The information age and huge improvements in computing and storage power have led to many things, but one of the biggest (and most unwieldy) is tons and tons of data. So much data, in fact, that it tends to slip out of the hands of those who created it. As a result, we’ve started to see a tremendous need for data shepherds to help monitor, control, and protect data.
According to EMSI’s latest quarterly data (2014.2), there are an estimated 80,000 information security analysts spread across the nation after solid 17% growth since 2010. These jobs pay extremely well with median earnings around $42 per hour and entry level wages as high as $32 per hour.
Nearly 77% of all information security analysts are male. Sixty-five percent of the workforce is under 45 years of age.
Information security analysts tend to have bachelor’s degrees (34%), but there is a fair distribution that has either some college and no degree (22%) or master’s degrees (21%). Just over 14% have an associate’s degree.
In 2012, there were over 7,000 completions in the computer and information systems security program, which is the best match for this occupation. In fact, completions for this program have been going up significantly ever since 2003, and it does appear that supply is meeting demand. That said, there are always a number of occupations that might be tasked with “information security” inside of companies that could require workers with the same or similar degree. And of course, there are likely instructional programs besides computer and information systems security that are now providing students with information security knowledge and skills. The data here is just a nice litmus test to give us a sense of scale for what is going on in the labor market. If you want to explore these dynamics in your economy, please let us know.
Best Cities for Information Security Analysts
So, where is the greatest demand for these jobs?
Not surprisingly, Washington, D.C. rises to the top of the list. Think about the huge presence of federal agencies and the many defense contractors that dominate the area. The employment density of information security analysts in the D.C. metro is five times greater than the national average. Baltimore, due to its close proximity to D.C., has the second highest concentration of these jobs (over twice as concentrated as the typical region). There are currently 9,500 people working as information security analysts in D.C. and another 1,800 in Baltimore. Since 2010, D.C.’s workforce has grown by 8% (689 new jobs) and Baltimore’s by 17% (256 new jobs).
After those two metro areas, Birmingham, Raleigh, Charlotte, San Jose, Seattle, Oxnard, Dallas, Austin, and Tampa have pretty high concentrations of these occupations. Austin, Raleigh, and San Jose in particular stand out because they’ve all grown by more than 30% since 2010.
If you want to make the most money as a information security analyst, you might want to check out Fort Myers, Florida, where analysts make nearly $60 per hour (median wage). But just beware: there are only 70 jobs in the area, so competition is likely to be pretty stiff. New York City, which has a much higher cost of living, also pays well at nearly $57 an hour. San Francisco, Lancaster, and D.C. are all around $50 per hour. Note that Lancaster also has very few jobs.
For a total list of the metros with concentrations above the national average (a location quotient of 1.0), see the table below.
|MSA Name||2010 Jobs||2014 Jobs||Change||% Change||Median Hourly Earnings||2014 Location Quotient|
|Source: EMSI 2014.2 Class of Worker - QCEW Employees, Non-QCEW, Self-Employed|
|Charlotte-Gastonia-Rock Hill, NC-SC||1,052||1,284||232||22%||$41.80||2.17|
|San Jose-Sunnyvale-Santa Clara, CA||883||1,175||292||33%||$48.39||2.08|
|Oxnard-Thousand Oaks-Ventura, CA||335||378||43||13%||$47.35||2.02|
|Dallas-Fort Worth-Arlington, TX||2,832||3,382||550||19%||$38.49||1.87|
|Austin-Round Rock-San Marcos, TX||674||931||257||38%||$46.19||1.85|
|Tampa-St. Petersburg-Clearwater, FL||990||1,178||188||19%||$36.49||1.78|
|Omaha-Council Bluffs, NE-IA||382||425||43||11%||$33.09||1.60|
|Virginia Beach-Norfolk-Newport News, VA-NC||642||714||72||11%||$18.36||1.60|
|Charleston-North Charleston-Summerville, SC||217||276||59||27%||$24.74||1.58|
|San Francisco-Oakland-Fremont, CA||1,429||1,901||472||33%||$51.70||1.52|
|Salt Lake City, UT||407||511||104||26%||$38.33||1.41|
|Colorado Springs, CO||212||234||22||10%||$39.77||1.38|
|Atlanta-Sandy Springs-Marietta, GA||1,525||1,857||332||22%||$40.84||1.38|
|Milwaukee-Waukesha-West Allis, WI||534||607||73||14%||$37.15||1.33|
|Kansas City, MO-KS||608||729||121||20%||$18.05||1.30|
|St. Louis, MO-IL||821||931||110||13%||$33.00||1.27|
|Des Moines-West Des Moines, IA||210||245||35||17%||$34.23||1.26|
|Minneapolis-St. Paul-Bloomington, MN-WI||1,100||1,260||160||15%||$24.06||1.22|
|Little Rock-North Little Rock-Conway, AR||203||224||21||10%||$30.18||1.18|
|San Antonio-New Braunfels, TX||504||622||118||23%||$41.86||1.15|
|New York-Northern New Jersey-Long Island, NY-NJ-PA||4,790||5,453||663||14%||$56.84||1.09|
|Houston-Sugar Land-Baytown, TX||1,377||1,709||332||24%||$44.61||1.05|
The last thing we should consider is the types of businesses that hire information security analysts. Just about 37% of all information security analysts (about 26,600) work in either the computer system design services or customer computer programming services. After that, we see a lot of these jobs in corporate management offices (which employ 7.7% of information security analysts), commercial banking (4.9%), data processing services (3.1%), securities brokerage (2.6%), general management consulting services (2.5%), wired telecommunication carriers (2.3%), and general medical and surgical hospitals (2.2%).
One final note. Based on the type of work being done to protect companies’ vast data storage, there are virtually zero self-employed information security analysts. They all tend to be employees inside larger or mid-sized companies.