Evidence that the D.C. area really is a hotbed for cybersecurity jobs

For evidence of the boom in cybersecurity jobs in the Washington region, one could simply take a drive up Interstate 95 toward Fort Meade: The crop of upscale apartments and restaurants make clear that white-collar professionals are moving into the area as it is being remade into the federal government’s hub for cybersecurity work.

Now, an analysis from Burning Glass Technologies helps show just how much appetite there is in the region for workers with this skill set.

Burning Glass conducts daily reviews of job postings across 32,000 online job sites.  In a report released Wednesday, the company said that the Washington metropolitan area had more than 23,000 total job postings for cybersecurity positions in 2013, a figure that far surpasses the number of cyber postings in any other region.  New York, which had the second-highest number of postings, had just over 15,000.  The San Francisco-San Jose metro area, which includes Silicon Valley, had over 12,000. The full list is here:


This chart shows large metropolitan areas ranked by the number of cybersecurity job postings they had in 2013. (Courtesy of Burning Glass Technologies)

Burning Glass also crunched the data on a state-by-state basis. Virginia and Maryland stand out for being near the top of the list for their sheer number of job postings. But perhaps even more interesting is how those states fare when it comes to their ratio of cyber jobs to residents:


This chart ranks states by the number of cyber job postings seen there in 2013. (Courtesy of Burning Glass Technologies)

With  25.1 postings per 10,000 residents, Virginia’s ratio is dramatically higher than any other state’s.  Maryland’s ratio, 18.1 postings per 10,000 residents, is the second-highest of any state.

So why does the D.C. region have so many more openings than its counterparts across the country? Matt Sigelman, chief executive of Burning Glass, said it may be because of the unique requirements for cybersecurity positions in the federal government and contracting industry.  Sigelman says that 56 percent of cyber jobs in the contracting industry require a CISSP, a certification for information security professionals.  However, outside the contracting industry, Sigelman said most companies think of that as a “nice to have” rather than a requisite. In fact, just 34 percent of companies outside the contracting world sought a CISSP.

And because CISSP certification requires, among other things, four years of full-time security work, Sigelman said it’s not like companies or universities can fast-track anyone to being certification-ready.

“The professional services firms that are so core to the D.C. economy, this means really starting to take a long view of sourcing” talent, Sigelman said.

Burning Glass found that the largest share of cybersecurity job postings nationwide came from companies in the professional services sector.  The next largest share came from the manufacturing and defense sector, followed by the finance and insurance sector.

Some of Burning Glass’s other findings illustrate how competitive it is for companies to find workers who have the right skills for these jobs.  The researchers found that cybersecurity jobs took 36 percent longer to fill than all job postings.  And cybersecurity workers are more highly compensated than workers in the wider information technology sector.  The average salary for all IT job postings was $77,642, while the average salary for a cybersecurity posting was $93,028.

Sarah Halzack is The Washington Post's national retail reporter. She has previously covered the local job market and the business of talent and hiring. She has also served as a Web producer for business and economic news.

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Jonathan O'Connell · March 5, 2014