Open source vs. licensed technologies
Date posted: 13th Jan 2015
There has been a very large market shift in the technologies being used by large corporations. Formerly they were dominated by licensed development products, with Microsoft having the lion’s share followed by Oracle, Sun Microsystems (who were bought by Oracle in 2010 for $7.4bn) and SAP.
However with the rapid growth and adaptability of open source platforms there has been a significant market shift away from licensed products. Security and ongoing technical support were formerly major reasons why companies would look towards Microsoft and others, and also with the array of products for various applications to different areas of the business.
These days there are a vast number of developers who can produce high level code, and also many pre-existing platforms which can be bolted together (such as WordPress) to create software / web based platforms which are very reliable, but much cheaper to run continuously.
Looking at highly scalable platforms there are many that are now regarded as much superior such as Python / Django and even PHP to an extent. Furthermore, when looking into bringing in continuous integration, the acceleration of Linux platforms within larger corporations in recent years has caused a large shift towards open source as there are many more DevOps tools out there geared towards this method of development.
All of the above can be seen reflected in the number applicants for each role, which gives a clear indication of these shifting trends.For a fairly standard C# / MVC developer vacancy on contract, 3 – 4 times the number of applications compared to a PHP or Python developer role can be expected.
What does this mean for you as a client?
If you are already using licensed technologies, there is still a large number of high level developers out there who can make a real impact on your business – but this depends on your business direction. As an established company providing applicable business solutions, your jobs openings should fill in quite quickly.
If you are a start up looking to build a product that provides a service to the public, ie Bizzby or City Mapper, then my recommendation would be going down the open source path. The scalability and lower costs involved when looking to add modules and functionalities are by far one of the main advatages.
What does this mean for you as candidate?
If you have been trained in and your commercial experience has been within licensed platforms then there are still a lot of opportunities and jobs on the market. Large corporations are slow to adopt open platforms, particularly within finance and FMCG’s where the scale of migration wouldn’t see a financial return.
However, making a shift to working on cloud based technologies will open a lot of doors as licensed suppliers look to keep up with open source options. Microsoft Azure and Success Factors (SAP) are a couple of examples of platforms that are growing in popularity, but face skills shortages.
If you’re an open source developer, keep going. It is key to be active within the community and keep up to date with technologies. So why not try to find someone to do code reviews with and discussing how you might integrate certain tools into your development arsenal? GitHub is a great online platform for this, while Meetup is perfect for face to face. There are always seminars and talks happening, especially in London, where you can catch up with fellow developers and learn from them. Many Meetups are also looking for speakers; the best way to learn is often to teach.
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