OpenBSD Journal

Ask Undeadly: Entry level OpenBSD jobs

Contributed by mk/reverse on from the school's out dept.

James asks:

So, as someone graduating in this December, I am looking for jobs. While jobs in development, consulting of various kinds, and infosec don't seem to be as in short demand as claimed elsewhere, I don't see many jobs looking for OpenBSD expertise.

Suggestions for ways to survive working with/on OpenBSD?

(Comments are closed)

  1. By Anonymous Coward ( on

    Set up your own company supporting users of OpenBSD ?

  2. By Carlos Nilton ( cnacorreaPLEASEDONOTSPAMMEFOOL! on


    yes, you love OpenBSD and would love to make a living of it - but it's very difficult to be "accepted" by the market being restricted to only one product.
    I think that you should search for "UNIX jobs", "System Administration", "S2OC Operations" or the like, and worry about being there: then maybe you will be able to direct your work (read "convince management"/advocate) the way you like, and will be happy in your job.


  3. By Anonymous Coward ( on

    If you are a developer, Linux jobs are much easier to find.. During the course of work, when some ideas are thrown around and you are so inclined, prototype them at home on OpenBSD.. If the idea flies, and your prototype uses something OpenBSD specific that provides value to the project, you may have just landed an OpenBSD project at work.

    This works better in an R&D environment when you are not counting hours like so many developers need to these days on contract based development.

    1. By It's funny ( on

      It's funny, I work for a solid Canadian company that makes a lot of use of open source, but trying to get some of my peers to adopt OpenBSD is a hard road. They love FreeSwan, they love tables, but they know nothing about PF.

      In my experience the only way to make use of OBSD in a work environment is to offer turn-key solutions to failed projects that happen with in my organization. Slowly, very slowly OBSD solutions get adopted.

  4. By Luiz Gustavo ( on

    Try to take an UNIX-like related job at first, perhaps if you could tell more about your skills and someone would point a better career path.
    An OpenBSD job is really hard to get.

  5. By Idle American ( on

    all good advice so far...i'll just append a couple of things to whats already been said:
    1. yes, look for any *nix job - linux, slow-laris, *bsd, anything...get in there
    2. then secretly migrate everything to openbsd.
    - or tell your employer about openbsd's security record and dont forget it now supports SMP on select platforms.
    3. you can also search on monster for openbsd jobs
    4. i remember a couple months ago reading about a startup whose flagship product is an all in one server/firewall/smtp/dns box based on openbsd...i dont remember the name though - maybe someone else here can help with that.


    1. By Anonymous Coward ( on

      Secretly migrate everything over, hehehe.. ;-) I'd like to hear more about #4 myself though.

    2. By sparky ( on

      I just let them assume what the os is going to be. I work for an engineering firm as a project manager. I am not actually the IT guy, but I have had to setup a couple of new servers in our office already. Management and IT moron assumed win2k. It wasnt for about 2 weeks of operation until ITM tries to login to check some logs for whatever reason, and realizes something is amiss. Too late now, too much work for him switch em over, they have not been any bother, so he lets it be. Muahahahaa. They have been quite happy with thier performance. Now I keep dropping the idea of switching the router over. Partly by comparing the weak performance of our network there to mine at home. Management hears me mocking thier setup and is now curious. I dont think it should be too long to convince them.

      1. By Anonymous Coward ( on

        Be careful with the mocking. There's a fine line between constructve criticism and being an asshole who nobody likes to work with. There comes a point where people begin to suspect you think you're better than them.

    3. By GeneticAlg ( on

      The article you're talking about is about Lok Technologies, a small startup wanting to take it to Cisco.

  6. By Anonymous Coward ( on

    Hi, Well, one way might be to work your way into a security role with authority to deploy your own OS platform. I worked for Playstation, Oracle, and an ISP. I was able to convince management on return of investment of deploying OpenBSD(i.e. hardware, network cards etc), as well as providing an effective security infrastructure using other open source security products. Of course you may need a solid foundation of practical experience in Systems/Networkministration and information security idedally, and a strong personality to deal with awkward people and politics (not always the case of course) [this is an extream summary]. To answer your question; you'd be lucky to get a dedicated OpenBSD job, the advice given already on this forum looks ok. I think you will know in yourself how to get to go where you want to get to. OpenBSD (Firstly good security practice) advocate.

  7. By Anonymous Coward ( on

    I don't think one should search for an 'OpenBSD job' in monster/dice or wherever, look for a job that involves network security, firewalls, authentication (kerberos, certificates), ipsec maybe, and then when you get the job, use OpenBSD to achieve your goals.

