What salary could you get from your next, or first, cybersecurity job? The salary expectations and opportunities are different in various locations for the best paying cybersecurity jobs in this rapidly expanding sector.
Cyber crime is on the rise, with the cost of data breaches estimated to reach $2.1 trillion globally by 2019. In response, the number of cybersecurity jobs grew 75 percent (twice the rate of other IT jobs) between 2007 and 2013.
CSO reported that in 2016 there were one million cybersecurity job openings, and that number is expected to reach 1.5 million by 2019. Meanwhile, Cybersecurity Ventures recently announced that the cybersecurity unemployment rate has dropped to zero percent. These statistics point to more career potential and longevity in potentially high-paying jobs within the cybersecurity industry.
Yet the cybersecurity field is having trouble keeping up as it faces a shortage of skilled workers. The combination of these factors has driven cybersecurity salary levels up, motivating many IT professionals to switch fields, some even returning to school to earn an advanced degree in a cyber-specific discipline. This is the case across the United States, particularly in some competitive areas, which offer even higher salaries for security jobs.
Best Paying Cybersecurity Jobs
Chief Information Security Officer
Among cybersecurity jobs, the top of the ladder is the Chief Information Security Officer (CISO). This C-level executive oversees an organization’s IT department and staff. Those in the role need equal amounts of technical and soft-skill know-how.
Salaries for this position can reach upwards of $240,000. CISOs are needed in diverse fields, including technology, healthcare, education, and publishing. Large companies and organizations such as Boston Medical Center and Thomson Reuters have recently sought professionals to fill this position.
As more and more companies are expanding their C-suites to include this important role, IT experts looking to claim a CISO position should review the key skills it requires with our free infographic, How to Become a Chief Information Security Officer.
Security Architect is another position with significant responsibility. Those with this job create and maintain an organization’s IT security infrastructure.
These individuals need a diverse set of skills, including an understanding of complex systems and expertise in threat and attack modelling, as well as the ability to interact with cross-functional teams.
They’re well compensated with salaries as high as $160,000. Such well-known companies as Wal-Mart and Amazon Web Services have posted listings for security architects.
Another senior-level employee in information security is the Security Director. Those in this position direct IT security implementation within an organization.
Individuals in these positions should be knowledgeable about IT strategy and related matters. Salaries can range from $104,775 to $116,245.
Four Seasons, a large hotel chain; and the Wikimedia Foundation, a successful nonprofit organization, both recently advertised for a security director.
A Security Manager is tasked with managing an organization’s IT initiatives. These professionals need to be able to work with engineers to ensure tasks are completed effectively. They also need an understanding of programming, IT strategy and related topics.
An average salary for this position is $100,215. Children’s Hospital in Los Angeles and Ping Identity recently looked for professionals to fill this role.
Finally, a Security Engineer takes responsibility for building and maintaining IT security solutions.
Those in this position should have a strong technical background in a variety of IT procedures.
The median salary for this job is $86,996. Two technology giants, Amazon Web Services and Comcast, both recently advertised to fill this position.
Other cybersecurity jobs and their typical salaries include:
- Incident Responder (between $70,000 and $90,000)
- Security Consultant (median salary of $81,220)
- Computer Forensics Expert (median salary of $77,270)
- Malware Analyst (median salary of $75,000)
- Security Specialist (average salary of $73,853)
The Most Lucrative Markets
According to TechRepublic, the five best cities overall for high cybersecurity salaries are Minneapolis, Seattle, San Francisco, Dallas, and Denver, followed by Chicago, Austin, Salt Lake City, New York and San Jose. These cities are considered the best based on cost of living, standard of living, and how the salaries compare.
For instance, cybersecurity professionals living in Minneapolis receive an average salary of $127,757, a full 7 percent more than the next highest average salary in Seattle.
Location may become less relevant as the best paying cybersecurity jobs can be performed remotely.
Due to the possibility of remote working, qualified professionals seeking the best paying cybersecurity jobs – especially those with experience, great problem-solving abilities and an advanced degree – can use salary information and expectations from different regions to negotiate the best salary.
Even if a job listing doesn’t mention a remote option, job seekers who want to live away from the job location can be prepared to propose it during the negotiation process.
Investing in the best education possible is the first step in securing a great position in the cybersecurity field.
A wide variety of educational tracks is available, including certificate programs, secondary and post-secondary degrees, online programs and industry certifications.
Start exploring the options on offer and invest in your future.