Brussels / 4 & 5 February 2023


KDLP: Kernel Development Learning Pipeline

A comprehensive pipeline for bringing new talent into the the Linux kernel and its orbit

KDLP is a novel program run by Red Hat engineers to address the industry-wide shortage of qualified entry-level candidates for low-level software engineering jobs in general, and the Linux kernel in particular. We created, developed, and teach an "Introduction to Linux Kernel" development course to University of Massachusetts Lowell students and anyone who is interested. We recruit qualified students from our class to internship programs within Red Hat, and we promote the best interns to hiring managers with the aim of bringing them into the industry as full time software engineers. We have pulled together this program from scratch over the past few years, iterating our program and curriculum design in order to stand the program on its feet. As an established program, we plan to continue to scale our program and strengthen our partnerships, including a recent one with the Linux Foundation, in order to bring Linux kernel and low-level software engineering education to a larger audience and global talent pool.

A spectre is haunting the Linux kernel... the spectre of time!

Throughout the industry, we have observed a shortage of qualified entry-level software engineers focused on the low-level niche, and especially within the sub-niche of the Linux kernel. As young, novice software engineers, we noticed this problem, and we quickly became aware that we were far from the only ones to do so. Engineers and managers of all levels within our industry niche have observed -- both privately and publicly -- that we must bring new talent into these spaces, and we must do so urgently. We have seen firsthand among the many talented and experienced engineers firsthand and we have benefited greatly from their guidance and mentorship, but we know that this opportunity will not last forever. Time spares no one, not even the engineers from the days of Digital Equipment Corporation.

We have come to understand the invaluable and non-quantifiable nature of the tribal knowledge that exists distributed among the great engineers of our industry, and we believe that we must act quickly to enable them to pass on the torch, to strengthen the next link of the great chain of our relatively young but quickly maturing industry.

With this understanding, we have created the Kernel Development Learning Pipeline, a program to bridge the gaps between academia and industry, between the novice and the legend, between the past and the future.


Photo of Joel Savitz Joel Savitz