UNIX is the most-used operating system powering enterprise today, surpassing Microsoft Windows and all other operating systems combined. UNIX is also the foundation of the Linux operating systems, many variants of open source software, and is also in large part the theoretical foundation of the Google Android operating system (Sen, Singh, Borle, 2012). As a result of the pervasive adoption and widespread standardization on UNIX, the career opportunities are very significant. The salaries for positions vary by the difficult of the work being done, difficulty of replacing the person doing it, and the scope of experience a job candidate has (MacInnis, 2006). The future for those with UNIX programming and development skills is also being accelerated by the rapid adoption of Linux as the foundational operating systems of enterprises today, specifically in the areas of Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) integration, transaction management and databases management and administration (de Brulin, Bos, Bal, 2011). Where the highest growth opportunities are however for those with UNIX programming and software development skills is in the area Web application development and the creation of mobile applications for the Google Android operating system and Apple iOS operating system. Of these two, UNIX has had a far greater influence on the development and continual fine-turning of Android, as Google seeking to bring this operating system to tablets, smartphones and mini-tablets in the 2012 -- 2013 timeframes (Sen, Singh, Borle, 2012). For those more interested in the administration and management of enterprise systems, there's also the role of system administrator, which can over time become a career path to system manager and eventually IT Director of Infrastructure (Dobb, 2011). This analysis will evaluate the current state of UNIX and job marketability, specifically focusing on how Linux, Google Android and Apple iOS operating system development is one of the fastest growing areas of programming employment right now. These three areas, Linux, Android and Apple iOS, are also heavily based on the fundamental concepts of UNIX, as the creators of these applications are more focused on how to create scalable, secure and stable operating systems that will lead to mass adoption of the applications built on them.
UNIX and Job Marketability Career Paths
As the majority of enterprises today run on UNIX, the majority of jobs for those with UNIX administration and programming skills are in larger enterprise running distributed applications, the majority of the time in conjunction with complex enterprise-wise databases as well (MacInnis, 2006). Current UNIX skills that are the most marketable in these larger enterprises, who often have hundreds of millions of dollars invested in their enterprise systems, include SQL query and oracle database administration and management (de Brulin, Bos, Bal, 2011). Additional skills include the need for managing complex data structures and the ability to code and create them quickly, while also aligning data structures to business problems in these larger enterprises. The role of the UNIX developer in Fortune 1,000 companies (they are the largest companies listed annually in Fortune Magazine's list of top one thousand corporations) also require intensive levels of training with analytics, accounting and financial reporting application expertise to the data warehouse and data table levels (MacInnis, 2006). These skill sets are critical for UNIX developers in enterprises as they will often also have to create very specific transaction processing and order management systems and queues to streamline the integration between legacy, 3rd party and very large-scale enterprise systems (Dobb, 2011). In this regard the UNIX developer also acts as a system architecture, ensuring the overall complex of systems in an enterprise can integrate with each other in real-time while also giving the business units the agility and flexibility to accomplish their line-of-business goals and initiatives (de Brulin, Bos, Bal, 2011). UNIX developers are expected to have a high level of expertise in shell scripting including Korn and PERL scripting languages, with Python, the scripting language Google invented, also becoming more prevalent (de Brulin, Bos, Bal, 2011). UNIX developers with these skill sets often create shell scripts for managing complex transactions, automating workflows across the various systems through the use of commands embedded in scripts to automate system integration and data workflows. Data routing and integration expertise is critical for UNIX developers in these enterprises as their insight and intelligence often keep the entire company moving forward towards it objectives.
The minimum required skill set for this type of senior-level UNIX developer job includes expertise in the area of Java, C, C++, HTML, XML and iLog (constraint engine from IBM) programming expertise in addition to UNIX command and operating system calls expertise. There is also often the requirement of having worked on many different platforms of UNIX including IBM AIX, BSD UNIX, Red Hat Linux and the multiple distributions of these open source operating systems. In addition to these skills, senior-level UNIX developers will also have extensive expertise with enterprise-level database management systems from Microsoft (SQL Server), Oracle, open source providers including MySQL and personal productivity applications including Microsoft Access and the entire suite of Microsoft Office applications. The greater the depth of UNIX programming expertise on a brad array of database applications, the higher the potential salaries and greater the potential responsibility in an enterprise standardized on these technologies. The ability to quickly gain new skill sets and continually learn is essential for any UNIX developer to also progress in their career, as technological change occurs very fast in these positions and technical obsolescence is always a threat (Miller, 1986). UNIX developers with up to ten years of experience can earn well above $100,000 a year, often well into the $130,000 to $140,000 range depending on the industry their companies are competing in, their location in the world, and the depth of expertise they may have.
UNIX and Job Marketability -- Always Plan For Technological Obsolescence
One of the major lessons learned from studying the roles of the UNIX Developers, UNIX System Administrators, and the rapidly evolving role of mobile applications developer on the Google Android and Apple iOS platforms is the need to continually stay current on key technologies. Ultimately this is the responsibility of each software professional as the extent of their knowedlge and expertise will often dictate the longevity of their career and its earnings. From an employability and marketability standpoint, the role of certifications is critically important in these professions (MacInnis, 2006). Having a definite strategy about which certifications will contribute to overall career growth is key to architecting a career that will earn the highest possible salary and result in the greatest possible achievement. Certifications are initially started by enterprise software vendors and UNIX operating system developers to promote their products and platforms yet they can also be used for accelerating a person's career with the insights and intelligence gained. The most valuable certifications on at the operating system level, with Oracle database and UNIX certifications extremely valuable from the standpoint of both administrator and developer roles. Gaining certification on UNIX operating systems development and administration through a local college or university is a common strategy many UNIX professionals rely on to keep their skills current. There are also certifications specifically aimed at UNIX system integration and the use of UNIX and Linux-based programming concepts for Android and Apple iOS operating systems as well. Of all operating system communities, UNIX and Linux are by far the largest with the majority of members worldwide (Sen, Singh, Borle, 2012). With so many resources available it is possible for a UNIX developer, administrator or member of a UNIX support staff to continually increase their marketability through the use of certifications and programs. It is possible for one to create their own career path, and entirely architect it based on training and support services from the many companies and learning intuitions supporting…