Non-news flash – if you’ve got high-level cyber skills, you also command top salary. A recent Windows IT Pro survey of tech professionals (68 percent of whom are based in the United States) found that the top paid IT pros work in IT architecture, cloud computing and IT security, with each of these professions commanding more than $100,000. Not surprisingly, respondents noted a skills gap in these of each areas, with projects delayed and work unfulfilled due to a lack of qualified workers in these areas.

Pay Remains Competitive for Defense IT

When it comes to what employer categories pay the highest, Aerospace/Defense and Government-Military/Homeland Security did better than might be expected, coming in sixth and seventh in top-paying employer categories. In contrast, Government – non-defense/state/local was one of the lowest paying employer categories.

The takeaway for IT pros

The takeaway for IT pros? Keep building those skills. Many veterans are being sucked into the cybersecurity hype. For good reason – IT-security is an understaffed career category with six figure pay. The problem with that scenario? If you want a high-paying IT career you also need to have the skills to succeed. A cybersecurity certificate may be a start, but you’ll also need to move beyond a C+ certification and DoD 8570 compliance to succeed. For IT pros already employed in the industry, professional development is key. You’ll want to look to new certification options annually. A good rule of thumb is to audit your IT skills every six months. Explore emerging areas withing your company and industry, and develop a roadmap to ensure your success – whether it’s paying for a class (or asking your employer to), obtaining a new certification, or simply watching a training series online.

You don’t need a new four-year degree to be successful in cyber. But you do need a tenacity to search for new skills and the capacity to learn them. A cybersecurity career isn’t a silver bullet to a six figure salary unless you have the requisite skills and abilities.

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Lindy Kyzer is the editor of ClearanceJobs.com. She loves the NISPPAC, social media, and the U.S. military. Have a conference, tip, or story idea to share? Email lindy.kyzer@clearancejobs.com. Interested in writing for ClearanceJobs.com? Learn more here.