As the business world relies more on technological infrastructure and remote work becomes more commonplace, IT security has become a critical component in doing business. Cyberattacks, data breaches, and natural disasters all have the potential to bring down a company’s tech stack, demonstrating the acute need for information security talent. The Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts a 33% growth in employment for information security analysts over the next ten years. Given this high demand, IT security analysts have the option to take jobs in a variety of locations, but where exactly are the best opportunities?
Our study at AdvisorSmith ranked 181 U.S. cities (metropolitan areas) to determine the most attractive cities for information security analysts to pursue their careers in. We list the top 50 cities for information security analysts below, and we also break down the top small, midsize, and large cities for IT security analysts.
Our analysis found that many of the best cities for information security analysts were large cities with economies heavily weighted in health care, high tech, government, defense, or finance, coupled with lower-than-average costs of living. Businesses with sensitive or confidential data must sufficiently resource the protection of that data, which necessitates the hiring of IT security professionals. In addition, as businesses continue to move their IT operations into the cloud, demand for IT security professionals in the technology sector continues to grow.
Thirty-two of the top 50 best cities for infosec analysts were large cities, but the big-city atmosphere may not be ideal for everyone. In order to highlight this distinction in lifestyle preference, our study segments cities into different sizes based on metro area population, listing the top 10 small (population under 150,000), midsize (population of 150,000-500,000), and large (greater than 500,000 population) cities for IT security analysts.
Located 135 miles southwest of Chicago, Bloomington is the top city in our study of best cities for information security analysts. While Bloomington is a much smaller city than neighboring Chicago, it boasts above-average salaries for IT security professionals and a robust economy. Bloomington’s top industries include finance, insurance, and health care—all industries in which data security is of utmost importance. Bloomington is also home to the corporate headquarters of State Farm Insurance and COUNTRY Financial.
The city of Bloomington has over seven times more jobs for information security analysts than the average American city. IT security analysts earned an average salary of $108,260 in Bloomington, which is just a touch higher than the national average. Those salaries go far in Bloomington, as the city’s cost of living is 10% below the average U.S. city.
Idaho Falls is the #1 small city in our study for IT security analysts and #2 overall. As the state’s largest city outside the Boise metro area, Idaho Falls serves as a regional commercial and health care hub for Eastern Idaho, in addition to parts of western Wyoming and southern Montana. The largest industries in Idaho Falls include energy and health care, with Idaho National Laboratory and Eastern Idaho Regional Medical Center serving as major employers of IT professionals.
Information security analysts in Idaho Falls earned an average annual salary of $130,620, the third-highest salary in our study, behind only San Jose, CA ($147,160) and San Francisco, CA ($136,910). Idaho Falls also has over three times more jobs for IT security analysts than the average U.S. city and a cost of living that is 7% lower than the national average.
As Colorado’s second-most populous city behind Denver, Colorado Springs is the #1 large city in our study for information security analysts and #3 overall. With an economy that is dominated by the defense industry, high tech, and health care, it’s no wonder that IT security professionals are in high demand. Some of the top employers in Colorado Springs include the U.S. Air Force, Northrop Grumman, Lockheed Martin, UC Health, and Hewlett Packard.
Colorado Springs hosts nearly four times more jobs for IT security analysts on a per-capita basis compared with the U.S. average. Additionally, salaries for infosec analysts in Colorado Springs average $111,400, 4% above the average, while the cost of living is just 4% above the national average.
By far the largest employer in the District of Columbia is the federal government, which requires a vast array of IT security resources. Security against cyberattacks and other technological threats is of utmost importance, particularly for agencies like the Department of Defense and the Department of Homeland Security. Furthermore, related businesses like law firms and consulting firms also play a large role in the D.C. economy and rely on robust IT security.
Information security analysts in our nation’s capital earned on average $117,920 annually, 10% higher than the national average. Washington, D.C., also boasts over five times more jobs for IT security analysts compared with the average U.S. city.
Albuquerque is located in the heart of the New Mexico Technology Corridor, a concentration of high-tech companies and government organizations. From Kirtland Air Force Base to Sandia National Labs to Intel Corporation, there is strong demand among employers for IT security professionals. The health care industry also plays a large role in the economy of Albuquerque, with UNM Hospital, Presbyterian Hospital, and Blue Cross Blue Shield among some of the largest employers in the area.
Albuquerque benefits from rigorous demand for IT security analysts, hosting 62% more jobs for infosec analysts on a per-capita basis compared with the national average. Information security analysts in Albuquerque also enjoy an above-average salary of $112,490, exceeding the national average by 5%. The cost of living in Albuquerque is also 5% below the national average.
Below, we list the top 50 cities for information security analysts. In addition to the ranking, we provide the total number of jobs for IT security analysts, along with the average annual salary, location quotient, cost of living, and the size of the city.
AdvisorSmith’s study weighed several factors in determining the best cities for information security analysts, including:
Our study used the average annual salaries that information security analysts in each city were paid, with cities with higher salaries scoring more highly in our study.
In 2020, the average annual salary for information security analysts in the U.S. was $107,580, and the median salary was $103,590. For comparison, the average annual salary in the U.S. across all occupations was $56,310, while the median salary was $41,950.
Our analysis adjusted the salaries earned in each city by the AdvisorSmith Cost of Living Index, in order to equalize comparisons across cities. The cost of living, including necessities such as rent, transportation, and groceries, varies by city, so it is important to normalize the salaries so that the cities can be compared fairly. Cities with a lower cost of living were ranked more highly in our study.
The location quotient measures the availability of jobs for information security analysts in a given city, relative to the total number of jobs in the city. Cities with a higher location quotient have a higher concentration of jobs for infosec analysts, which means more career opportunities in those cities. Cities with higher location quotients ranked more highly in our study.
In 2020, there were 141,200 jobs for information security analysts in the United States, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. The BLS also predicts that employment for IT security analysts will grow at a 33% pace over the 10-year period of 2020-2030, which is more than four times faster than the national job growth outlook.
Demand for information security analysts continues to be bolstered by continuing adoption of cloud technologies among businesses, increasing cybersecurity threats and ransomware attacks, and stricter regulations on businesses in dealing with consumer data and privacy.