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Job posts looking for professionals with Docker expertise have increased almost tenfold (991%) in the last 12 months, according to Rackspace.
Docker is now the second most sought-after IT skill, and the typical salary offered has risen by 28% – almost 21% more than the UK's national average salary growth.
Traditional IT skills are less popular. According to Rackspace, demand for solutions architects and senior infrastructure engineers increased by 7% and 13%, respectively. Solutions architect roles jumped 12 places in the list of the top 500 IT skills/job titles, while senior infrastructure engineers moved up 31 places.
Unlike Docker, salaries for both these positions have remained the same as in 2014, Rackspace said.
System administrator roles decreased by 10% in 2015 compared to the equivalent period in 2014, representing a 42% decline in demand since 2013. However, salaries rose very slightly, by 1%.
Rackspace thinks this could be a result of an increase in new DevOps roles requiring the same skills, which could be seen as more enticing.
Darren Norfolk, managing director of Rackspace UK, said: "Last year it was all about DevOps coming to the fore, but the demand for Docker has surged over the last 12 months. What both of these roles have in common, however, are the core skills you need to have under your belt to do both jobs – Linux, Python and Puppet."
The top skills required by recruiters seeking candidates for Docker roles are competencies in Linux (66%), DevOps (60%), Python (60%), Puppet (53%) and agile software development (52%).
Given the demand for such skills, Norfolk urged companies seeking hires to broaden their criteria. "To succeed, companies that accept the need for fine-grained skills must nurture existing staff and adopt an open-minded recruitment strategy that considers applicants who can refine their technical skills through on-the-job training and experience," he said.
"If these candidates have a good general understanding of the technology and show a high level of competency in other areas, such as customer service, they can develop into the complete package quickly and become the sought-after experts the tech industry needs."