IT workers thinking about upward mobility might want to check out the security sector.
Cybersecurity workers can command an average salary premium of nearly $6,500 per year or 9 percent more than other IT workers, according to the “Job Market Intelligence: Cybersecurity Jobs 2015” report, which is published by Burning Glass Technologies. However, the cyber folks are often required to have more training than their IT brethren. Cybersecurity positions are more likely to require certifications than other IT jobs. One third (35 percent) of cybersecurity jobs call for an industry certification, compared to 23 percent of IT jobs overall, according to Burning Glass Technologies.
Cyber may be the one tech sector where people think about climbing “down” the corporate ladder. Seriously. Take a look at the top five IT security salaries, which are published in a report from DICE, a leading IT job board:
- Lead software security engineer – $233,333
- Chief security officer – $225,000
- Global information security director -$200,000
- Chief information security officer – $192,500
- Director of security – $178,333
If you are doing a double take, you read that correctly. Yes, the top software security engineers who earn on average $233,000 annually are taking home $40,000 more than the CISOs (chief information security officers) they report to.
What explains the anomaly? A severe cybersecurity workforce shortage. The Cisco 2014 Annual Security Report warned that the worldwide shortage of information security professionals was at one million openings.
“The demand for the (cybersecurity) workforce is expected to rise to six million (globally) by 2019, with a projected shortfall of 1.5 million,” stated Michael Brown, CEO at Symantec, the world’s largest security software vendor.
More than 209,000 cybersecurity jobs in the U.S. are unfilled, and postings are up 74 percent over the past five years, according to Peninsula Press (a project of the Stanford University Journalism Program) analysis of numbers from the Bureau of Labor Statistics.
Lead software security engineers are the top developers who write the code that helps defend corporate enterprises against cyberattacks. In the highly competitive cybersecurity field, there are simply not enough senior engineers to go around.
Don’t feel bad for the CISOs. Research firm IDC predicts that “by 2018, fully 75 percent of chief security officers (CSO) and chief information security officers (CISOs) will report directly to the CEO, not the CIO.” When that happens, you can expect the CISO salaries will get a big boost.
Cybercrime is on the rise. And with that, so are cybersecurity salaries.
Steve Morgan is founder and CEO at Cybersecurity Ventures and editor-in-chief of the Cybersecurity Market Report and the Cybersecurity 500 list of the world’s hottest and most innovative cybersecurity companies. Follow Steve on Twitter or connect with him on LinkedIn.