Kubernetes in 2020 (and how it’s shaking up tech careers)

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From rapidly automating deployment to its self-healing capabilities, Kubernetes (or K8s) has revolutionized how tech teams deploy and manage containerized apps at scale, which is pretty remarkable considering it was released into the wild just five years ago.

With the support of a number of big-name companies, including Microsoft, RedHat and IBM (and Docker actively contributing to the project from the start), this trending open-source container management tool has surged in popularity to become the market leader. According to a recent Cloud Native Computing Foundation survey, Kubernetes is a top choice (by far) in container management, with 83% of respondents using it.

Since it’s one of the top 10 fastest-rising tech skills on Indeed and a standard for container orchestration, we’re bringing you a deeper look at employer demand and talent interest based on job postings from the job search site—along with what stepping into a Kubernetes career might look like.

Recent employer and candidate trends affecting Kubernetes careers

Good news for anyone keen on Kubernetes: Year-over-year demand for this container tool has increased dramatically since 2015. Indeed data shows that in the four-year period between October 2015 and October 2019, the share of Kubernetes jobs per million grew by 2,141.03% while the share of Kubernetes job searches increased 2,125.66%.

Since it was only released in 2015, that exponential growth isn’t surprising, though it’s notable that we see a balance between both employer and candidate interest in Kubernetes. Data from the most recent year, however, not only tells us that overall interest has cooled off a bit, but more so on the talent side. From October 2018 to October 2019, the share of Kubernetes jobs per million rose 53.33%, but the share of Kubernetes job searches saw a mere .85% gain.

Top 5 Kubernetes careers in tech

All in all, it’s a good time to flex your Kubernetes skills with employer demand growing faster than candidate interest. According to Indeed job postings, here are the five tech roles that call for Kubernetes talent most.

You may not be surprised to see roles linked to DevOps and cloud on this list as they share a symbiotic relationship. Each on its own is a helping hand in reaching business goals, but when implemented together, companies can achieve far greater results to increase competitiveness in this digital age. And being provider-agnostic, Kubernetes is the de facto standard platform when adopting DevOps in any cloud-native environment.

Kelsey Hightower, coauthor of Kubernetes Up & Running, says:

“Kubernetes does the things that the very best system administrator would do: automation, failover, centralized logging, monitoring. It takes what we’ve learned in the DevOps community and makes it the default, out of the box.”

For dev teams, when Kubernetes steps in to manage the dev and deployment lifecycle, from automating feature rollouts with zero downtime to performing node and container health checks (even self-heal), they can focus more on features and functions and less on tedious tasks. And because Kubernetes is largely used with Docker software packages, it allows software engineers and developers to push products to production even faster and more reliably than when using Docker alone.

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Companies hiring the most for Kubernetes roles

With how fast Kubernetes has gained traction and support, we looked at job postings on Indeed to find out what companies are hiring for this skill.

IBM

IBM offers one of the first fully managed Kubernetes offerings, IBM Cloud Kubernetes Service, renamed in 2018 from IBM Cloud Container Service, which has deployed over 16,000 production clusters that support billions of transactions each day.

On top of IBM’s acquisition of Red Hat, which will bring a next-gen hybrid multi-cloud platform based on open-source tech, IBM is ramping up its Kubernetes compatibility with the announcement of two new open-source projects, Kui and Iter8, to facilitate Kubernetes development.

Open tech roles at IBM.

VMware

By providing the products and services needed to run apps on any cloud, VMware empowers organizations across industries, from banking to retail to manufacturing, to become digital businesses. And it recently baked Kubernetes into its server virtualization platform, vSphere.

At its 2019 annual conference, VMware announced Project Pacific, an initiative to re-architect vSphere. Now that vSphere is a Kubernetes native platform, the 500,000 enterprises currently running on it will no longer need separate stacks for cloud native or virtualized apps.

Another big move for VMware? It recently acquired Pivotal, a cloud application platform provider to “combine Pivotal’s development platform, tools and services with VMware’s infrastructure capabilities to deliver a comprehensive Kubernetes portfolio,” according to VMware CEO, Pat Gelsinger.

Open tech roles at VMware.

Microsoft

Offering security, reliability and flexibility, the Microsoft Azure cloud computing platform drives business value for companies across the globe. And its Azure Kubernetes Service (AKS) makes managing containerized apps easier than ever.

A few features of AKS: serverless container capability (called virtual nodes), Kubernetes-based Event-driven Autoscaling (or KEDA, which was developed in partnership with Red Hat to provide event-driven capabilities for any Kubernetes workload) and Azure Dev Spaces, a way for teams to test and develop a complete microservices app in AKS minus the need to replicate or mock dependencies. 

Open tech roles at Microsoft.

Verizon

With over 80 applications on cloud native platforms like Kubernetes, Verizon sees container technology as key to its public cloud migration plans. At KubeCon + CloudNativeCon 2018, Nanda Kumar, a systems engineer at Verizon, mentioned that many of those apps are stateless, but the company was expanding into more robust stateful apps.

Kumar also pointed out that Verizon had been testing running containers and Kubernetes in both bare metal and virtual machine environments.

Open tech roles at Verizon.

Cisco

Released in December 2018, The Cisco Hybrid Solution for Kubernetes on AWS allows tech teams to develop and deploy apps across public and private clouds anywhere they want. With this solution, not only are developers able to fast forward innovation and reduce time-to-market, but IT teams can cut costs and enjoy a simplified approach to managing on-premises Kubernetes infrastructure. 

“Now, developers can use existing investments to build new cloud-scale applications,” said Kip Compton, senior vice president, Cloud Platform and Solutions at Cisco. “This makes it easier to deploy and manage hybrid applications, no matter where they run [and] allows customers to get the best out of both cloud and their on-premises environments with a single solution.”

Open tech roles at Cisco. 

Ready for a career in Kubernetes?

There’s no question as to if Kubernetes has shaken up the tech industry: it has. And it’s ecosystem continues to grow with new releases, updates, partnerships and supporters (like when Docker built in native support for Kuburnetes).

Because this container management tool helps companies of all sizes maintain the health and responsiveness of apps, almost any company in any industry can realize its benefits—Pinterest, Shopify and Reddit already have. The more momentum it gains, the more opportunity you’ll have to step into a Kubernetes role that suits you and your career goals. 

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