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Open Source and Career Advancement

More so all the time, open source is a great avenue for career advancement, writes Amanda McPherson of the Linux Foundation:

“Open source projects are not immune to politics, don’t get me wrong, but there is one key difference: transparency. Because your work is in the open, it’s the best way to market your skills.”

Open source lets you work on interesting projects, develop new skills, and showcase your work to the world.

Further, McPherson discusses how the skills contributors develop in open source are valuable to each individual’s career. This is in contrast to developing skills on proprietary platforms, where the owner of the platform gains as much or more value than the developers themselves:

“Because it’s open source you have a multitude of companies tied to the product and its success. In the Linux world, the platform is used by companies in the desktop, server and embedded markets. A member of the Linux community is not tied into one company since his or her skills or transferable to all of the companies who use Linux. This is in contrast to jobs in the proprietary worlds. If you’re a Zune developer, you certainly have transferable software development skills to another similar project. (Languages are languages after all.) Yet the value of your specialized knowledge and experience is of much more use to Microsoft than anyone else. That means you, as a worker, have less leverage and are more at the mercy of internal project politics specific to that company.”

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