Is cyber security high paying?

Cyber security is one of the fastest growing and most in-demand fields today. With more and more companies relying on digital systems and online data, there is an ever-increasing need for cyber security professionals to help protect these systems from threats. So it’s no surprise that cyber security jobs tend to be very lucrative.

What is cyber security?

Cyber security refers to the practice of protecting computer systems, networks, programs, and data from unauthorized access or attacks that are aimed for exploitation. It’s about developing and implementing the technologies, processes, and practices that safeguard cyber space. Some common cyber security job titles include:

  • Security analyst
  • Security engineer
  • Security architect
  • Security software developer
  • Cryptographer
  • Security auditor
  • Security consultant
  • Chief Information Security Officer (CISO)

The day-to-day responsibilities of cyber security professionals include monitoring systems for security breaches, investigating any issues, and implementing solutions to prevent future attacks. They may also be involved in developing security standards and best practices within an organization.

Why is there increasing demand for cyber security roles?

Here are some of the key factors driving high demand for cyber security talent:

  • Increase in cyber attacks – Cyber attacks are becoming more common and sophisticated. High profile breaches at major corporations have highlighted the vulnerabilities many organizations face.
  • Reliance on digital systems – More and more aspects of business and society are relying on digital systems and data storage, expanding the attack surface for potential cyber threats.
  • New regulations – Governments are putting more regulations in place around cyber security and data privacy, such as the EU’s GDPR rules, creating a need for qualified staff.
  • Cloud computing adoption – The move to store more data on cloud servers has escalated the need for cyber security against threats in the cloud.
  • Internet of Things – The growth of IoT connected devices in homes and businesses has made security more vital as more avenues for cyber attacks are created.

Simply put, cyber threats are on the rise and organizations are desperately looking to shore up their defenses. This has created major talent shortages in the industry, and companies are willing to pay top dollar to attract and retain highly skilled cyber security personnel.

What’s the average cyber security salary?

According to data from PayScale, the average salary for cyber security professionals in the United States is $102,600 per year. However, salaries can vary significantly based on factors like location, experience, certifications, and specific job role. Here’s a more detailed look at average salaries for some top cyber security jobs:

Cyber Security Role Average Base Salary
Security Analyst $83,510
Security Engineer $103,560
Security Architect $140,210
Security Software Developer $108,870
Chief Information Security Officer (CISO) $223,000

As you can see, cyber security salaries tend to be well above the median salary across all occupations, which PayScale lists as $54,000. The highest paying role is often the CISO who can make over $200,000, but even entry level cyber security analysts can earn over $80,000.

Which industries pay cyber security professionals the most?

Cyber security salary ranges can also vary significantly by industry. According to data from CyberSeek, here are some of the industries offering the highest average salaries for cyber security workers:

  • Consulting – $141,379
  • Finance – $139,797
  • Aerospace – $139,429
  • Tech industry – $137,845
  • Healthcare – $135,987

Consulting firms often pay the most for cyber security talent, over $140,000 on average. The finance industry also values cyber security highly to protect financial data. And the healthcare industry is ramping up cyber security salaries as threats around medical data rise.

How does location impact cyber security pay?

Where you work also has a big impact on your earning potential as a cyber security professional. Large tech hubs and major cities tend to offer the highest salaries. According to Indeed data, here are some of the top paying metro areas for cyber security jobs and their average salaries:

Metro Area Average Salary
San Francisco, CA $150,631
New York, NY $142,778
Washington, DC $137,177
Chicago, IL $130,211
Seattle, WA $128,960

The highest average salaries are found around tech centers like San Francisco and Seattle where big tech companies are headquartered. But major finance hubs like New York and political centers like Washington DC also boast very high cyber security pay.

How do certifications impact salary potential?

One of the biggest factors in boosting your cyber security pay is obtaining industry certifications. Some of the most valued certifications include:

  • Certified Information Systems Security Professional (CISSP)
  • Certified Information Security Manager (CISM)
  • Certified Information Systems Auditor (CISA)
  • Certified Ethical Hacker (CEH)
  • Certified Cloud Security Professional (CCSP)

According to data from Enterprise Strategy Group (ESG), earning certifications like these can increase salaries substantially:

Certification Average Salary Boost
CISM 22%
CISA 18%
CEH 15%
CCSP 14%

The CISSP provides the highest average boost to salary of 25%. But any major certification can potentially add over 15% to your earnings in the field of cyber security.

How do years of experience impact earnings?

As you would expect, the more experience you gain as a cyber security professional, the higher your salary is likely to be. Here’s a look at how salaries tend to increase with experience according to PayScale data:

Years of Experience Average Salary
0-5 years $82,000
5-10 years $103,000
10-20 years $118,000
20+ years $132,000

Early career cyber security professionals with 0-5 years of experience can expect to earn around $80,000. But this jumps to over $100,000 with 5-10 years experience. And senior level professionals with 20+ years experience can make over $130,000 per year on average.

What is the job outlook for cyber security roles?

Not only are cyber security jobs highly lucrative right now, but the future job outlook also looks very bright. The Bureau of Labor Statistics projects cyber security jobs will grow 33% between 2020-2030, over 3 times faster than the average for all occupations. Some main drivers of this growth include:

  • Ongoing cyber threats from hackers will require stronger defenses
  • More businesses will rely on computer networks and systems
  • Mobile networks and the Internet of Things will expand the need for security
  • Cloud computing will become more widespread and require new security methods

Demand is expected to remain very strong for qualified cyber security professionals over the next decade. And employers will have to continue offering competitive compensation to attract the top talent.


Cyber security is clearly one of the highest paying fields today with average salaries well over $100,000. Professionals can expect strong salary growth over their career from gaining certifications, experience, and specializing in high demand industries like finance and technology. Major metro areas will offer the strongest pay, especially tech hubs like San Francisco and New York City. And the positive job outlook suggests high cyber security compensation will only continue to rise. For those looking for a lucrative career path, it’s hard to beat cyber security in today’s economy.