — if your job involves workstations, you'll have to know Windows). – Gilles Oct 23 '10 at 21:20
In many positions at Google, you can get by with no Windows knowledge at all :) – ephemient Oct 23 '10 at 22:26
At hostgator we have about 12 windows admins for all 3 shifts, we have well over 100 linux admins. – xenoterracide Oct 23 '10 at 23:14
@echox, @Gilles: Sure, there are plenty of windows servers out there. There are also tons of *nix servers, creating plenty of sysadmin work for *nix people, whether or not windows exists. And of course, someone with a lot of *nix experience may be quite capable of dealing with windows workstations too. The SAs at my job certainly are. – Jefromi Oct 24 '10 at 5:15
It's not bullshit, but may vary depending on your industry, location and peer group. From my experience in the San Francisco Bay Area, Windows admins outnumber Unix admins for internal corporate systems where products like Windows Desktop and Microsoft Exchange dominate. Unix admins outnumber Windows admin in production environments (Email, Web & Database applications). And around here, it seems there are many of Unix-based web applications, and very few Windows-based web applications – Stefan Lasiewski Oct 24 '10 at 16:46

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