Experts in cyber security are among the most sought-after professionals in the tech sector, with demand for workers in that field outpacing other IT jobs by a wide margin.
A new survey by Semper Secure, a public-private partnership in Virginia formed to advance the cyber security profession, offers a fresh glimpse at what security workers earn, what they look for in an employer, and where the hubs of innovation are located.
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Cyber security salaries three times national average
Cyber security professionals report an average salary of $116,000, or approximately $55.77 per hour. That's nearly three times the national median income for full-time wage and salary workers, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.
But it's more than just the money. Cyber security professionals say that they actively seek employers with strong reputations for integrity and those that are recognized as leaders in their field.
"For top talent, cyber security isn't about just a job and a paycheck," says Jim Duffey, secretary of technology at the office of the governor of Virginia. "It is about the hottest technology, deployed by honorable organizations, for a purpose that is inherently important."
Asked to identify the most important attributes of an employer, respondents cite these characteristics:
- Reputation for integrity; code of honor: 44 percent
- Reputation as a leader in cyber security: 34 percent
- Known for addressing leading challenges in cyber security: 33 percent
- Relatively high compensation scale: 31 percent
- Expansive cyber security career opportunities: 30 percent
- Excellence of leadership: 30 percent
- Excellence of coworkers: 23 percent
Respondents to the survey also indicated that they have a strong interest in the nature of the work they do. Asked what interests them most about the profession, challenging and meaningful topped the list: