Metro D.C. area and California are top places for cyber-security personnel

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The Washington, D.C., area and California have the largest concentration of cyber-security professionals, but the industry faces worker shortages, according to a  new report from Alexandria-based Semper Secure.

California and the D.C. area each have about 19 percent of cyber-security workers in the country, according to the report. Semper Secure is a public-private partnership focused on increasing the number and quality of cyber-security professionals in Virginia.

The study, called the Cyber Security Census, was underwritten by Falls Church-based defense contractor Northrop Grumman, computer storage and data management company  NetApp and MeriTalk’s Cyber Security Exchange.

The report found that cyber-security employees earn an average $116,000 annually and are engaged in their work. Fifty-six percent of respondents say the most interesting aspect of their profession is the challenge, 44 percent say it’s doing something meaningful and interesting, and 30 percent say they love technology.

Job prospects are very good for people interested in cyber security, but the industry faces a shortage of workers, according to the report.

Semper Secure points to the high growth prospects of the cyber-security profession. A report by Burning Glass Technologies  found that positions for cyber-security professionals have grown more than 3.5 times faster than demand for other IT jobs and 12 times faster than all other jobs.

“Industry, academia, and government need to do more to create a clear and comprehensive career path in cyber security starting as early as middle school,” Diane Miller, director of InfoSec and Cyber Initiatives at Northrop Grumman Corp., said in a statement.  “Current staffing shortages are estimated between 20,000 and 40,000 and unfortunately that trend is continuing.  We need to support programs that excite and motivate students, early-on, to pursue careers in cyber security but with an eye toward developing a strong sense of ethics and integrity.”

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