A new salary survey indicates that working in cybersecurity–i.e., dealing with script-deploying teenagers and pesky Chinese economic intelligence projects–pays quite well. Tripwire, a Portland-based threat detection firm that markets threat detection tools to Fortune 500 corporations, recently published a guide to top-paying jobs in information security which shows cybersecurity might just be one of the most lucrative parts of the tech world.
Based on data from salary estimate firm PayScale, the best paying job in the cybersecurity world is chief information security officer (CISO). Mainly found at larger companies, CISOs are high-level executives on the same level as a CFO or CMO who are tasked with keeping corporate networks free from hacker damage. The very low end for a CISO salary is $81,000, with individuals at larger companies making $240,000 a year. But in the real world, duties vary wildly: At smaller companies, CISOs might be responsible for nearly all hands-on security work, while at larger firms they primarily manage their department and make sure the company’s defenses are up to date.
Even mid-level positions earn good salaries. Tripwire’s David Bisson says security managers, who are responsible for crafting security policies at organizations, have a median salary of $100,215. At larger organizations, they can make approximately $143,000. It’s also an in-demand job: Because cyberattacks have become a common part of the business world in 2015, security manager posts or equivalents now exist at most companies that have dedicated IT departments.
The lowest-paying job on Tripwire’s salary survey, the entry-level position of security specialist, offers a very respectable median salary of $73,853 but can pay up to $113,000. Certification training for that job (Cisco is the best known provider) is offered by a variety of online and offline schools in after-work or distance learning settings.
By email, Bisson told Fast Company that he feels salaries in the field are going up, and that “The increase in salaries and in the number of infosec-related jobs will produce competition. However, we continue to see an information security skills gap in many different economic sectors, both in the United States and elsewhere.”
For their part, U.S. News says cybersecurity is one of the best-paying tech job areas.