    Be careful tho, if your configuration fails, or whatever your company will blame it on openbsd and therefore on you for making an not appropriate choice. So make sure of what you're doing.

  8. By Shane ( on

    Do as I do. Find a role that interests you where OpenBSD would be useful, find work in that area and bring OpenBSD in as your weapon of choice.

    It's so clean, reliable and easy to take care of, that it can be highly appropriate for so many tasks.

    If you try to find a role that specifically states OpenBSD, you will have very little luck finding one. I have only been called by agents once in the 4 years I've had OpenBSD on my resume and then I couldn't take it because I was already very happily working in an interesting role where I brought it in.

    If your skills are sought after and your command of them high, people will generally accept the tool that YOU find most effective and are most comfortable with.

    Take control dude.

  9. By Anonymous Coward ( on

    Please contact me privately if you are interesed in working directly with OpenBSD without losing time on any intermediate job. The bad news are that you will have to move to Spain...

    1. By Frank ( on

      I would like to know a bit more about this project in spain ... could you send me more info. regards Frank

    2. By Jona/BSD ( none on none

      mmm, Spain... ;)

    3. By Ruy Benton ( rbj at madeira. dyndns. org on Some place in cyberspace

      We install and setup many OpenBSD and the rest of W$ndoes and MacosX in internal network from my lab and we work in USA, Brasil and Europe.
      We don't need to be in the local.

      We setup and admin a webhosting company, 1800 Km away from the place in last 4 years.

      Best Regards

      Ruy Benton

      1. By Anonymous Coward ( on

        Oh, your job is so cool... ;) I dont care about the needs of your company and you shouln't care about mine. This is a serious job offer.

    4. By Anthony ( on

      I'd be all over this if I didn't have commitments that must be satisfied where I am first.

    5. By Anonymous Coward ( on

      The good news is that you'll have to move to Spain, where all the women are hot.

    6. By S.Aravi ( on

      Hi, I'm currently working with OpenBSD (firewall development). like to know more about the spain project. Please mail to

  10. By Brendgard ( on

    Well, I hope this doesn't come across wrong, but here goes. I'm not pointing a finger, I'm guilty of it all. it's just some advice for somebody starting out in the job market in the IT arena.

    I just thought I would give you some advice, from somebody whos been there(sometimes I think for too long in fact) If you are looking to do nothing but OpenBSD, good luck. I've also seen this written before, even in ezine format. That goes for just about any skill you can imagine. One rule of working in IT anyplace is "diversify". Learn more than OpenBSD.

    Learn a lot more. Going by the fact that you are talking about graduating, I'm assuming that you know something about programming. Good, learn more. I'm also assumming you know something about Windows. Good, learn more. Get MCSE certified. Get Linux certified. Learn how to make Windows talk to and get along with Samba. Learn how to set up and make work LDAP on OpenBDS or any Unix system, and work well. The fact of the matter is, there are more Windows jobs out there than there are Unix. There might be more Apache webservers than IIS but Windows needs more admins and techs than Unix. That translates into more money and more jobs. You apply for a job fixing boxes at your local computer store, what skills do they want you to have? Windows. Gamers are one of the leading money spenders in the home PC market, how many of them run any varient of Unix for games? a few do, not many though. They use it for other things, but how many of them spend money on their Unix box?

    If you want to get work, theres also something else I'm also guilty of that has the potential to hurt job hunting: showing yourself as a "(insert your favorite Windows alternative here) fits all problems and Windows is the scourge of the Earth" zealot. I'm not saying we are not correct, just don't flaunt it. When we do, even IT people have this tendancy to ignore us, and lable us as such. This is where i start getting flamed ;) Truth be told, no OS is a "one size fits all" deal. There are times when I have to recomend Windows believe it or not. Macs are a good one too, Sometimes a little older mac os is the best fit. The simple fact that I tried to at least portray an open minded aproach though, seems to be picked up by those I'm talking to. Granted I believe that Unix should be used a whole lot more than it is, but I try not to be pushy with it. I can't say as that approach has hurt me any when it comes to landing jobs or clients, know what I mean? And then after the gig is signed, I can "recomend" an alternative to Windows. A lot of the hiring managers you talk to will probably not be anything to do with IT, HR only. They don't just care how much you know about IT, but look at a lot of other things, like temperment, how well you fit in with the rest of the business etc. You come across like a zealot for any OS, and they might not even give you another thought. Business owners looking for a freelancer also included.

