Kubernetes jobs market (Q2 2021)
Published in July 2021
What are the latest trends in the Kubernetes job market?
In this report, you will get a sense of what to expect when looking for a Kubernetes job.
Before we start, a few words on the data.
The job descriptions that we collected are slightly skewed:
- At Kube careers, we only focus on Kubernetes jobs.
- 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 analysed listings on platforms used by European and American audiences.
- The dataset is small — only 113 job descriptions from April, May and June 2021.
Keep these factors in mind while we dive into the numbers.
Where are most Kubernetes job offers located?
We analyzed a total of 113 jobs across the world. Predictably, North America and Western Europe (37 and 36 job descriptions, respectively) were the most prominent locations.
What about working remotely?
The industry continues to figure out where it stands concerning remote working.
Positions advertised as including remote work rose steadily since last quarter.
However, the percentage of jobs that are remote-only actually fell.
What's the salary range?
Because the dataset has job listings from several currencies, we only analysed the job description from the US market (32 job descriptions).
The minimum USD salary offered for a Kubernetes engineer, on average, in our dataset, is $119,438. The maximum offered on average is $163,688.
These represent a modest increase of about $3,500 each since last quarter.
The highest paying USD salary registered at a maximum range of $260,000-280,000.
How do Kubernetes jobs measure up against similar DevOps positions?
According to Glassdoor US, the average DevOps engineer salary is $103,290.
The Kubernetes career path continues to be lucrative, representing a 30-40% increase over standard DevOps careers on average.
Are remote jobs popular?
Hybrid jobs continue to be the way to go.
Remote+office jobs account for the majority of job advertisements, more than purely remote or office jobs combined.
The work-from-home trend that started in 2020 does not appear to be slowing down, as the second quarter of 2021 kept up its momentum.
Am I more likely to be invited to an interview if I have a certification?
What role does a certification play in Kubernetes employment?
Certifications are nice to have but largely not seen as a requirement.
Employers mentioned certifications in only 11 job listings.
The remaining 102 (90%) did not mention a certification at all.
Kubernetes certifications were at the top of the list of certificate requirements.
AWS and Kubernetes continue to be the most requested certifications.
GCP certificates have overtaken Azure, but the numbers are too low for being statistically relevant.
CKA remains the most requested certification of the official Kubernetes certificates, with CKAD not far behind.
It makes sense if you consider that CKA is the longest-running certification, and the CKS can only be attempt if you already own the CKA.
AWS certifications are the leaders among cloud provider certifications, being as important as the GCP and Azure certifications combined.
What's the average number of years of experience required?
Kubernetes job descriptions tend to focus on your skills, not your demographics.
More than half of the postings in our dataset don’t mention experience at all.
There appears to be no market for entry-level engineers — our dataset had no postings for junior Kubernetes engineers with little to no experience.
It seems that most employers are not willing to hire juniors with limited Kubernetes experience.
The vast majority of employers are looking for senior Kubernetes engineers with 4-6 years of experience.
The number of postings looking for engineers with more than seven years of experience went down since last quarter, however, further bucking the trend of filtering candidates by experience.
Call me, maybe?
About 15% of job advertisers expected their engineers to be on call.
Perhaps refreshingly for potential job seekers, this statistic is down almost 25% from the previous quarter.
As more companies transition to a remote and geographically distributed workforce, 24-hour on-call shifts might be a thing of the past.
What cloud provider is popular?
Cloud providers and cloud-related terms were mentioned 187 times in 113 job descriptions.
In other words, many job descriptions mentioned more than a single cloud provider.
And nearly a quarter of advertisers appear to be rolling their own private clouds, eschewing the major players.
As expected, AWS is a requirement for the majority of the job descriptions being as popular as Azure and GCP combined.
What technology should I learn other than Kubernetes?
The most popular choices of technology among Kubernetes engineers are:
• Programming languages: Python, Go and Java. • Cloud platforms: AWS, GCP and Azure (in that order). • Containers: Docker. • Operating systems: Linux. • Infrastructure as Code: Terraform. • Database management: PostgreSQL. • Configuration management: Ansible. • CI/CD: Jenkins.
It's essential to notice that if you already master Python and AWS, you can confidently apply for more than 60% of job offers.
Should I learn Docker before I learn Kubernetes?
Docker is mentioned in more than half of the advertisements in our dataset.
While many job descriptions don't even bother mentioning it, Docker is required for many others and is rising.
Top configuration management and infrastructure as code tools
Terraform and Ansible are the most popular tools for infrastructure configuration, by far.
Although as many as 47 of 113 ads didn't mention configuration tools, configuration tools appear far more popular this quarter than the last.
Here’s hoping this trend continues.
What programming language is popular?
Python is still the king of the cloud, appearing in more than two-thirds of job advertisements specifying a programming language.
Go is rapidly gaining ground, being mentioned 45 times. Other important programming languages include Java, Shell scripting and SQL.
Is there anyone using Service meshes in prod?
This quarter hasn’t done much for service meshes — they’re still barely visible.
Almost 95% of postings don't mention a service mesh.
Istio finds seven mentions, and Consul makes one solitary appearance.
But eight mentions is still a huge step-up from last quarter — a 150% increase, to be specific.
What's the favourite monitoring stack?
Prometheus continues to be the most popular monitoring tool by far.
Datadog is a distant second and on the rise.
What are your CI/CD pipelines built with?
Unsurprisingly, Jenkins is still the market leader.
Almost half of CI/CD mentions refer to Jenkins (note, this is not Jenkins X).
Gitlab is a distant second, while the remaining market is fractured.
And that's it!
Hopefully, this report provides you with some indications of the types of skills and experience employers look for when hiring for Kubernetes engineering positions.
Did you spot a mistake?
Do you think there should be a new category?