DC Is Desperate for STEM, Cybersecurity Pros

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What’s New This Quarter

Tech employment in the Washington, D.C. metro area continues to flourish, according to most sources. “We tend to see the market pick up during the first quarter of the year,” said Jennifer Selden, a recruiting director for Randstad Technologies. “This is the time when many companies’ annual budgets are approved and implemented, and any hiring freezes from the prior year are lifted.”

That buoyancy extends to the public sector. Take the FBI, for example: Desperate for STEM specialists who can battle cybercrime, the agency has taken to actively recruiting special agents, computer scientists, information technology specialists, and engineers. Computer scientists in the employ of the federal government can expect starting salaries in the range of $71,674 to $93,175.

Check out the latest Washington, D.C.-based jobs.

The Pentagon spent $4.7 billion on cybersecurity in 2014, and that number will only increase in coming years. That funding is a boon to local IT security experts, who are increasing the sizes of their respective firms. If that wasn’t enough, the Department of Defense is a huge healthcare provider; this year, it will award an $11 billion electronic healthcare-record contract, for example.

Meanwhile, the White House plans on spending $105 million on its new U.S. Digital Service, money it’ll use to fund agency-level digital teams at 25 federal agencies. That could allow the Feds to recruit solid tech talent.

Skills in Demand

“We continue to see a high demand for application developers and IT security specialists, as well as project managers and business analysts,” Selden said. “Additionally, our clients are seeking skilled mobile developers, both for iOS and Android systems.”

Local recruiters also cite a need for network engineers, Web developers (Java, .NET), and help desk/desktop support professionals. Web and network security experts, Ruby on Rails experts, and cloud engineers are also in demand.

Sixty percent of Washington, D.C., technology executives surveyed by firm Robert Half Technology said that network administration is among the skill sets in greatest demand within their IT department. Windows administration and database management followed, each with 55 percent, and desktop support with 52 percent of the response.

And according to IT recruiting firm Mondo’s 2014-2015 “IT Salary Guide”, the top three skills currently in demand in Washington are application and software development, e-commerce, and database management.

Salary Trends

According to CompTIA’s “Cyberstates” 2015 report, the average tech salary in D.C. is $105,623, ranking it fifth when compared to the 50 states. 

According to the 2015 Dice Salary Survey Report, the average salary for a Washington, D.C. or Baltimore-based IT professional is $98,323, up 0.8 percent from the previous year and 9.9 percent above the national average of $89,450.

Leading Industries

  • Government
  • Defense Contracting
  • Outsourced Government Services
  • Banking
  • Healthcare

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4 Responses to “DC Is Desperate for STEM, Cybersecurity Pros”

  1. Greg Timberman

    According to Trulia, the average listing price for a house in Arlington, VA is $745,700, so I guess on the government salaries quoted in this article, one would need to commute a couple hours out to afford a house, or live in a dumpster in Washington, DC. I guess it would sort of like living in Silicon Valley without the weather, the people, the benefits, or the drought. I guess one positive is, in the event of thermonuclear war, you’d be amongst the first to find out when it starts.

  2. Alan Grimes

    This article is Wrong.

    I am 37 years old.

    I live in the DC suburbs (VA).

    I have a BS degree and a much deeper understanding of computer science than most punks out there.

    I’m willing to work for peanuts.

    >>> I HAVE BEEN UNEMPLOYED FOR 3 YEARS!!! <<<

    These recuriters do not have any right to mouth off like this unless they are willing to actually hire people. I'm probably going to go up to their office in the next few days and camp out until they put their money where their mouth is and hire me. — I'd even be willing to work for half as much as quoted in the article!!!

    • wageSlave

      Congratulations Alan, you have been successfully converted from the middle class to working poor. Only one problem; your attitude. You should be grateful that they have ended the mental beatings required to get the salary outcome they desire. Oh wait, they are not done yet.

      Based on current trends this appears to be yet another successful “service area outcome”.

      At those salaries, I predict shortages of STEM workers for the foreseeable future.

      • Mister President

        No problem–the solution is simple:

        The “C” suite mafia will just FedEx over more of the “best and brightest” to fill the “shortage” of people needed to take on their “urgent requirements” who are willing (read: have few other choices in this lousy job market) to accept what is approaching burger flipping-level wages for an ever changing, ever growing list of “required” skills.

        Yeah… skills for jobs that largely don’t exist in the numbers the industry’s self-serving propaganda puff pieces and sham job ads would have us believe.