    Along the lines of diversifying, learn something about business. Now that IT has had some time to mature, and businesses are treating it as another dept of the business, it needs to fit in with the business more and more. IT managers need more and more to be able to justify the expense of a project or system. If you want to get ahead, or even get hired, astonish them by being able to tell them why something is NOT justified. "true, our server is only an old 486, but the load is only at 5% so I don't see any reason to upgrade right now, unless you need it to do more than what your letting on." They might listen more closly when you say something like this "The server load is only at 5%, but with the new worm that just hit the internet, we need to upgrade to a newer version which will need more horsepower. I recomend ..." Being able to justify why you need a specific thing (we need to upgrade the nic to a gigabit so that the POS system can process transactions at about 23% faster rate, thereby removing the bottle neck so the cashiers can process 12% more transactions per hour, because it is that which is holding sales down.) can get most any IT managers attention.

    Just starting out, I can imagine you wish your resume was a bit more filled. Do things to fill it. Take on your churches network, the local Salvation Army's, or some other charity. Might not pay anything in the short term, but it does go on the resume, and it does get seen. I'll make you an offer myself. I'm looking for content for our site myself. If you're interested, you could write a weekly or monthly page or tutorials or...., contact me privatly. If you can point to something like that over a period ot time, being dependable, it can help a lot on a resume. It can show you're dependable, know what your talking about, and get you name recognition. If I think the visitors will like it, I can publish it. Being able to show yourself dependable like that goes a long way with most HR people. It doesn't pay anything(at least not yet, maybe when the budget grows), but as it grows, I might send you a few books(or...) to read and review, you keep them type deal. You could also start your own web page and do it all for yourself. Find a few things to add to your resume, can it hurt?

    If you're dealing with OpenBSD, you obviously know something. Work with what you know, and keep going for what you want. If you don't have a goal, you might get no where awful fast. ;)

    1. By James Carter ( on

      hehehe... and if you know OpenBSD... I would assume that Windows is a no-brainer... What a learning curve... ha!

      1. By Brendgard ( on

        I really wonder about M$ sometimes. I'm the one pulling out what little hair I've got left trying to get it to function. Then again though, Billy has a lot more money than I do so hmmmmmmm......

  11. By Chas ( on

    You will probably need some window-dressing for your resume. I suggest two approaches: vendor certifications and publications.

    You are probably not going to find many OpenBSD jobs. If you would like to work with OpenBSD in your career, you should probably get some security certifications, then work for a smaller company where you control the architecture. I don't know much about commercial security products or certifications, but you might start looking at the Checkpoint firewall.

    If you want to branch out, you might thing about HP-UX certification. The old code for this test is 3HO-002. The test costs $100 and there is only one book. Solaris certification is much more respected, but it is also several times more expensive. I don't think any of the Linux certifications are as valuable as the commercial UNIX exams.

    You might also consider databases - IBM DB2 exams were offered for free some time ago (don't know if this is still the case). Oracle has made their certification process much more expensive, but you can still get the Associate level for $200 or so.

    Anything that you can do with ERP packages is gold. Serious SAP experience translates to $$$ - exploit the opportunity if it is offered to you.

    You should also try to publish in the IT field. It will prove to an employer that you can effectively communicate. Try to make some money at it, too. Don't go overboard with it, however - it never pays as well.

  12. By James ( on

    Thanks to everyone for the feedback. I'm confident I can find a job, just not necessarily one with OpenBSD. If anyone is interested in contacting me, I can send my resume. A few simple highlights are that I've worked for Harvard Law School as a perl/php/c programmer and helped with network security (not the final say though. DOH!) for 4 years and am also the guy behind chrootssh.

    1. By Chas ( on

      Here is my resume. Feel free to steal any of it that you like if you find it useful. It can be opened in Word and saved as a word document (best to keep the original in HTML, though).

      Yes, it's kind of crufty and old. I haven't really needed a job for some time.

  13. By Aaron ( on

    Don't pigeonhole youreself into one area. The ability to function fluently in an OpenBSD environment is a very useful tool that not everyone has in their toolbelt and then shine when those resources are called on. Its more like an insurance tool than a standard skillset. Besides, no matter how many *nix boxes you have, theres always gonna be another os (starts with that w letter) around. So keeping up to date with everyones os is always a good idea. Im going to graduate in may and have talked to many people. I feel your pain.

  14. By dandantheitman ( on


    Got a mate of mine who is the head of IT for a financial services company that uses the trusty openBSD for MTA, file servers, secondary firewalls, etc. They have offices in UK, UAE, South Africa, Jersey, Hong Kong, bahrain. They are opening offices in Japan and Switzerland within the next 3 months.

    They are recruiting at the moment. If you drop me a line at the gmail account I shall forward you his email address.



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