Cyber security salaries continue to rise. But so does the pay disparity. The number of IT openings continues to grow, but landing them isn’t as simple as applying.

The key to those good paying cyber security jobs comes down to having the right qualifications and skill set. And more importantly, being able to keep pace with ever changing technology. To stay in demand cyber security pros must continue their education throughout their careers.

According to findings from a result study from the Information Systems Security Association (ISSA), 91 percent of cyber security professionals surveyed agreed “Cybersecurity professionals must keep up with their skills or the organizations they work for are at a significant disadvantage against today’s cyber-adversaries.”

In addition, 63 percent of cyber security pros surveyed agreed”While I try to keep up on cybersecurity skills, it is hard to do so given the demands of my job.”

Given the need, and interest, in professional development, employers may find investing in this area leads to both better hiring and retention.

“Every organization – be it in the government or private sector – must be willing to train their employees,” said Deidre Diamond, founder and CEO of CyberSN and founder of #brainbabe. “Everyone can be trained for one of many cyber security roles, no matter their age, race or gender. Cyber security is vast, and there are around 30 different roles in cyber.

“We must train people at our organizations and not wait for purple unicorns to show up at our door,” she told ClearanceJobs. “We must keep the training in our organizations going and advance people through years, not months, of training. In addition, there are more jobs that are non-technical than technical ones, and we must spread the word.”

Interested in a cyber security career? Make sure you have these skills:

  • A solid grounding in IT fundamentals (web applications, system administration)
  • Coding skills (C, C++. Java, PHP, Perl, Ruby, Python)
  • Understanding architecture, administration and operating systems
  • Certifications (CISSP, CEH, and Comp TIA Security, to name a few)
  • Soft Skills (excellent oral and written communication)

The Art of the Deal

Successful hiring often comes down to matchmaking. Not all cyber jobs are the same, and neither are cyber candidates. A competitive hiring process often boils down to honesty.

“Matching the right people to the right jobs has been a challenge,” said Mansur Hasib, program chair, cybersecurity technology program at the University of Maryland University College. “Qualified people often do not even get interviews. Instead of being transparent about the hiring budget, too many employers wish to pre-negotiate salaries even before a job interview.

“Cyber security is a national security as well as a critical infrastructure protection issue,” Hasib told ClearanceJobs. “The need for qualified and perpetually innovative people will only grow. Cyber security professionals who have strong communication, analytical, and leadership skills will continue to be in high demand.”

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Peter Suciu is a freelance writer who covers business technology and cyber security. He currently lives in Michigan and can be reached at You can follow him on Twitter: @PeterSuciu.