The State of Cyber Security Salaries in the DC-Metro Area

ArabianKnightArabianKnight Member Posts: 278 ■■■□□□□□□□
edited March 2019 in IT Jobs / Degrees
I am creating this thread to discuss the different job roles and salaries/trends observed in the general DC metro area to include NOVA, DC, Maryland areas.  The focus will primarily be on government contract positions of which most of the market I am familiar with do require a security clearance to obtain.  

A quick background about me: Around 15 years of combined experience in both intelligence and cyber security.  7 years of active duty time in the Army and the remainder as a contractor in various roles.  My current area of expertise is CTI, or Cyber Threat Intelligence.  I have an MBA in Infosec and a gov clearance. 

I get asked it seems on a weekly basis about cyber jobs in this area and how can they get a great salary.  So I feel with all of our wisdom and knowledge here this could eventually become a sticky and used as a great resource.  

Some topics for discussion... What opportunities are out there now, what new contracts were awarded, what salaries specific positions are paying, trends in salaries.....etc..

I will start with some positions I have seen and positions that I have been in along with any emails I have received where the salary rate was revealed.  I have been on dozens of interviews in the past 3 years and have discussed salaries extensively.

Working on Ft. Meade for JFHQ-DODIN  I have just left a position paying 150k.  Job Title: Cyber Fusion Analyst Clearance: TS/SCI  some other positions at DODIN/DISA...
Job Title: Cyber Intelligence Analyst  Pay:  110k-150k  Clearance: TS/SCI  
Job Title: Cyber Threat and Fusion Analyst  Pay:  120k-150k  Clearance:TS/SCI 
Job Title: Cyber Countermeasures Analyst  Pay: Unsure, but should be similar to above  Clearance:  TS/SCI

At US Cyber Command
Job Title:  Cyber Intel Analyst  Pay:  110k-125k  Clearance:  TS/SCI
Job Title:  CND Incident Response  Pay:  Up to 220k  Clearance:  TS/SCI
Job Title:  Cyber Analyst  Pay:  90k-140k  Clearance:  TS/SCI

US Census Greenbelt, MD
Job Title:  Tier 3 Soc Analyst  Pay:  185k-195k  
Job Title:  Tier 2 Soc Analyst  Pay:  Up to 150k

DOE (Dept of Energy) Germantown, MD (not really Dc metro but close enough)
Job Title:  Cyber Threat Analyst  Pay:  150-170k  Clearance:  DOE "Q"

FDA (Food and Drug Admin) Rockville, MD
Job Title:  Cyber Threat Intel Analyst  Pay:  120k-160k  Clearance:  TS/SCI

NIH (National Institute of Health)
Job Title:  Soc Analyst (Threat Intel)  Pay:  120k-135k  

HHS (Health and Human Services)  DC
Job Title:  Cyber Threat Intel Analyst  Pay:  Up to 175k  Clearance:  TS/SCI

DHS (Dept of Homeland Security) DC
Job Title:  Cyber Threat Analyst  Pay:  Up to 150k  Clearance:  TS/SCI

Many, many more positions that I have seen but you get the idea....

I have some job interviews and a job fair next week, I will have even more info to provide!

Overall, what I have seen given the past 3 years have been several new cyber contracts get awarded and some have better rates that others.  The magic number for a senior person appears to be 150k+ outside of downtown DC.  This used to be around 125k not too long ago.  I have seen a tremendous amount of home building and expansion of gov agencies going on especially in my area near Ft Meade. I expect the amount of jobs as well as salaries will significantly increase in the Maryland area between DC and Baltimore.  As these salaries will draw people away from working in DC if they can live and work in the suburbs in and around Ft Meade


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    mikey88mikey88 Member Posts: 495 ■■■■■■□□□□
    What about non TS/SCI positions or just secret lvl? These are mostly irrelevant to anyone without TS as that's what pays.
    Certs: CISSP, CySA+, Security+, Network+ and others | 2019 Goals: Cloud Sec/Scripting/Linux

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    Pmorgan2Pmorgan2 Member Posts: 116 ■■■■□□□□□□
    edited March 2019
    SSBI is almost always required for DoD IT work now.  Given the rarity of people with a Secret + SSBI and the commonality of TS/SCI, most DoD positions will just post TS/SCI.  Since NSA, DHS, and US Cyber Command are all DoD (or DoD adjacent), you'll find a lot of infosec positions will require it.

    That's also why the Census, DoE, and NIH post up there don't require a TS/SCI.  They have a different background investigation process.  I'm surprised that the DoA and HHS jobs require (or even recognize) a TS/SCI.

    Either way, don't be scared away from jobs that require TS/SCI if you don't have one.  If you're the best candidate, they may just pay for your investigation.
    2021 Goals: WGU BSCSIA, CEH, CHFI | 2022 Goals: WGU MSCSIA, AWS SAA, AWS Security Specialist
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    TechGromitTechGromit Member Posts: 2,156 ■■■■■■■■■□
    This is one of the reason I think I'll stay put for the time being, I should clear 125k this year, (without a clearance) while yes I can make more in DC with a clearance, the COL is huge. Where I am now, the COL index is 82.5 in Rochester, NY, while DC is 173.9, that's more than double. I'm buying a 1,700 sq ft house here with a garage and decent sized backyard for 130k, the same place in DC is well over 500k. While yes it's true the burbs are cheaper, like Rockville, MD, one of the last stops on the Metro, is still a COL of 160.5.  I'd have to earn about double to keep the same standard of living. Yes, the weather sucks here in the Winter, but I'm saving well over 35% of my salary right now. I'll suffer though it for a few years to build up my savings.    
    Still searching for the corner in a round room.
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    JDMurrayJDMurray Admin Posts: 13,054 Admin
    edited March 2019
    Pmorgan2 said:
    SSBI is almost always required for DoD IT work now.  

    SSBI (Single Source Background Investigation) is the most junior level TS clearance. Everyone with TS started out as SSBI.
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    TechGuru80TechGuru80 Member Posts: 1,539 ■■■■■■□□□□
    As JD has said...you won’t get an SSBI for a secret and would only get a NACLC.
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    JDMurrayJDMurray Admin Posts: 13,054 Admin
    In the secure facility where I once worked as a TS, only the janitors and secretaries had DoD Secret clearance. Everyone else was TS with multiple project and special clearances (SCI, full poly).
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    SoldmyfortuneSoldmyfortune Registered Users Posts: 4 ■■□□□□□□□□
    So not really much here on the state of cyber security salaries in the DC metro area besides cleared jobs.  There are lots of tech companies in Reston, Bethesda, I270 corridor.  What would it take to get to the $150k level at one of those without a clearance?
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