A command language and a Unix shell, Bash was created by Brian Fox in 1989 specifically for the GNU Project. Bash is free software intended to replace the Bourne shell (the current default Unix shell). As Bash is a successor of the Bourne shell (sh), all built-in commands available in Bourne are also available in Bash. Much like other GNU software, Bash is a portable piece of software, running on several Operating Systems. The Bash shell has been used as the default login shell for most of the Linux OS releases, there is even a compatible version available for Windows 10, and Bash is the default user shell for Solaris 11. It used to be the default shell for every Apple macOS, but that changed after the release of the macOS Catalina in 2019. However, Bash remains as an alternative shell for the macOS systems released since then. This tells us that Bash is a widely used piece of software. But what does it do? And why is it so important?

To understand that, we must first define the word 'shell' in our current context. A 'shell' is, in essence, a command interpreter. A piece of software that takes commands and executes them. Bash, however, is a Unix shell. This means it can act as both a command interpreter and a programming language. In Bash's capacity as a command interpreter, it provides a UI to the GNU utilities available. The programming language aspect allows a developer to combine the utilities to form something new and customized. Additionally, files can be written to hold commands and then have them executed as a command itself. This allows for a greater level of customization and automation.

Bash is a worthwhile skill for small development teams and for those who work with Unix. The scope for automation and custom work environments provided makes Bash an excellent skill to know. For any employer with a small development team, hiring a Bash developer would be a boon.

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Bash is a command processor run through a text window - which can be used through manual commands and shell scripts. Bash is a GNU software; therefore, it is compatible with many other shells and operating systems - as we discussed above. It is almost entirely adaptable with the Bourne shell (sh), incorporates advantageous features from the C shell (csh) and Korn shell (ksh); furthermore, Bash is designed to be a conformant implementation of the IEEE POSIX shell and its Tools portion. Bash is a POSIX-compliant shell because of this, with the added advantage of several extensions. Because of these unique features, Bash edges out the Bourne shell (sh) in programming and interactive use.

Like many other shells, Bash can be used interactively (synchronous) and non-interactively (asynchronous). What does this mean? In the first instance, any command executed will have to be inputted manually. In the second instance, commands will be executed automatically based on a pre-written file - also known as a shell script. This allows you to have non-interactive functions run simultaneously with an interactive command. Pre-written files can be used to set custom commands which can run with already built-in ones.

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Important Features of Bash

The potential of Bash and the varied ways it can be used is vast. Below is a list (not exclusive by any means) of the ways Bash can be used:

  • The interactive functions can be used for command-line editing, command history, aliases, and job control - this, in conjunction with non-interactive functions, allows for fine control of all input and output data. All of this is routine software developer work which is necessary for every aspiring dev to know.
  • Like many other Unix shells, Bash has support for filename globbing or wildcard matching.
  • There is also support for piping, command substitution, variables, here documents, and provides control structures for condition-testing and iteration in software.
  • Bash has support for basic debugging of software, command-line completion, brace expansion, and signal handling.
  • The cross-compatibility, central to Bash, means that shell scripts written in Bourne can be run with Bash without any editing. There are a few exceptions to this, but it holds for the most part.
  • Bash is crucial to understand the intricacies of Unix infrastructure and use a Unix environment to code.
  • Once again, Bash is a lifesaver in small or solo development teams because it allows for the construction of customized work environments which are automated to help increase productivity. Automating repetitive and mundane tasks - like, setting up alarms or tailing logs - is super convenient and a time saver.
  • Bash can be a miracle worker as a troubleshooting developer. This is because of the data that the various tails and pipes collect that can be set up using Bash.

Responsibilities and Skills of Bash Developers

A Bash developer's most important role is to work with Bash to operate on multiple files through command lines.

Required Skills

A list of skills that is useful for a Bash developer to learn besides the needed familiarity with the Bash software is listed below:

  • Familiarity with Linux systems is an absolute must as this is, after all, a Unix shell.
  • A background in software infrastructure design is also crucial - this is given as this is the primary use for Bash. SQL, MySQL, etcetera, are beneficial to know for this as well.
  • It's also beneficial to know other common command languages like HTML, JavaScript, CSS, and Python.
  • Creativity and ingenuity are always necessary for a good software developer to help them create unique products and solutions.

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Skuad can help you hire certified and experienced Bash Developers from all over the world based on your hiring requirements, be it freelance, full-time, or contract.

Salary Structure of Bash Developers

PayScale has reported US $70,318 per year as the average pay available in the United States for a Software Developer with Bash skills as of October 2020. The starting salary is a reported estimate of US $51,000 per year, with the higher end being estimated at US $99,000 per year.

For the same position in India, PayScale has reported a median salary of US $7,893 per year as of June 2021. The numbers vary greatly depending on the job you are qualified for. For example, senior positions can pull in a salary of US $26,776 per year in India. These salaries are evaluated on the assumption that the jobs are contracted, permanent and full-time.

Freelancing and Contractual Basis Work

Being hired as a Bash Developer is likely to be contract-based and full-time. This is because Bash itself is used in constructing and managing software systems from scratch. This is better suited to long-term and permanent work and not freelance, short-term, and temporary positions. But if you have exceptional skills in Bash development, you can always try to look for projects on the side for additional income.

Bash Certification

Bash as a skill offers an edge to any software developer. It lends to creating unique software and allows you to work with and in multiple environments - Bash is a particularly handy skill if there is a need to work with Unix. Working with Unix would be quite hard without a background in Bash. As an employer, hiring a Bash Developer means having an invaluable asset added to your team. This is especially true if the development team is a smaller one, ensuring a greater level of automation for the more mundane work. This, in turn, equals a greater level of productivity. So, what are you waiting for?

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