Wyoming’s efforts to create a robust cybersecurity industry have paid off, since the state had the 3rd highest rate of increase in the country in the number of jobs listed for cybersecurity experts between 2010 and 2014 according to the workforce research firm Buring Glass Technologies. The number of job postings for cybersecurity engineers, analysts, architects, auditors, and administrators in Wyoming increased nearly 2.5-fold during this period.
Highly trained cybersecurity professionals are in short supply throughout the country, and Forbes reported more than 209,000 cybersecurity jobs went unfilled in 2015. Given the level of scarcity, cybersecurity salaries exceed those of other IT professionals by 9% according to Burning Glass Technologies.
Governor Matt Mead stressed that education is essential to his goal of making technology a key industry in Wyoming. Experts in cybersecurity encouraged Wyoming to become a leader in creating businesses in this field at the Governor’s Business Forum in Cheyenne in 2015.
The Wyoming Business Report covered the forum and reported on comments made by David Simpson, Chief of the FCC’s Public Safety and Homeland Security Bureau. Simpson said “There is an opportunity for Wyoming.” He described how the government has federal initiatives for universities to provide cybersecurity talent to address national security needs. However, Simpson also said the NSA’s workforce needs are very different than those of public safety organizations and businesses.
Dr. Josh Pauli, a local cybersecurity professor, suggested that Wyoming students could found companies based in their hometowns, since a cybersecurity firm can be based anywhere. Indeed, Wyoming is home to Medicine Bow Technologies which has offices in Casper and Laramie.
The Governor established Wyoming’s Cyber Response and Infrastructure Support Program (CRISP) in 2015. Part of CRISP is its Incident Response Team (CIRT) which is a highly specialized, deployable strike team that is able to respond to cybersecurity incidents at any time.
Wyoming’s energy firms face a particularly high level of risk, since both national and international hackers target these types of companies according to Michael Bobbitt, a supervisory special agent with the FBI Criminal and National Security Cybersecurity Squad in its Denver Office. The Wyoming Tribune-Eagle described his talk at the Wyoming Infrastructure Authority’s energy conference of 2015. Bobbitt stated that the potential for hackers to cause power plant explosions by remotely manipulating equipment keeps him “up at night.”
Salaries for Key Cybersecurity Experts in Casper and Laramie
The employment site Indeed.com aggregates salaries posted over the past year to produce an average salary for each type of cybersecurity position in Casper and Laramie as of July 11, 2016. Professionals with a master’s degree should earn more than the average salary shown below:
- Cyber Threat Intelligence Analyst: $112,000
- Malware Analyst: $107,000
- Senior Cyber Security Analyst: $105,000
- Intrusion Detection Analyst: $91,000
- Security Operations Analyst: $84,000
- Information Security Analyst: $76,000
- Cyber Threat Intelligence Analyst: $95,000
- Malware Analyst: $91,000
- Senior Cyber Security Analyst: $89,000
- Intrusion Detection Analyst: $77,000
- Security Operations Analyst: $72,000
- Information Security Analyst: $64,000