- Interesting, challenging work: 56 percent
- Important and meaningful work: 44 percent
- Love the technology: 39 percent
- Constant change/dynamic industry: 31 percent
- Job security: 27 percent
- High salary and benefits: 25 percent
- Validates my talent and skill: 18 percent
- Opportunity to work with the best people: 13 percent
Where do the cyber security pros go to work
Where are the great hubs of innovation in the cyber security sector? Perhaps not surprisingly, respondents identified California (home to so much of the IT sector) and the greater Washington-D.C. area, with its heavy concentration of government workers, contractors and the defense industry.
One-third of respondents said that California is the center of cyber security innovation, while 44 percent believe that innovation is most heavily concentrated in D.C., Northern Virginia and Maryland.
"Government agencies and defense/aerospace firms remain magnets for cyber security professionals," Duffey says.
Asked to name the company they would most like to work for, respondents ranked Google at the top, followed by the federal government, self-employment, and Cisco. Respondents cited Symantec-Norton, IBM, McAfee, and Cisco as industry leaders in cyber security.
The survey also suggested that there is relatively little churn in the industry, with 65 percent of cyber security pros polled saying that they have worked at two or fewer organizations throughout their career.
"These people aren't jumping from job to job looking for salary bumps and signing bonuses," says Lee Vorthman, CTO of NetApp's Federal Civilian Agencies unit. "Many of them want to work for federal agencies and most of them tend to stick with employers for the long term. For companies, that means they better get them early or risk not getting them at all."
The survey also probed security professionals' career aspirations, finding that 22 percent anticipate taking on more difficult challenges, 18 percent envision themselves in a leadership role, while 16 percent are seeking to start their own company or consult, and 15 percent are aiming to become a CIO or CISO.
What cyber security pros know
Finally, the survey shed some light on the educational profile of the cyber security workforce. Eight-five percent of respondents said that they hold a professional certification, naming the Certified Information Systems Security Professional (CISSP), Cisco Certified Network Professional Security (CCNIP), and Certified Ethical Hacker (CEH) as the most popular credentials.
Forty-four percent of respondents said that they hold a bachelor's degree in computer science, mathematics or electrical engineering, and 34 percent said they hold a master's degree in those fields. Just 5 percent said that they hold a doctoral degree in those subjects.
Kenneth Corbin is a Washington, D.C.-based writer who covers government and regulatory issues for CIO.com. Follow Kenneth on Twitter @kecorb. Follow everything from CIO.com on Twitter @CIOonline, Facebook, Google + and LinkedIn.