Virginia boasts the highest concentration of cybersecurity experts in the country according to the workforce research firm Burning Glass Technologies. These professionals totaled 67,850 according to a Virginia Employment Commission cybersecurity report from 2016.
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Despite the high concentrations of cybersecurity experts in Virginia, demand for these specialists remains extremely high. The Virginia Employment Commission reported that more than 7,500 cybersecurity positions for engineers, auditors, analysts, architects, and administrators were advertised through the Commission during May 2015. As of June 7, 2015, more than 3,800 postings remained active.
Two key cybersecurity occupations in Virginia manifested extremely high demand as of April 14, 2016:
- Network and Computer Systems Administrators: 1,759 job openings with 297 potential candidates
- Computer Network Architects: 482 job openings with 40 potential candidates
Such dramatic levels of demand result in high salaries for cybersecurity experts. In fact, Burning Glass Technologies reported that the average cybersecurity specialist earned an average of 9% more than other types of IT professionals.
Part of the reason for Virginia’s success in the cybersecurity field is that the state is part of the DC region—the country’s Cyber Capital. Also, key industry sectors in Virginia such as aerospace, defense, and intelligence represent the largest contributors to cybersecurity solutions.
The Virginia Economic Development Partnership provided a rigorous analysis of the state’s cybersecurity industry in 2016 and stated that Virginia’s companies are at the forefront of key technologies such as cryptography, firewall devices, forensics and intrusion detection.
Companies in Virginia made 20 announcements related to cybersecurity over the previous 5 years which will result in more than 980 new jobs. Some of these include:
- Technology Management Solutions
- Kaspersky Government Security Solutions
- FoxGuard Solutions
- Cyber Defense Solutions
In addition, Virginia is home to several federal agencies with a cybersecurity focus ranging from the DOD and DARPA to more specialized agencies:
- US Army Cyber Command
- DHS’s National Cyber Security and Communications Integration Center
The Virginia Employment Commission expects a number of key cybersecurity occupations to increase substantially faster than the national average between 2012 and 2022:
- Database Administrators
- Computer Network Support Specialists
- Computer Network Architects
- Computer and Information Systems Managers
Thus, Virginia should continue to be a Mecca for cybersecurity professionals—especially those with security clearances.
Salaries for Cybersecurity Professionals in Virginia’s Major Cities
Cybersecurity analysts and admins in the major cities of Virginia can expect to earn within these salary ranges according to the Robert Half Technology 2016 Salary Guide. Professionals with a master’s degree can expect to earn salaries at the upper end of these ranges:
Data Security Analysts:
- Norfolk/Hampton Roads: $105,691 – $148,992
- Richmond: $107,893 – $152,096
- Tysons Corner: $123,306 – $204,864
Systems Security Administrators:
- Norfolk/Hampton Roads: $101,280 – $143,520
- Richmond: $103,390 – $146,510
- Tysons Corner: $139,260 – $197,340
Network Security Administrators:
- Norfolk/Hampton Roads: $99,120 – $141,120
- Richmond: $101,185 – $144,060
- Tysons Corner: $136,290 – $194,040
Salaries for Information Security Analysts in Virginia’s Major Urban and Rural Areas
Information security analysts in Virginia earned the 5th highest average salary in the country as of 2015 according to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). In addition, Virginia had the highest concentration of information security analysts.
One of Virginia’s rural areas ranked nationally for its promising job market for information security analysts. Such analysts in the Northeast Virginia nonmetropolitan area earned the 3rd highest average salary of any rural area in the country. This area also boasted the highest number of jobs for information security analysts of any nonmetropolitan area in the US.
The Virginia Employment Commission projects a growth rate of 50% in the number of jobs for information security analysts between 2012 and 2022. This level of growth exceeds that predicted in the US overall by 35%. As of April 14, 2016, the Commission reported that there were 801 information security analyst job openings with 118 potential candidates for them.
The BLS provides detailed salary data for information security analysts in the major metropolitan and rural areas of Virginia. Analysts with a master’s degree have the requisite training to earn within the 90th percentile: