Cybersecurity plays such a prominent role in Arizona’s business climate that the Phoenix area is becoming known as “Cyber Security Valley” thanks to the efforts of prominent local businessmen Ori Eisen, the founder of 41st Parameter, Richard Davis of Artis International, and Vincent Liu of Bishop Fox.
As a hotbed of the high-paying private sector cybersecurity industry, the Valley draws some of the brightest cybersecurity talent due to the rare amalgamation of its high-tech environment, which includes everything from start-ups with a Google-style culture to defense contractors. While Phoenix is home to boutique cybersecurity firms like Securosis and Bishop Fox, large companies such as American Express, Charles Schwab, and Honeywell have part or all of their security teams based in the Valley.
Mesa is home to a singular cyberfortress known as the Arizona Laboratories for Security & Defense Research—a campus “certified at the highest level” of security as described in NetworkWorld. Originally an advanced research facility for the Air Force, this campus attracts vetted companies that require the highest level of security.
The city of Mesa took over the facility after the base there closed and worked in partnership with Alion Science and Technology Corporation to develop the only turn-key place in the country where startups and companies can rent a truly safe facility. Vault-like doors protect the building and rooms. Internet conductivity is scrubbed and sanitized, and nested Faraday cages block radio signals.
While most of its tenants are nameless, the Arizona Cyber Warfare Range (AZCWR) welcomes the attention. As a nonprofit, it attracted more than a million dollars’ worth of servers and other equipment. The AZCWR both hacks and defends against them. Co-founder Brett Scott told a group touring the facility that “Those machines are taking down ISIS Twitter accounts right now.”
As a prominent target, hackers constantly besiege the AZCWR’s computers—and Scott welcomes this. The engineers learn the abilities of global and domestic adversaries by running forensics on every attack and learning how to defend against them.
Salaries for Key Cybersecurity Positions in Phoenix and Tucson
Cybersecurity experts in Arizona’s major cities of Phoenix and Tucson can expect to be offered salaries within the ranges shown here according to the Robert Half Technology 2016 Salary Guide. The most experienced master’s-prepared cybersecurity specialists can expect to earn on the high end of these ranges:
Phoenix and Tucson:
- Data Security Analyst – $127,120 – $179,200
- Systems Security Administrator – $118,160 – $167,440
- Network Security Administrator – $115,640 – $164,640
Arizona Information System Analyst Salaries
The US Bureau of Labor Statistics provides a wealth of data on employment levels and salary ranges for information systems analysts throughout Arizona as of 2015. More than 90% of Arizona’s information systems analysts were located in the Phoenix-Mesa-Scottsdale area.
Shown below is the range of salaries for information systems analysts in the major metropolitan areas of Arizona. Individuals with a master’s degree in cybersecurity should earn salaries shown in the highest percentiles: