Increasing High Demand
Relative Low Supply
Top Cybersecurity Career Paths
A survey conducted by Black Hat USA found that "75% of security professionals say they do not have enough staff to defend their organizations against current threats." The cybersecurity labor market is defined by increasingly high demand plus a relatively low supply, producing competitive salaries for highly skilled workers making it a lucrative industry to be in today.
Top cybersecurity career paths according to DICE, a popular job board for technology positions, based on salary and highest US job growth:
- Lead Software Security Engineer - $233,333
- Chief Security Officer - $225,000
- Global Information Security Director - $200,000
- IT Security Consultant - $198,909
- Chief Information Security Officer - $192,500
- Director of Security - $178,333
- Cybersecurity Lead - $175,000
- Lead Security Engineer - $174,375
- Cybersecurity Engineer - $170,000
- Application Security Manager - $165,000
Top Three Positions
Job details and requirements for the top three positions:
Lead Software Security Engineers - $233,333
Job Description - A lead software security engineer would likely be working on developing new tools, maintaining platforms, and expanding the functionality of the platform through new development. This position is one in which an employee is expected to have a strong understanding of coding, and development capabilities.
Requirements - At least 3 years of professional experience, with applicable experience including SIEMs, Malware, Sandboxes, Honeypots, Virtual Machines, Regular Expressions, Development (python, Java, Ruby, C), and Windows operating systems.
Chief Security Officer - $225,000
Job Description - CSO’s prepare organizations to counter both existing and emerging threats. In the Cyber-Security world this is crucial, the ability to preempt emerging threats. A CSO is responsible for administrating best practices and data security.
Requirements - This role generally requires advanced certifications and degrees in computer science, as well as professional experience in business and the ability to generate positive outcomes in a managerial/leadership role.
Chief Information Security Officer - $200,000
Job Description - Very similar to a CSO, a CISO has a more intensive focus on protecting an organizations database or other information-related assets. Typically, you will oversee all of the security policies and procedures for your company, effectively coordinating best practices and contingency plans to counter breaches of data and systems.
Requirements - This position is not out of reach for someone with a bachelors and a number of years of experience with a company and security, but many sources imply a series of certifications and even an MBA are requirements for such a position, especially if the company is a larger entity.
Growth and Career Outlook
Diana Burley was acknowledged as the 2014 Cybersecurity Educator of the Year at George Washington University, and she stressed that "continuous professional development is critical in the field of cybersecurity because the nature of the threat continuously evolves." Many options exist for current professionals to improve upon their skill development; including certificates from technical training, acquiring additional degrees through a university, or stand-alone hands-on workshops to develop specific skills.
Industries having the most available cybersecurity jobs are going to be highly intensive in information and information security. Based on the SANS survey, the top five industries for cybersecurity professionals are Banking/Finance/Insurance, Information Technology/Management, Government (Defense), Government (Nondefense), and Consulting/Professional Services.
The growth rate for information security jobs is projected at 37% from 2012 - 2022 according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, which is far above the average of all other occupations. And by 2018, "75% of Chief Security Officers and Chief Information Security Officers will report directly to the CEO, not the CIO." Information security is a field with unique opportunities for downward mobility, an acting "CSO or a CISO can give up the chief in their title and step down to a lead software engineer position for a big bump in pay" writes Steve Morgan, a contributor for Forbes. This shows a fundamental shift in how essential these positions are in a business today.
CISO Salary Comparison
Top six U.S. metros for CISO positions and average salaries, according to SilverBull, a full-service IT and Cyber-Security recruiting and staffing company:
|Location||Average CISO Salary|
|San Francisco, Calif||$249,000|
|San Jose, Calif.||$240,000|
|New York City, N.Y.||$240,000|
|Los Angeles, Calif.||$233,000|
Entry Positions in High Demand
The Bureau of Labor Statistics showed that job postings were up 75% according to a study in 2015, and that over 200,000 cybersecurity jobs went unfilled last year. And these jobs are not only at the top, but entry positions are in high demand of adequate candidates as well. A career as an information security analysis, an entry information security position, was ranked eighth on a list of the top one hundred best jobs in 2015 by U.S. News and World Report. This particular position is growing at 36.5% through 2022, so for those who are just getting started in the field, there is a lot of potential.
Generating a Cybersecurity Workforce
As the world leans towards more technology driven business and government, the threats will never cease to evolve, and so will the demand for personnel who combat those threats. National Cyber Partnership is doing its part to lead the way to a more secure future, generating a highly skilled cybersecurity workforce to fill the needs our country faces.