Why Washington, D.C. Is a Great Place to Grow Your Cybersecurity Career
Posted November 9th, 2018 by George Mason University

Why Washington D.C. is a Great Place to Start Your Cybersecurity Career

If you're looking to make a career move into InfoSec, check out Washington, D.C. cybersecurity careers. In addition to being the best place to land government cybersecurity jobs, a recent Cybersecurity Business report predicts the District is also primed for a dramatic increase in the number of new private-sector cybersecurity product companies. New professional opportunities are projected to come along with them. Want to learn more? Here are three reasons why Washington, D.C. is a great place to grow your cybersecurity career:

1. World-class Networking

Networking is such a valuable part of building any career, and the D.C. area is ideal for meeting influential and knowledgeable security experts. There are dozens of opportunities to connect with cybersecurity professionals in Washington, D.C. In fact, more than 21 cybersecurity events were held in the D.C. area last November alone.

Many associations have local chapters here, too, including the International Associate of Privacy Professionals (IAPP), Institute for Critical Infrastructure Technology (ICIT), ISACA, and Security Innovation Network (SINET). Whether you're looking for an intimate networking opportunity, continuing education, or large conferences and events, Washington, D.C. is a hub of activity.

2. Career Options in the Public and Private Sectors

Many cities have job opportunities for cybersecurity experts, but Washington, D.C. has an impressive balance of options in the government and the private sector, so that you can diversify your experience. In this region, there's a high demand for cybersecurity professionals in the United States government, and these agencies are constantly seeking specialists to protect highly sensitive government data. Among the top-growing cybersecurity firms in Washington, D.C., you shouldn't be surprised to find the Department of Defense (DOD), Central Intelligence Agency (CIA), National Security Agency (NSA), Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), and dozens of other organizations.

If you want to make a difference by protecting Americans from threats at home and abroad, the U.S. government might be the perfect setting to build a career. The Department of Defense is one of the top employers of cybersecurity professionals. They employ over 6,000 people in cybersecurity roles, ranging from recent college grads to those with decades of experience.

In addition to government jobs, there are also several large private companies offering lucrative cybersecurity careers in the greater Washington, D.C. area. BAE Systems, headquartered in Arlington, is currently listed as the 10th largest cybersecurity consulting company by CRN, and more than 7 percent of its revenue comes from cybersecurity. Also local, Booz Allen Hamilton landed the number 7 spot on this list. You'll also find several independent security companies in the area, like Cyren, Dragos, Endgame, Haystax, PhishMe, ThreatConnect, Thycotic, Virtu, and many more.

3. Competitive Salaries

With demand for trained cybersecurity professionals outpacing supply, wages will likely remain high in these jobs for a long time. Many employers are looking for candidates with certifications like CompTIA Security+, Certified Information Systems Security Professional (CISSP), CCNA: Security, and others. Investing time and money into earning these credentials can pay off substantially. Washington, D.C. and Arlington both rank in the top 15 highest-paying markets for cybersecurity in national polls. Check out these common cybersecurity positions and their median salaries in the Washington, D.C. market according to JobPulse:

  • Cybersecurity Engineer: $94K
  • Network Engineer/Architect: $100K
  • Systems Analyst: $93K

Whether you're looking for a large corporation or an independent agency, government or private sector jobs, entry-level or experienced positions, networking opportunities or continuing education — you're sure to find it in the Washington, D.C. cybersecurity community. Ready to make a change? Read about cybersecurity career training options from George Mason University, and start getting to know the local landscape.

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