“Industry, academia and government need to do more to create a clear and comprehensive career path in cybersecurity starting as early as middle school,” Miller said in a news release about a national survey of security professionals sponsored by her company, and two others, NetApp, a computer storage and data manager, and Cyber Security Exchange, an online community for IT security professionals.
The survey was conducted under the auspices of Semper Secure, a public/private partnership launched in April by Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell to promote the state as a national cybersecurity hub.
The survey respondents—there were 500 “cyber pros” participating from 40 industries in 43 states, Washington, D.C.; and Puerto Rico—were 81% male and 19% female.
Most (85%) have a professional certification, with certified information systems security professional, CISSP; Cisco Certified Network Professional Security, CCNPS; and Certified Ethical Hacker, CEH; the most popular.
Meanwhile, less than half (44%) have a bachelor's degree in computer science, mathematics or electrical engineering, while a little more than a third (34%) have a master's degree and 5% have a doctorate in those fields, the survey showed.
The average salary for cybersecurity professionals participating was $116,000. But even entry-level people with less than a year's experience and only an associate's degree fetched on average about $91,100, according to the survey. Top-level workers, with advanced degrees and 15 to 19 years of experience, earned on average about $143,000, the survey reports.
The majority of cybersecurity professionals do not become interested in the profession until after they have begun their careers. Forty-three percent of those surveyed discovered their interest in cybersecurity during their career while 36% did so at college. A little more than one in four (26%) have been working in the cybersecurity field for less than five years.
The two geographical areas of highest concentration of cybersecurity professionals are in California and the greater metro Washington, D.C., area, both with 19% of respondents surveyed.
In terms of industries where they are employed, 14% are working in government, 14% in manufacturing, 13% in the defense and aerospace industries and 11% in healthcare, with other industries sharing the remainder.
Flexible work arrangements—which 81% of survey respondents said their employers offer—headed the list of top five values cyberworkers want for their overall quality of life. That was chosen by 47% of those surveyed, compared with 44% who chose high total compensation, 29% who chose training, education and career development opportunities; 28% who chose “being well-respected and admired”; and 25% who chose “having close relationships with people who share similar values.”
Having a reputation for integrity is the most important attribute of their ideal employer, chosen by 44% of these cybersecurity workers, followed by reputation as a leader in the cybersecurity field, 34%; and compensation, 31%.
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