I currently work in a professional capacity as a software engineer working with the Android OS. We work at integrating our platform as a native daemon among other facets of the project. I primarily work in Java developing the SDK and Android applications, but get to help with the platform in C/C++.
Anywho, I have a great interest to work professionally developing low level for linux. I am not unhappy in my current position and will hang around as long as the company lets me (as a matter of fact I quite enjoy working there!), but I would like to work my way that direction. I've been working through Linux Kernel Development (Robert Love) and The Linux Programming Interface (Michael Kerrisk) (In addition to strengthening my C skills at every chance I get) and casually browsing Monster and similar sites.
The problem I see is, there are no entry level positions. How does one break into this field? Anytime I see "Linux Systems Programmer" or "Linux Device Driver Programmer" they all require at the minimum 5-7 years of relevant experience. They want someone who knows the ropes, not a junior level programmer (I've been working for 7 months now...).
So, I'm assuming, that some of you on stackoverflow work in a professional capacity doing just what I would like to do. How did you get there? What platforms did you use to work your way there? Am I going to have a more difficult time because I have my bachelors in CSC as opposed to a computer engineer (where they would experience a bit more embedded, asm, etc)?
EDIT FOR CLARIFICATION! I am aware of the opensource nature of the linux kernel/drivers etc. I plan on contributing regardless of where my day job is. I'm more curious of what kinds of entry level positions will allow me to do relevant work and get paid doing it! Thanks for all the replies so far!