Illinois ranked as the 5th highest state in the country in the number of job postings for cybersecurity specialists between 2010 and 2014 according to Burning Glass Technologies. More than 11,000 jobs were advertised during this period—84% of them in Chicago. In addition, the level of cybersecurity analyst job growth in Chicago exceeded 160% between 2010 and 2014. This level of demand has been driving up starting salary offers as companies are forced to compete for top talent.
As one of the country’s key financial centers, Chicago is home to internationally prominent cybersecurity companies such as Trustwave which services more than 3 million businesses in 96 countries. The company provides vulnerability and compliance management and on-demand threat services and technologies.
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In addition to having its international headquarters in Chicago, Trustwave’s SpiderLabs is located in the city. The researchers at SpiderLabs specialize in forensic investigation, security research, and penetration testing. In early 2016 alone, researchers at SpiderLabs discovered a number of key cybersecurity threats:
- Zen Cart XSS Vulnerabilities
- Angler Malvertising
- Dridex botnet using Locky ransomware
- Neutrino Exploit Kit updated
Illinois also boasts the largest national lab in the Midwest with its Argonne National Laboratory outside of Chicago. While the lab plays a key role in the country’s leadership in computer sciences, its prominence makes it an attractive target for cyber attacks. The lab’s website stated that it defends against approximately 600,000 attempted intrusions each day—about 219 million attacks a year. Despite the vigilance of the lab’s cybersecurity experts, about 10 attempts a year succeed in reaching their target.
Salaries for Key Cybersecurity Experts in the Major Cities of Illinois
According to the Robert Half Technology 2016 Salary Guide, cybersecurity specialists in Illinois can expect to earn salaries within the ranges shown here. Cybersecurity specialists with master’s degree have the advanced expertise to command salaries on the high end of these ranges:
- Data Security Analysts: $139,605 – $196,800
- Information Security Administrators: $129,765 – $183,885
- Network Security Administrators: $126,998 – $180,810
- Data Security Analysts: $103,285 – $145,600
- Information Security Administrators: $96,005 – $136,045
- Network Security Administrators: $93,958 – $133,770
- Data Security Analysts: $94,205 – $132,800
- Information Security Administrators: $87,565 – $124,085
- Network Security Administrators: $85,698 – $122,010
- Data Security Analysts: $127,120 – $179,200
- Information Security Administrators: $118,160 – $167,440
- Network Security Administrators: $115,640 – $184,640
Salaries for Information Security Analysts Throughout Illinois
The US Bureau of Labor Statistics provides a high level of detail on the salaries for information security analysts in the major cities of Illinois as of 2015. Information security analysts with a master’s degree can expect to earn salaries in the highest percentiles: