Job & Skills in Demand: Cybersecurity

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Cybersecurity is a growing concern for the government, businesses, and individuals, contributing to high demand for professionals who can design, build, and protect systems and private information. If you are someone who wants to help in the fight against cybercrimes and other system breaches, you need to understand which types of Cybersecurity jobs are available where you want to work, what skills and certifications are most in demand, and which employers are hiring.  Having this information can help you better plan your education and career pathway.

This blog post identifies Cybersecurity jobs in high demand in the U.S. and in the Tri-state area from March 1, 2015 to February 29, 2016. We also explore the skills and certifications requested most often in job ads, employers posting the most jobs, and other information. To do this, we analyzed on-line job postings using a tool called Labor Insight from Burning Glass Technologies, which lets researchers mine the detailed information stored in job postings. See the Methods section, below, for more information.

Job titles for Cybersecurity related jobs are diverse - No one job title dominates the mix.

We found a total of 170,451 Cybersecurity-related jobs posted on-line in the U.S. between March 1, 2015 and February 29, 2016. The most frequently advertised job titles, it turns out, make up only a small percentage of all Cybersecurity jobs. Figure 1, below, provides a look at the most in demand job titles by percentage of the total.  You can see that even the top three jobs  - Security Engineer, Security Analyst, and Network Engineer - each make up less than 5% of all on-line postings.  This suggests that there are many different types of job titles that involve some aspect of Cybersecurity. 

 

Figure 1. Most Frequently Advertised Cybersecurity Job Titles in the U.S., March 1, 2015 - February 29, 2016, by Percentage of Total Job Postings
​Total N= 170, 451

 

While 3 out of 4 Cybersecurity jobs can be categorized as IT jobs, positions also exist other job groups.

When we roll the job titles up into categories, though, we can see some more meaningful patterns. Not too surprisingly, as you can see in Figure 2, below, over three-quarters of Cybersecurity jobs advertised on-line are IT jobs. There are other categories as well, such as research, planning and analysis jobs (15% of total job postings), Finance jobs (9%), Management and Operations positions (7%), and Law, Compliance and Public Safety related job titles (4%), as well as others. These categories are overlapping, too, so one job title might be in both IT and Finance, for example.

Figure 2. Top Five Categories of Cybersecurity Jobs in the U.S., March 1, 2015 - February 29, 2016, by Percentage of Total Job Postings
Total N= 170, 451

 

Jobs in Cybersecurity are most concentrated near Washington DC and in Northern California, but there is also high demand in the New York/New Jersey area.

As you might guess due to concerns about homeland security, Cybersecurity jobs are most highly concentrated in the areas around Washington D.C. (See Figures 3 and 4 below). Beyond this, the highest demand for Cybersecurity professionals is in Northern California near San Francisco and San Jose. As Figure 4 shows, areas including Dallas, Atlanta, and Denver also had higher than average demand for Cybersecurity jobs relative to their total employed population. The New York/Northern New Jersey area also has high demand for Cybersecurity professionals in terms of the raw numbers of job postings – over 13,500 last year alone. The Philadelphia area, however, has only an average level of job demand for Cybersecurity related work.

Figure 3. Map of Top 15 Metropolitan Statistical Areas Posting Cybersecurity Jobs, March 1, 2015 = February 29, 2016
Total N= 170, 451

 

Figure 4. Summary of On-Line Job Demand in the Top 15 Metropolitan Statistical Areas Posting Cybersecurity Jobs, March 1, 2015 - February 29, 2016

Nationwide, the top 10 employers for U.S. Cybersecurity jobs advertised on-line last year included: 

  1. General Dynamics
  1. Booz Allen Hamilton Inc.
  1. Pricewaterhousecoopers
  1. Accenture
  1. Deloitte
  1. Verizon Communications Incorporated
  1. Oracle
  1. Leidos
  1. Mantech International Corp.
  1. IBM

 

Information security skills are the most in-demand set of skills for Cybersecurity jobs, followed by network security and firewall skills.

Across the U.S., there are clear trends in the types of skills that employers request in on-line ads for Cybersecurity jobs. As Figure 5 shows, almost 40% of job ads seek applicants skilled in information security. Nearly 25% call for network security and firewall skills. Linux and CISA are in about 20% of the ads. Cryptography. Technical support, Cisco, Unix, and SQL round out the remaining most frequently requested skills, appearing in between 12-15% of job postings.

About 1 in 10 Cybersecurity jobs advertised are located in or around New Jersey and the selection of job titles is similar to national trends. 

Locally, we found a total of 17,372 Cybersecurity jobs advertised on-line last year – about 1 in every 10 jobs. We looked for job postings in the Trenton-Ewing, New York/Northern New Jersey/ Long Island, and Philadelphia/Camden/Wilmington metropolitan statistical areas, which covers most of New Jersey and parts of Pennsylvania, New York, and Delaware.  As you can see in Figure 6, below, the local job market is also pretty diverse - there are no particular job titles that make up more than 5% of the total.

 

Figure 6. Most Frequently Advertised Cybersecurity Job Titles, March 1, 2015 - February 29, 2016, by Percentage of Total Job Postings in the Trenton-Ewing, New York/Northern New Jersey/ Long Island, and Philadelphia/Camden/Wilmington Metropolitan Statistical Areas
​Total N= 17,372

Like we saw at the national level, Security Engineers and Analysts make up the top two job titles in demand in the area, each accounting for 5% and 4% of all job postings in the area, respectively.  Network Engineers are also within the top five most in demand job titles. Information Technology Auditors and Security Consultants, also in the top ten nationally, round out the top five most advertised job titles locally.

Information Security skills are also in high demand locally like they are throughout the U.S., but demand for skills including CISA, Risk Management, Accounting, and others is more highly concentrated in this area. 

To understand what skills employers in New Jersey and surrounding areas want, we looked at which skills had a high location quotient. A location quotient (LQ) above one indicates a higher concentration of demand in the local area compared to the rest of the country. As you can see in Figure 7, below, information security is the most frequently advertised skill for Cybersecurity jobs. It appears in slightly more ads locally than nationally, but not by much - 39% versus 38%. When we look for skills for which there is a more concentrated demand locally, we can see that CISA (LQ of 1.7), Risk Management (LQ of 2) and Accounting (LQ of 1.6) all appear in a fairly high percentage of job postings AND are in higher demand locally than they are in other parts of the country. Internal auditing, risk assessment, and audit planning also each have a location quotient of at least 1.5.
 

Figure 7. Top 15 Skills Requested in Cybersecurity Job Postings, February 1, 2015 - January 31, 2016 March 1, 2015 - February 29, 2016, in the Trenton-Ewing, New York/Northern New Jersey/ Long Island, and Philadelphia/Camden/Wilmington Metropolitan Statistical Areas
Total N= 17,372

Consider how understanding employer skill needs can help you plan your education and career

Given these trends in the Cybersecurity industry job market, MBS students can be assured that the science and business skills taught in the program are helping to position them as strong candidates for jobs. You can also use this information to help you figure out which type of jobs might give you an easier time of getting into, as well as help you choose electives and other learning experiences that can help position you as an “in demand” candidate for jobs.

Methods

To do this analysis, we used a tool called Labor Insight from Burning Glass. It allows you to mine data from on-line job postings so you can see trends in the job market, such as job titles and skills in high demand and where jobs are concentrated, among other things. Because many jobs are posted several times in different places online, the system uses several methods to eliminate as many duplicate postings as possible (See here for more information: http://burning-glass.com). To get to the interesting information, Labor Insight breaks up all the pieces of the job description into fields that can be analyzed.

This analysis included on-line Cybersecurity job postings using a special filter designed by Burning Glass to locate these job postings. We examined all Cybersecurity job ads posted from March 1, 2015- February 29, 2016. To help students and other entry-level job seekers, we limited the analysis to jobs requiring at least a Bachelor’s degree and 5 years or less experience.

While this analysis can show you important trends in the job market, there are limitations. Not all jobs are advertised on-line and not all of those on-line are captured by Burning Glass. The unstructured nature of job ads can make it difficult for the system to identify individual pieces of information effectively in some cases. So, there may be some irrelevant jobs caught in the net and some relevant jobs may get left out. Overall, however, I hope that this analysis of “real-time” jobs data gives you a basic understanding of what is in demand in your area of interest.