Illumio Blog
January 24, 2019

More on Maps: "Hack the Gap" in Cybersecurity Talent

Jonathan Reiber,

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Last month I put on my Halford McKinder hat and wrote a piece about how maps can help shape our perceptions of the world and help us defend ourselves. Maps can interpret threats and help us understand our security capabilities in the real world and in cyberspace. With big data maps, we can visualize problems and design solutions for everything from public health to global shipping to economic development.

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For those nerds out there who like to visualize data and markets about cybersecurity (raise your hand!), the National Initiative for Cybersecurity Education partnered with the big data analytics firm Burning Glass Technologies and the cybersecurity education non-profit trade association CompTIA to produce a map of the U.S. cybersecurity workforce and workforce needs by state. It’s awesome. Especially for employers, policy makers, universities, and job seekers – but for anyone thinking about the market. Take a look.

At the national level, there were 313,735 job openings in cybersecurity and 715,715 employed in the total cybersecurity workforce on January 22, 2019. The states with the most job openings, perhaps not surprisingly, were California with 36,602 and Virginia at 33,530. Maine by comparison had 1,302. So, there are jobs out there even in some of our smallest states.

What can we glean from this map? A lot. A few benefits from a planning standpoint:

  • The map can help state policymakers plan job creation and economic development investments. If you’re Michigan State University (for example) and you’re considering whether and how to expand your cybersecurity training program, you can see that there are over 6,000 jobs in Michigan and over 7,000 in neighboring Ohio. A small investment in your cybersecurity program can help Michigan meet its unemployment challenges – and if students struggle to find a job in the state, there are other states with demand nearby. This data can help governor’s offices and program administrators think about how best to train students to meet high-demand jobs.
  • If you’re a company with cybersecurity needs, you can see where the states with the greatest number of trained professionals reside. Key questions for employers that the website aims to answer are: “How hard will it be to fill cybersecurity positions in my region? Do I need to source cybersecurity workers from other regions?” The map shows things like average salaries for specific jobs at the entry, mid, and advanced level – useful for employers and job seekers alike.


There is a lot more to explore if you click around. While the map feels like a strong beta version, you can imagine more data being added as users interact with the map over time.

I’d like to see education programs included on the map, to include certifications, number of graduates, and the phone numbers for recruiters to call. This will help companies trying to source talent across the U.S. and take a major step in closing the workforce gap. The arguments have been made; organizations want to know who to call and how to network to close the gap and meet the country’s cybersecurity challenges. It would be great to have university programs mapped out. This, however, is a strong start.

Topics: cybersecurity

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