The number of job postings for cybersecurity engineers, architects, analysts, auditors, and administrators in North Dakota increased dramatically between 2010 and 2014 according to the workforce research firm Burning Glass Technologies. This firm reported a growth rate of 341%–by far the highest in the country during that time frame.
High levels of demand create a shortage of cybersecurity experts, and the average salary for a specialist in cybersecurity exceeds that for other IT professionals by nearly $6,500 according to Burning Glass Technologies.
With North Dakota’s preeminence in the drone industry, many businesses in the state focus on cybersecurity. In addition, the state’s oil industry presents a tempting target to hackers. A 2015 article by Bloomberg.com described how aggressively such cyber criminals target the energy industry.
Separate surveys from April 2015 by Symantec and Trend Micro found that hackers attacked more than 40% of global oil, gas, and mining operations during the previous year. In addition to accessing sensitive information, hackers could potentially cause physical damage to equipment such as drilling rigs.
Hackers besiege the state government of North Dakota, too. In its 2015 article describing the start of North Dakota’s Cybersecurity Task Force, the Grand Forks Herald described that sensors detected and stopped 46 million attacks on the state’s data center in August 2015 alone.
The article quoted North Dakota’s Deputy CIO for the state’s IT Department, Dan Sipes, as saying that the state “has above-average cybersecurity” and that other states suffer a similar volume of attempted attacks.
Despite North Dakota’s efforts, a hacker gained access to the server that contained reports made to Workforce Safety & Insurance in June 2015. In February 2014, the North Dakota University System discovered that malware had exposed the personal information of nearly 300,000 faculty, staff, and students for four months.
A failure to secure the server and keep it updated and patched enabled the hackers to gain access according to the system’s vice chancellor for IT and institutional research, Lisa Feldner. Task force members advised that North Dakota’s state government do a better job of defining the roles and responsibilities between the IT Department and other agencies. Each state agency has its own dedicated security officer according to Sipes.
Salaries for Cybersecurity Professionals in North Dakota
The job site Indeed.com provides an aggregate of the average salary for each type of position offered over the previous year. Shown below is the average salary for a number of types of cybersecurity jobs in North Dakota advertised over the course of the year leading up to July 9, 2016:
Chief Information Security Officer
Deputy Chief Information Security Officer
Security Engineer—IntePros Consulting in New England
- $97,000 (New England salary)
Info Systems Security Officer
Chief Information Officer
Information Security and Compliance Manager—Salmon in Watford
- $60,000 (North Dakota average salary)
Salaries for Information Security Analysts in Fargo and Bismarck
Information security analysts are in such high demand that the number of jobs advertised for them increased more than 2-fold between the first quarter of 2014 and that of 2015 according to the Computing Technology Industry Association trade group.
The US Bureau of Labor Statistics provides detailed salary analyses for information security analysts in Fargo and Bismarck as of 2015. Information systems analysts who possess a master’s degree can expect to earn within the 90th percentile: