Let’s get more women and young people interested in Open Source!

This month we received our student exam survey data, in which those who have taken LPI (Linux Professional Institute) exams with us leave their feedback and personal information to help us gain valuable insights to the industry.

Whilst we are pleased to see that in general LPI Certification is on the up in the UK and Ireland, we were disappointed to see that there remains a lack of young people and women considering Open Source training.

At Future Cert our aim is to promote Open Source software and LPI certification across the UK and Ireland and for us that should cover every age and gender. We particularly want to see an increase in women and young people.

Of those questioned in the survey, 98% were male, and were 2% female taking an LPI exam. This figure is significantly less than an already low figure of around 15% to 17% of women in IT careers in general. It raises the question, what does the industry need to do to make an Open Source career attractive to women?

Furthermore, when asked their age group, over 50% were 31 – 40 years old, 20% were 21 – 30 years old, but none were under 20, despite the fact LPI Certification has been created for students as young as 16 to take alongside workplace training or at a Further Education college.

Most of the students taking the exams were already in Open Source careers and were furthering their learning in Linux.

It’s not that we don’t want to see these people who are currently taking the exams, we are pleased that in general LPI Certifications are on the up in the UK. But we really want to see some sort of increase in women and younger people taking LPI exams, even if it’s a small one. We are asked all the time by employers ‘where are all the Linux trained people to fill our vacancies?’

The industry is crying out for it. Whilst it’s great that those already working with Linux software are continuing to further their learning, we need more young people to come through in order to meet the demand in the job market.

Employing women within Open Source workplaces is incredibly important to create a gender balance – as it is with any industry. Women offer a different perspective and way of thinking to men, which can be very useful.

Future Cert would like to see teachers, education bodies and Open Source groups encourage take up of LPI Certification amongst women and young people.

The more we talk about this problem, the more exposure it will get and hopefully we will start to get a conversation going about the topic. And so we will keep on talking about it! And hope you do too.

Why not join in the debate and tweet us your comments at @futurecert