As the use of Kubernetes keeps growing in tandem with containers, cloud-native development, alongside other related IT trends, the hiring demand for technology professionals who have the relevant skills to help companies achieve their goals is also growing. However, relevant information about Kubernetes salaries is hard to find because this niche is relatively new to the market.
If you are looking for a Kubernetes engineer or administrator position, being armed with information about your salary prospects is vital to negotiating fair compensation with your prospective employer. Furthermore, this position has several variations, making it even more essential to do your research beforehand because some options may not fit your skillset.
Since some of the Kubernetes' positions are still reasonably new in the market, finding the correct one to gauge a job is difficult compared to other IT positions such as frontend developer or C++ software engineer. Nonetheless, some of the positions that would include or require Kubernetes skills include;
- AWS Kubernetes DevOps Engineer
- Kubernetes Data Engineer
- DevOps Kubernetes Administrator/manager
In this guide, we have compiled salary data for Kubernetes’ jobs from multiple trusted sources to help you have the necessary information and knowledge of what to look for when applying for this role.
Table of Contents
- What is Kubernetes?
- How Do I Determine a Fair Kubernetes Salary
- Does Specializing in Kubernetes Guarantee a Six-Figure salary?
- What is the Range of Kubernetes Salaries Today?
What is Kubernetes?
Kubernetes is an open-source project initially created by Google. Version 1.0 was released on July 21, 2015, and is an important landmark for cloud computing. Essentially, Google partnered with the Cloud Native Computing Foundation (CNCF) to build a strong community around all newly born projects focused on container orchestration.
Big names such as OpenShift, Gondor, Huawei, and Deis quickly joined the ecosystem. A year later, in 2016, Helm was released, giving Kubernetes a much-needed package manager. In the same year, several releases were made, including:
- Important scaling improvements.
- Streamlined setup.
- Stateful application support.
- Containerized multi-platform applications that allow multiple cloud providers to work together.
Over the years, Kubernetes has become one of the most popular and well-supported container orchestration tools in the market. With Kubernetes, you can automate many of the arduous processes involved in deploying, managing, and scaling applications in containers. All these changes and improvements quickly spelled success for Kubernetes as an orchestrator.
Kubernetes can efficiently manage several clusters, making dealing with multiple environments (dev/staging/production) a more manageable and efficient process. Furthermore, due to the nature of Kubernetes clusters, they can host several instances for public, private, or hybrid clouds. This ability makes Kubernetes the perfect choice when hosting cloud-native applications that require elastic and fast scaling.
Kubernetes also optimizes resource usage when running apps, adding, managing, and mounting storage for your stateful apps. It can also quickly scale any applications inside containers, orchestrate all Kubernetes containers across multiple hosts and even those from different cloud services. Additionally, it checks and recovers any apps you have containerized with auto restart, autoscaling, auto-placement, and auto replication. This capability provides a more reliable and stable environment. And even though Kubernetes may be somewhat new, it’s incredibly reliable, and this salary data will be helpful for professionals thinking of learning it.
How Do I Determine a Fair Kubernetes Salary?
Those who are not careful enough may fall prey to unjust Kubernetes salaries because this niche is not yet well-defined in the market. Primarily, Kubernetes jobs may vary in offered pay. For example, a company might be looking for a Kubernetes Engineer offering a higher salary, while another is looking for a Kubernetes Consultant for a lower one. However, both companies may often be looking for the same person and skillset but advertised as two different positions. Therefore, the core things you need to pay attention to negotiate a fair salary for a Kubernetes position include:
- Technology requirements.
- Work experience.
Does Specializing in Kubernetes Guarantee a Six-figure Salary?
When negotiating your Kubernetes salary, you need to look at factors such as benefits, training programs, and company culture. In addition, you’ll want to know what sort of salary the competitors of the company you're applying for are offering. For example, the technology giant IBM Corporation is currently looking for a Kubernetes Data Engineer. In its earlier years, a position like this would be much rarer, as many companies would instead opt for general positions, such as DevOps Engineer or Consultant. However, with the steady growth in the demand for Kubernetes professionals, IBM is offering higher salaries even for professionals without many years of experience.
What is the Range of Kubernetes Salaries Today?
This section compiles the salary data of multiple trusted sources based on education, Kubernetes knowledge, location, and years of experience. These graphs and tables will help visualize the information you need to make the best out of your Kubernetes salary negotiation. If the information you're looking for is not inside one of the provided graphics or tables, be sure to check the sources to refine the data to your needs.
Stack Overflow Jobs
Stack Overflow is more than a hub for developers to assemble and assist each other. The good folks at Stack Overflow also do yearly research on the market, pooling developers worldwide working for the biggest names in technology. Their data is filtered based on;
- Technologies needed.
- Years of experience.
We have compiled a graph that shows data for the 50th percentile of DevOps professionals, knowledgeable in Kubernetes, that have a bachelor's degree in San Francisco, California.
DevOps professionals working with Kubernetes have an entry salary of $142,000, and it goes up to $162,00 for those with 6 years of experience.
ZipRecruiter doesn't have options to filter its results, other than by region and by job title. Filters such as years of experience are not available when using ZipRecruiter, making it a tool suited for quick but general Kubernetes salary lookup. This graph shows the average yearly salary for professionals working as Kubernetes engineers and professionals working with DevOps.
According to 2023 salary data provided by Ziprecruiter, junior Kubernetes Engineers take home an average income of $78,000 per year. On the other hand, the average annual salary for Mid-level Kubernetes Engineers stands at $151,300. For Senior Kubernetes Engineers, the mean annual salary is $204,500.
Glassdoor pools its data from all the professionals that use their platform, so their data is always very up-to-date. However, it does not allow you to choose exactly how many years of experience. Instead, it works with smaller periods, such as 0-1, 1-3, and 4-6 years of experience. Below we have compiled the Kubernetes salary average based on the previously mentioned measures of time.
In 2023, the average annual Kubernetes Engineer salary in the US for a junior professional is $117, 196. In contrast, Mid-level Kubernetes Engineers take home a salary of $123,666. On their part, Senior DevOps Engineers with Kubernetes experience earn an average yearly salary of $135,504.
PayScale is by far the platform that offers the most in-depth search; it's able to filter by factors such as;
- Job title
- Years of experience
- Military experience
We have filtered for DevOps professionals in San Francisco, California, with a Bachelor's degree and Kubernetes as a required skill for this graph. The average annual salary for Junior Kubernetes Engineers is $132,023. For those in the 50th percentile, the average annual pay stands at $154,144. Lastly, the average yearly salary for senior Kubernetes Engineers in 2023 is $178,397.
To compile all the data, we have made a table of what each source reports as the salaries for DevOps professionals working with Kubernetes in San Francisco, California, US. We have summed up and calculated the salary average based on the number of years of each range bracket. For example, a DevOps Engineer with knowledge in Kubernetes using Stack Overflow as a source at 1, 2, and 3 years of experience average the 1-3 brackets.
This data is sure to help you be well equipped before making your decision and deciding what a fair salary may look like for your needs. And, of course, if the data you need is not here, be sure to check the sources for a quick lookup.
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