For years, Microsoft bared its teeth at the open-source community. Former CEO Steve Ballmer once famously referred to Linux as a “cancer,” and the company expended a lot of effort claiming that open-source software violated its various patents.
Since CEO Satya Nadella took over, however, Microsoft’s view on open source has softened a bit. While the company almost certainly won’t make Office or Windows open-source anytime soon, its executives realize that, given the prevalence of open-source technology in the cloud, they will need to make platforms such as Azure as open-source compatible as possible. One out of every four virtual machines on Azure runs Linux.
As a result, Microsoft’s Azure team is hiring open-source experts. “From making the full server-side .NET stack open source to offering a fully managed Apache Hadoop service on Linux and betting big on Docker containers,” read a recent posting on Microsoft’s corporate blog, “we’re showing that openness is ingrained in our approach to business.”
For many of those jobs, key requirements seem to be familiarity with Windows and Linux systems; ability to work in an Agile development environment; and technical experience in areas such as application design, database architecture, and virtualization (depending on the actual job, of course).
Microsoft isn’t about to give up the proprietary-software strategy that allowed it to become one of the largest technology companies in the world. That being said, the necessity of working with open source has driven it to make some interesting decisions—and tech pros with the right combination of skills and experience could profit handsomely from it.