Cybersecurity workers in high demand across Colorado

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New data shows demand for cybersecurity professionals remains strong across the state, with Colorado employers posting 9,487 cybersecurity job openings during the 12 months ending September 2017.

That’s in addition to the estimated 18,308 cybersecurity workers employed in Colorado at the end of 2016.

The new figures were released Nov. 7 by CyberSeek, the free workforce resource developed by tech industry association CompTIA and labor market analytics company Burning Glass Technologies.

“The demand for skilled and certified cybersecurity professionals is surging from coast to coast and border to border,” Burning Glass Technologies CEO Matthew Sigelman said in a news release.

Sigelman said the demand for cybersecurity talent “significantly outstrips the supply of available workers” in every state, including Colorado.

“Colorado Springs is already one of the top cities in America for cybersecurity jobs, with more than 80 private cyber companies,” Colorado Springs Mayor John Suthers said at the inaugural National Cyber Symposium Nov. 1. “We are aggressively pursuing our vision to become not just Olympic City USA but also Cyber City USA.

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“We are attracting many of the world’s largest cyber companies as well as startups, venture capitalists and investors who all want to be part of this growing and vital industry,” Suthers added.

According to the Colorado Springs Chamber & EDC, the city is home to more than 140 IT companies, and the average Colorado Springs cybersecurity professional earns a salary of $116,000.

CyberSeek aligns with the National Institute of Standards and Technology’s NICE Cybersecurity Workforce Framework to show supply and demand of cybersecurity workers across the country, also revealing the job roles in highest demand, CompTIA Corporate Communications Director Steven Ostrowski said in an email.

The NICE framework categories Operate and Maintain, Securely Provision, Protect and Demand, and Analyze account for the bulk of current job postings.

“U.S. employers posted 285,681 cybersecurity job openings during the 12-month period that ended in September 2017 … in addition to the 746,858 cybersecurity workers employed across the country at the end of 2016,” Ostrowski said, adding that cybersecurity talent shortages are widespread. “Across all U.S. jobs, there were 5.6 employed workers per opening from October 2016 through September 2017. In cybersecurity, there are only 2.6 employed workers per opening.

“This means the cybersecurity talent pool would need to more than double overnight to align with the market average.”

Colorado’s cybersecurity workforce supply and demand ratio of 1.9 employed workers per opening is below the national average, according to the news release.

CyberSeek was created through a grant awarded by NIST, an agency of the U.S. Department of Commerce. This year its expanded, interactive career pathway includes information on 10 core cybersecurity roles and 5 tech jobs that often serve as “feeder roles” to cybersecurity positions, according to the news release.

The updated CyberSeek site also includes a heat map that tracks data on cybersecurity job demand overall, and within the public and private sectors.