Kubernetes jobs market trends for 2023 Q1
Published in May 2023
The average US salary for a Kubernetes job was $123,126 in Q1 2022, has it increased in Q1 2023? If so, by how much?
Are the popular technologies for 2022, i.e. AWS, Docker, Jenkins still relevant in Q1 2023?
What about work experience? Is it still needed to be mentioned more in job descriptions?
The answers to the above questions (and perhaps more) await us in analysing the job data for Q1 2023.
Let's see what we find out.
Before we go ahead, here are a few facts about our dataset:
- At Kube Careers, we solely focus on Kubernetes Jobs.
- The dataset is comparitively small — a total of 102 job descriptions from January to March, 2023.
- If a job doesn't have a clear salary range, we discard it. Many job offers don't indicate a salary range, and we think this is not good for engineers looking for work.
- We discarded job offers from recruitment agencies.
- We have analysed listings on platforms used primarily by European and American audiences.
Do consider the above factors while looking at the numbers.
You can also download this report as a PDF here.
Table of contents
- Where are most Kubernetes job offers located?
- What's the salary range?
- How often are certifications listed as a requirement?
- How relevant is CI/CD experience for a Kubernetes job?
- How important are configuration management tools for a Kubernetes job?
- How much work experience is required for Kubernetes jobs?
- Infrastructure location: where do companies host their clusters?
- What about monitoring stack? Which tools are popular?
- On-call rotation, how often is it a requirement?
- Which popular technologies other than Kubernetes should you learn?
- Which programming languages are in demand?
- Service meshes: is there a demand for such tools?
- Final Remarks
Where are most Kubernetes job offers located?
Of the 102 jobs we published in this quarter, 36 of these came from Europe!
Not so far away (not geographically), North America came in a close second with 33 jobs.
Third in line was the Asia-Pacific region with 26 jobs, while the remote-only jobs we published this quarter were just 7.
Was the situation different in Q1 2022?
The difference between the two quarters is:
- The increase in North American jobs.
- The decrease in remote-only jobs (more on this later)
How did this change happen?
The dataset is too small to derive conclusive patterns for a shift in geographical tendencies.
Here are our two cents:
- While remote working has been adopted wholeheartedly by the tech community, the trend has moved from remote only to remote (hybrid) or remote working in a specific region. Thus there has been a drop in remote-only jobs. You can read this LinkedIn Labour market report for more details.
- Since most remote-only jobs have been from North America, these have shifted to a more remote (US) or remote (Canada) setup, increasing the number of North American jobs. These US giants have stopped fully remote work.
What about remote working in 2023?
Of the 102 job descriptions we posted this quarter, 60 (58%) mentioned a remote working nature.
Mind you, we are talking about remote work mentions here.
This could be remote working in a particular country/region, remote-hybrid, or remote worldwide.
Has remote work mentions dropped year-on-year?
If we normalise the remote mentions for Q1 of 2022 and 2023, here is what we get:
Very little separates the two quarters, so what has changed?
The answer lies in how the working trends have changed in 2023.
How have the working trends changed in Q1 2023?
It is evident where the trends are headed!
- 53 jobs (out of the 102 we published this quarter) mentioned a Remote + Office working requirement.
- On the other hand, there were 42 jobs stating an Office only working nature, while seven jobs were remote only.
Did the first quarter of 2022 also exhibit similar trends?
Here are the notable differences year-on-year:
- Remote + Office jobs have increased by 14% from Q1 2022.
- Office-only jobs have almost been the same between the two quarters.
- Remote-only jobs have decreased by 12% from Q1 2022.
What could be the contributing factors to this trend?
_We can't know for sure, but looking at the global trends, we can say that:
- Unlike in 2021 (or the start of 2022), remote working isn't an obligation.
- Since companies are calling employees to the offices, they also offer Remote + Office roles instead of fully remote ones. You can read this and this article to get more insight.
Again, we are speculating here. We'd love to hear from you if you understand this trend more deeply.
What's the salary range?
This quarter we have divided the salary ranges into two categories, the first being for North American jobs in USD and the second being for European jobs in Euros.
Salary ranges for North American Kubernetes job opportunities
The minimum salary offered in North America, on average, stands at $125,898, while the maximum salary (on average) offered stands at $169,719.
The Highest salary range is between $245,000-245,000.
So, have the salaries increased year-on-year?
Or have they stayed the same?
Or worse, have they decreased?
Yes, the salaries have increased through the year, but how much?
Let's find out.
Here are the points to note:
- The average minimum salary has increased by 3% over Q1 2022.
- The average maximum salary has increased by 2% as well.
- And the highest salary range has also increased by 5%!
Overall, it can be said that the salary increase is between 3-5%, which is up to date with the current inflation rates for the US, and also falls inline with the average wage increase in the US.)
Salary ranges for European Kubernetes job opportunities
The minimum salary offered in Europe, on average, stands at €87,378, while the maximum salary (on average) offered stands at €113,010.
The highest salary in Europe is €150,862 - €167,025.
Notably, the average minimum salary has increased by 5% since Q1 2022.
Do take this with a grain of salt.
Europe is a vast, diverse continent consisting of countries with varied costs of living, economies, and technological status.
The above numbers are for representation only, and we have yet to do a deep, thorough analysis to draw any concrete conclusions.
We took all the salaries from European countries, normalised them, and converted them to Euros.
How often are certifications listed as a requirement?
Explicit mentions of certifications are a rare affair when it comes to Kubernetes jobs!
In Q1 2023, more than 94% of the jobs didn't mention a need for certification.
This could be due to multiple reasons.
The demand for Kubernetes experts is far greater than the available talent pool.
So while having a certification is an excellent way to distinguish yourself from the crowd isn't necessarily a priority for employers.
Was this the case in previous years as well?
Yes, it was.
- Even in Q1 2022, more than 88% of the jobs didn't explicitly mention certifications.
- In fact, even if we go back to Q1 2021, there too almost 85% of the jobs didn't list any certification as a requirement.
What about the certifications that were mentioned in the job descriptions?
Interestingly, there were multiple instances wherein job descriptions cited more than one certification requirement.
What's more interesting is that every job listing that cited a certification also mentioned the AWS certification!
Of the jobs that mentioned a need for certification:
- 100% of these mentioned the AWS certifications.
- 33% of these mentioned the Kubernetes certifications.
- While 16% mentioned the Azure and Microsoft Certified System Engineer (MCSE) certifications.
What's the trend for Kubernetes certifications for Q1 2023?
Each job description that mentioned Kubernetes certification did so whilst mentioning all three Kubernetes certifications!
Thus in Q1 2023, all the Kubernetes certifications were equally popular.
What needs to be considered is that only 2% of the jobs this quarter mentioned a requirement for Kubernetes certification; thus, we can't draw conclusive patterns of Kubernetes certification popularity.
What about the Cloud provider certifications?
Of the total job descriptions that mentioned cloud provider certifications:
- All of these mentioned a need for AWS certifications.
- There were multiple instances wherein more than one cloud provider certification was mentioned.
- AWS was followed by Azure certifications, while there were no mentions of the GCP certifications in this quarter.
How relevant is CI/CD experience for a Kubernetes job?
It's highly relevant — even if you are a developer!
In Q1 2023, almost 56% of the jobs mentioned a need for experience in Continuous Integration/Continuous Deployment methodologies.
Which are the most popular CI/CD tools?
Regarding specifics, Gitlab was the most popular among CI/CD tools with 40% (percentage of the total job descriptions that mentioned CI/CD) representation.
Mind you; there were instances wherein job descriptions mentioned more than one CI/CD tool.
The popularity order after that was:
- Jenkins (33%)
- Azure DevOps (12%)
- GitHub Actions (7%)
- Bamboo (5%)
Were the same tools popular in Q1 2022 as well?
There was a difference.
Here are the notable differences between the two quarters:
- Jenkins was the most popular CI/CD tool in Q1 2022 (and also all the quarterly reports of 2022), and interestingly Gitlab has overtaken it to take the top spot this quarter. Here's a good article that compares the two tools.
- Circle CI and Travis CI were far more popular in Q1 of 2022 than in Q1 of 2023.
Overall, if you are well verse with Gitlab and Jenkins, you are more than fit to apply for Kubernetes jobs.
How important are configuration management tools for a Kubernetes job?
These are important for Kubernetes jobs.
In this quarter, almost 52% of the jobs we published mentioned needing experience using configuration management tools.
Interestingly, this metric has dropped by 6% year-on-year.
Of the mentioned configuration management tools, which ones are popular?
Regarding specifics, Terraform is still the most popular Configuration management tool, with 41% mentions (of the total jobs published).
In fact, Terraform has been the most popular choice for the last four quarters! Here's an article that compares Terraform with the others.
Ansible and Infrastructure as Code come in 2nd and 3rd place with 29% and 27% representation.
Other notable mentions were:
- Chef and Puppet with 11% and 9% popularity.
- Cloudformation and Pulumi with 8% and 7% representation.
How much work experience is required for Kubernetes jobs?
In Q1 2023,
- Only 35% of our published jobs mentioned the required work experience.
- Interestingly, this metric has increased by 7% compared to Q1 of 2022.
Of the ones that mentioned experience, what is the preference?
Looking at the charts, it's visibly apparent what the companies are looking for: Senior-level experience.
Off all the jobs that mentioned work experience (36 in total),
- 80% of these mentioned a Senior level experience (4-6 years).
- Followed by Junior (0-1 years) and Mid-level (2-3 years) experience with 16% and 4% representation.
- There were no mentions of Veteran level (7+ years) experience.
Is senior-level experience always the most sought-after?
To understand this better, let's plot the data for Q1 2023 and all the quarters of 2022.
Here are some noteworthy points from the analysis:
- Without confusion, Senior level experience is the most sought-after for Kubernetes jobs.
- Although a distant second, Mid-level experience has been consistent across the quarters.
- There was a single mention of Veteran-level experience in Q1, Q2, and Q3 of 2022, and no mentions for the next two quarters.
- There has been a massive increase in Junior-level roles in Q1 of 2023. Let me disclose: We have pushed more junior roles in Q1 2023 since we found a huge void of junior roles.
Infrastructure location: where do companies host their clusters?
Of the total jobs we published,
- 58% of these mentioned AWS as their preferred hosting location.
- What's more interesting is that of all the job descriptions that disclosed infrastructure locations, almost 76% of these included AWS!
- AWS also came out as a Cloud Infrastructure and Platform Services leader in Gartner's annual report.
Being distant to AWS's popularity but closer to each other, Azure and GCP were mentioned in 35% and 31% of the total job descriptions we published in Q1 2023.
On-premise and OpenStack were 4th and 5th with 9% and 8% representation.
As you can see, the others were Multicloud and Oracle Cloud, with 2% representation each.
Has the choice of infrastructure location changed over the quarters?
Yes, it has, but not by much.
If we take a view of all the quarters in 2022 and Q1 of 2023 for infrastructure location, here's what we find:
Points to note from the above chart are:
- AWS is most preferred infrastructure location.
- GCP and Azure take turns to take the distant second spot.
- Although a little down in Q2 and Q3 of 2022, on-premise remains steady at the 4th position.
What about monitoring stack? Which tools are popular?
In Q1 2023, out of the 102 jobs we published, only 17 mentioned a need for a monitoring tool experience.
Has monitoring tools experience always been less popular among job requirements?
Even in Q1 of 2022, only 23% of the jobs we published mentioned a monitoring tool experience requirement.
While the percentage of mentions isn't significant, it isn't minuscule either.
Let's look at the popular monitoring tools mentioned in job descriptions
Of all the jobs that mentioned monitoring tools, 82% mentioned Prometheus!
A distant second was Datadog with 29%, and the third was NewRelic with 17% representation.
The top 3 order was the same in Q1 of 2022 as well: Promithues > Datadog > NewRelic
On-call rotation, how often is it a requirement?
For most, it's an obligation that's part of the job.
But there's good news!
In Q1 of 2023, of the 102 jobs we published, only eight of these mentioned a need for being on-call!
Even more interesting is the trend through the last five quarters.
If we look at the numbers, Q1 2023 has been the quarter with the minor on-call mentions!
On-call doesn't have to suck though, here's an interesting article on how Ably manages their on-call processes.
Which popular technologies other than Kubernetes should you learn?
The following list is an excellent guide for engineers seeking to round out their skill sets.
The most popular choices of technology among Kubernetes engineers are:
- Programming languages: Python, Java and Go.
- Containers: Docker.
- Operating systems: Linux.
- Infrastructure as Code: Terraform.
- Database management: PostgreSQL.
- Configuration management: Ansible.
- CI/CD: Gitlab.
It's essential to notice that if you already master Docker, CI/CD, and Python, you can confidently apply for more than 60% of job offers.
How have these technologies trended over the past year?
If we take the five most popular technologies in this quarter, here's how they have trended over the year:
Points to note here are:
- Docker has been mentioned the most (which is pretty obvious).
- All the other technologies have shown the same deviation path.
Which programming languages are in demand?
Python remains the preferred programming language for the cloud, with almost 50% mentions of the total jobs published.
Here's an interesting blog post from Github on Why Python keeps growing.
Interestingly, shell scripting comes in second with 26% popularity.
There were multiple instances wherein more than one programming language was mentioned for a single job listing.
Other important programming languages include:
- Java (21%)
- Golang (20%)
- Typescript (10%)
Were the same programming languages popular in 2022?
What hasn't changed throughout the quarters is:
- Python is the undisputed champion in popular programming languages.
And what has changed, though, is:
- Golang (Go), Java, and Shell have traded places in Q1 2023.
Service meshes: is there a demand for such tools?
Of the 102 jobs we published in Q1 2023, only 3 mentioned a requirement for service mesh experience.
Gosh! We did a lot of data mining here. We hope you found some gold at the end!
Did you like what you read? Could it have been better? We appreciate your feedback, so please feel free to share it.
Are you hiring Kubernetes engineers? Kube Careers can help you reach the best candidates in the market. Get in touch at [email protected], and we’ll help you find a good fit