With the emergence of Montana as a cybersecurity hub, the number of jobs posted for cybersecurity engineers, architects, analysts, auditors, and administrators in the state increased by 189% between 2010 and 2014 according to the workforce research firm Burning Glass Technologies.
As cybersecurity becomes a critical issue for businesses and government agencies alike, demand for professionals with these skills skyrocketed in recent years. Montana information security consultant Sherri Davidoff, co-founder of Lake Missoula Group LLC, told The Missoulian in 2013 that some of the people she hired had never done a port scan or hacked a computer. Thus, highly trained cybersecurity experts command premium salaries. The pay for cybersecurity specialists exceeds those of other IT experts by 9% according to Burning Glass Technologies.
The article in The Missoulian focused on the emergence of Montana as a cybersecurity and big data hub. Congressional Representative Daines met with industry and academic experts in Missoula to discuss how cooperation between the public, private, and academic sectors could help turn Montana into such a hub. The Representative stated that “cybersecurity is a very real issue” and that Montana companies have an edge in this area because of their “nimble and innovative solutions.”
Cybersecurity expert Dan Lohrmann praised the expertise of Montana’s CIO and CISO in an interview published in Government Technology in 2014. Ron Baldwin, the state’s CIO, said that he noticed that hackers were targeting Montana’s networks soon after taking the position. He responded to these threats by creating a CISO position filled by Lynne Pizzini—a well-known cyber leader.
Montana now aligns its cybersecurity program with the National Institute of Standards and Technology which makes alignment with federal security programs and requirements an easy process. In addition, all executive branch employees currently undergo training in information security, and state projects that involve funding for cloud computing, mobile computing, or big data must a project plan reviewed and approved by the Office of the CIO.
Salaries for Cybersecurity Professionals in Montana
While headhunting is a common practice in the cybersecurity field, the job site Indeed.com provides information for positions that are publicly listed. This site aggregates salaries for specific job titles based on geographic locations and provides an average for the previous year. As of July 7, 2016, Indeed.com advertised these positions:
Cyber Security Consultant—LMG Security in Missoula
Network Systems Administrator 2015-2016—Belgrade School District 44 in Belgrade
Senior Cyber Security Analyst—Applied Memetics, LLC
Salaries for Information Security Analysts in Billings and Rural Montana
The nonmetropolitan area of West Montana boasted the 4th highest concentration of jobs for information security analysts of any rural area in the country as of 2015 according to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). The agency presents a detailed analysis of the salaries for information security analysts in Billings and rural West and Southwest Montana. Analysts who have earned a master’s degree have the skills to earn salaries that fall within the highest percentiles shown below: