West Virginia boasts a number of factors that enhance its stature in the cybersecurity industry, and nearly 500 jobs for cybersecurity architects, auditors, engineers, analysts, and administrators were advertised in the state between 2010 and 2014 according to the workforce research firm Burning Glass Technologies.
With a critical national and global shortage of cybersecurity experts, salaries for professionals in this field are substantially higher than those for other IT professionals. Burning Glass Technologies reported this difference to be 9%.
Factors that position West Virginia for success in the cybersecurity industry include:
- The state’s location in the DC-VA-WV corridor that sits among billions of dollars of DOD assets and R&D infrastructure
- A rich history in biometric R&D
- Presence of the I-79 tech corridor
West Virginia’s current cybersecurity expertise began with its development of a leadership role in biometrics in 2005 as described by GCXMag.com in 2013. Deana Keener, the I-79 Development Council President, described how the biometrics industry contained information that could be applied to an ID process related to cybersecurity.
The state renamed the West Virginia Biometrics Initiative as the Identification Intelligence Group and relaunched it to work with existing technology in the state. For example, the 400-acre I-79 Technology Park boasted 30 businesses with 1,500 employees at that time. Examples included many businesses such as Northrop Grumman and ManTech International Corporation that have DOD or government connections, and thus were likely candidates to offer cybersecurity solutions.
Cybersecurity became even bigger business in the interim as the number of high-profile data breaches dramatically increased over the past few years. In 2015, Morgantown hosted the first regional workshop on cybersecurity and big data that was covered by WVUToday.
Key participants at this workshop stressed the key role that education plays in producing highly trained professionals in the cybersecurity field. Major Jody Ogle of the West Virginia National Guard stressed that they had a keen interest in the education of their current and future members because it directly impacts “our ability to employ their skills.” Thus, obtaining more advanced training such as a master’s degree should enhance the desirability of applicants for high-level cybersecurity positions.
Salaries for Key Cybersecurity Positions in West Virginia
The job site Indeed.com provides a listing of jobs available in locales throughout the US. Shown below are cybersecurity jobs for West Virginia that were listed in July 2016. This site also provides the average salary over the course of the preceding year by aggregating the salaries of jobs posted during that time frame. Cybersecurity experts with a master’s degree can expect to earn even more than the averages shown here:
- Chief Information Security Officer for ABIS—CACI International, Inc.: $102,000
- Computer Forensics and Intrusion Analyst for ABIS—CACI International, Inc.: $96,000
- Principal Cyber Security Analyst—ManTech International Corporation: $88,000
- Systems Administrator (IBM Mainframe) – Senior—ManTech International Corporation: $73,000
- Systems Administrator (Cyber Security)—MPL Corporation: $66,000
- Cyber Systems Administrator 2/3—Northrop Grumman: $60,000
- Information Assurance Specialist – Master for ABIS—CACI International, Inc.: $53,000
- Penetration and Vulnerability Instructor—Inflow NS: $112,000
- Information Assurance Specialist with Security Clearance—AECOM Corporation Worldwide HQ: $66,000
- Information Assurance Specialist—Inflow NS: $54,000
- Cyber Systems Engineering Manager—Northrop Grumman: $111,000
- System Security Engineer—L Squared, LLC (for NOAA): $82,000
- Senior Security Analyst—Lunarline: $76,000
- Information Assurance Manager—CACI International, Inc.: $59,000
- Cyber Security Engineer (Application Security Analyst)—Halfhaker and Associates: $58,000
Salaries for Information Security Analysts in Morgantown and Charleston
Demand for information security analysts is so high that the number of job postings for these professionals increased more than 2-fold between the first quarters of 2014 and 2015 according to the Computing Technology Industry Association trade group.
The US Bureau of Labor Statistics provides a detailed analysis of the salaries for information security analysts in the major cities of West Virginia as of 2015: