Vikrant Mane
Vikrant Mane

Kubernetes jobs market trends for 2021

Published in January 2022

Kubernetes jobs market trends for 2021

What are the latest trends in the Kubernetes Job Market?

What skillsets do companies prefer while recruiting?

What should you expect when applying for a Kubernetes job?

Let's try to answer these questions and many more with this trend report for 2021.

Before we start, a few points worth mentioning:

  1. At Kube Careers, we solely focus on Kubernetes Jobs.
  2. The dataset is comparatively small — a total of 276 job descriptions from January to December 2021.
  3. If a job doesn't have a clear salary range, we discard it. Many job offers don't indicate a salary range, which is not suitable for engineers looking for work.
  4. We discarded job offers from recruitment agencies.
  5. We have analysed listings on platforms used by European and American audiences.

Do keep the above factors in mind while looking at the numbers.

Let's go!

Which quarter in 2021 had the most job listings?

Let's look at how job listings have varied with each quarter in 2021.

Job listings per quarter

On the surface, Q3 seems like the recruitment quarter with the most job listings, while Q2 seems like an ignored quarter.

But dive deeper, and you realize that most countries had imposed strict COVID restrictions in Q2, which were gradually eased later.

Respite is that normal operations have resumed in the Kubernetes job market.

Where are the most Kubernetes job offers located?

As per our dataset, North America and Europe are the most preferred job locations with 30% and 29% of the job listings, respectively.

This metric is fairly biased as our audience is primarily based in Europe and North America.

Southeast Asia sits at the 4th spot with almost 15% representation.

Jobs by region

The rise of Remote only jobs?

Refreshingly, more than 21% of the job listings mention a Remote only working environment.

The industry has shown a positive acceptance of the remote working trend, a good sign of the times ahead.

For a more in-depth analysis of the Remote working trend, you can skip to the relevant section.

What's the salary range?

Because the dataset has job listings from several currencies, we analysed the job descriptions from the US market only (79 job descriptions in total).

Salary range in USD

The minimum salary offered in the US, on average, stands at $123,494, while the maximum salary (on average) offered stands at $162,177.

The Highest salary range is between $200,000-260,000.

Also, from Q1 to Q4 of this year, the minimum average salary has increased by 10%.

How essential are certifications for a Kubernetes job? And if so, which are the important ones?

How much importance do companies give to certifications for Kubernetes jobs?

Not much, it seems.

Of all the job descriptions (276 in total), 253 have no mention of a certification requirement, equal to a staggering 91.66%.

This means only 23 job descriptions have a mention of certifications requirement.

This is reflected in all of the quarters for 2021.

Certifications mentioned (or not)

AWS and the Kubernetes certifications continue to top the charts (literally), while GCP and Azure certifications take the 3rd and the 4th spot, with little separating them in terms of mentions.

Popular Certifications mentioned

What's the trend for Kubernetes certifications for 2021?

Overall, CKA remains the most sought-after Kubernetes Certifications throughout all the quarters.

The popularity of CKA is justified as it is the longest-running Kubernetes Certification. Since you can't attempt the CKS without clearing the CKA, the lower numbers for CKS are understandable.

Kubernetes Certification popularity

What about cloud provider certifications?

AWS seems to be the most sought-after cloud provider certifications, with more than 65% mentions.

While Azure and GCP certifications garner 19% and 15% of the mentions, respectively.

Cloud Provider Certifications

Are configuration management tools relevant for a Kubernetes job?

More than 57% of the job listings have mentioned at least one configuration management tool experience as a requirement in our dataset.

Thus, it can be said that an experience with configuration management tools sure aids one's chances of landing a Kubernetes job.

Configuration Management tool experience mentions

As seen in the chart, Terraform dominates the requirement, with Ansible in second place at almost half the numbers.

Puppet, Chef, and Cloudformation appeared in 5% of the job descriptions.

Popular Configuration Management tools

Docker as a prerequisite for Kubernetes

Docker is mentioned in more than half of the job listings in our dataset.

Still, we were expecting to see a higher number, given that it is a prerequisite for deploying containers in Kubernetes.

Perhaps everyone already switched to Podman?!

Docker mentions

What's the average number of years of experience required?

On the surface, it does seem like experience isn't far too crucial for a Kubernetes job, as more than 58% of the jobs didn't mention it.

Job experience mentioned

Of the ones that mentioned experience, what is the polarity?

It's apparent that a Senior-level experience (4-6 years) is the most sought after, a trend which has gradually increased with each quarter.

Also, in 2021, there wasn't even a single listing for a Junior-level (0-1 years) experience.

Preferred job experience trend

The second most preferred was a Mid-level experience of 2 to 3 years.

A trend which slipped a little with each quarter.

Also worth noting is the subdued demand for Veteran (7+ years) engineers, perhaps due to Kubernetes being a newer technology (I'm sure you are aware of the popular meme on this subject).

In our dataset of 276 job listings, 433 instances of either a cloud provider or a cloud-related term were mentioned.

Meaning job descriptions mentioned more than one cloud provider per listing.

Among these, AWS sits at the very top, with GCP and Azure coming in at a distant second.

Surprisingly, GCP is a bit more popular than Azure.

Despite the trends suggesting a move to the cloud, there is still a sizeable number of job descriptions that mention on-premise installations.

Popular Cloud providers

The constants for 2021 were:

  • AWS is at the top.
  • GCP and Azure showcase almost identical numbers.
  • On-premise steadily appears at the bottom of the chart.
Top Cloud provider trend

What about monitoring stack? Which is the favourite?

Only 23% of the job listings mentioned a monitoring tool experience in our dataset.

Monitoring tools experience mention

Of the monitoring tools mentioned, Prometheus takes the cake here, and that too by a long shot, with Datadog a distant second.

Also, tools such as Thanos and Nagios are getting less traction.

Popular Monitoring tools

Call me, maybe?

Only 15% of the jobs require the engineer to be on-call, which is definitely a positive trend for the future.

With work-life balance awareness levels high, this stat will be highly appreciated.

The metrics make sense if you consider that more jobs are remote and the workforce tends to be distributed globally.

Mentions of 'On-Call'

Has this been the trend throughout the quarters?

Mostly yes.

The year started with Q1 registering the highest on-call mentions in job descriptions, which declined each quarter.

The trend did go up in Q4, but nowhere close to the numbers in Q1.

Overall, there has been a decline in this trend in 2021.

On-Call requirement trend

While Kubernetes is the norm here, learning other technologies sure aids one's resume.

Popular Technologies

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.
  • Infrastructure as Code: Terraform.
  • Databases: PostgreSQL, Redis, and MySQL.
  • Configuration management: Ansible.
  • CI/CD: Jenkins.

It's essential to notice that you can confidently apply for more than 60% of the job offers if you have already mastered Python and AWS.

What about Programming languages? Which ones are the most in-demand?

Python continues to be the preferred programming language for the cloud, with more than 63% representation.

Go is gaining ground with more than 53% popularity.

Other important programming languages include Shell, Java, JavaScript, and Ruby.

Popular programming languages

What's evident through the quarters is how Python continued to be the most popular among the programming languages, with Go coming in at a close second, only to overtake Python, ever so slightly, in Q4.

This shows how vital an advantage you can have when applying for a Kubernetes job if you master, or at least learn, Python or Go.

Shell and Java crossed paths (literally) in terms of popularity, only for Shell to take 3rd place, while Java settled for 4th for the remaining three quarters.

Programming languages trend

Service meshes: is there a demand for such skills?

Not very apparent.

Only 5% of the jobs have displayed or mentioned a requirement for service meshes.

Service Mesh mentions

Of these, Istio continues to be the most preferred, with Consul garnering three mentions and Linkerd showcasing no mentions:

Overall the data is tiny, and it's hard to conclude how used these tools are.

Popular Service mesh

What's the Remote jobs scenario like?

There is certainly a rise in Remote jobs worldwide.

With the advent of Work From Home (WFH) and the globalisation of services, remote jobs continue to rise.

In our dataset, more than 65% of the jobs have mentioned Remote working in their descriptions.

However, it needs to be noted that there exist different types of remote jobs, and not all are entirely office-free.

As can be seen, a hybrid of r_emote + office_ jobs continues to lead the trends, followed by o_ffice-only_, and then comes Remote only.

Remote vs Office

How has the scenario changed for all the quarters?

Hybrid jobs (remote + office) have been the most preferred form of working, with Office-only jobs declining after Q2.

What's interesting to see is the steady rise of remote-only jobs with each quarter.

Remote-only mentions have grown at a staggering 160% in Q4 from the levels in Q1.

More remote-only jobs will surely be on the cards for the following year. Watch this space for more.

Remote jobs trend

Final Remarks

Phew! That was quite some data-mining there!

Hopefully, you've learned all the skills/tools expertise companies are looking for when hiring a Kubernetes Engineer.

How did you find our report? Could it have been better?

Would you have liked us to include a new category?

Let us know!