Space Force Will Pay Big for Your Cybersecurity Skills

The U.S. Air Force and Space Force are willing to pay significant bonuses to attract cybersecurity talent, in yet another sign of widespread demand for technologists who can defend tech stacks against internal and external threats.

According to the Air Force’s recruiting service, the enlistment bonuses for cybersecurity skills can top $20,000. It’s the same number for those who want to join Space Force as a “guardian.” 

“As we roll up our sleeves in the battle for talent, we’ve got to remain competitive as we go after our next generation of Airmen,” Maj. Gen. Ed Thomas, Air Force Recruiting Service commander, wrote in a statement. “While we’ve got an unmatched value proposition we also have a record-high level of competition for America’s best and brightest.”

The U.S. military isn’t the only organization desperately seeking cybersecurity talent. A recent report by Cobalt suggests there’s a growing shortage of talent within cybersecurity teams everywhere; some 45 percent of respondents to its survey indicated their departments are facing an employee shortage, while 11 percent expected a shortage to develop in the near-term. The “Great Resignation” is also compelling many cybersecurity experts to walk out the door in search of a better offer; some 84 percent of Cobalt’s respondents said that someone on their team had quit within the past six months.

An analysis by Cyber Seek, a job-tracking database developed by the Department of Commerce and CompTIA, noted more than 597,000 open cybersecurity positions across the U.S. (with 38,600 open across federal, state and local government agencies). “Over the last year or so it’s become clear that this is a seller’s market. The Great Resignation has exacerbated the already short supply of practitioners, and quality of life issues such as remote work and limited travel have been elevated in importance,” Mike Hamilton, a former CISO for the City of Seattle who is now the founder and CISO at security firm Critical Insight, told Dice. 

For cybersecurity specialists who would like a salary bump or better benefits, it’s potentially a good time to take interviews and explore offers. Federal agencies and the U.S. military are putting significant money and benefits on the table—but private industry has deep pockets, as well.