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Demand is soaring for IT workers in this field

A talent shortage (and some major headlines) have made security specialists a hot ticket with employers.

Demand is soaring for IT workers in this field

America needs cybermuscle—and that need is growing. According to Information Security Media Group’s analysis of recent Bureau of Labor Statistics data, information security analysts saw an 8% bump in growth over the first three months of 2016. That’s a new record—and a sure sign that IT security experts are in high demand.

BLS data identifies 78,300 information security analysts in the IT workforce as of Q1. While the size of the field is smaller than what you’ll find for software developers (1,437,300) and systems managers (655,300), it’s actually grown by 14% over the past year. For comparison, the IT workforce as a whole rose by 2.2%.

That kind of growth is echoed in Monster’s own data: New job ads for information security analysts have been climbing since late December, hitting a peak of 513 total listings in mid-February. In the past 30 days alone, industry leader Northrop Grumman has posted 77 ads for analyst positions, along with major employers like AT&T (49) and Unitedhealth Group (36).

So what’s with the huge demand? Look to the headlines: From the recent Panama Papers leak to Target’s 2013 credit card hacks—which resulted in the company paying out $10 million to victims—employers have ample reason to make sure their information is well protected.

Add to that a significant labor shortage, with companies struggling to find qualified candidates to fill analyst roles. "We're coming up on catastrophic conditions, if we're not already there, in the labor market in terms of the gap between companies unable to find or breed (internally) or have sufficient talent available to them to do what they want to do," David Foote, co-founder of IT employment research firm Foote Partners, told ISMG.

Such factors make IT security a promising area for hungry job seekers with the right skillset. Salaries in the field can be high: According to Salary.com, median compensation for information security analysts can be as high as $114,517, depending on experience (CIO reports an average salary of $116,000 for the cybersecurity field as a whole).

Hiring is particularly strong in the Washington, D.C. area, where the Department of Homeland Security recently received clearance to bring on 1,000 new cybersecurity experts. Monster data found 75 listings for information security analysts in Fairfax County, Virginia (part of the Washington metropolitan area) posted within the last 30 days, as well as 52 in Arlington County and 58 in Washington, D.C. proper.

So what are you waiting for? Get applying—there’s a cybersecurity job out there with your name on it.

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