Smaller cities look to compete in a growing InfoSec job market

In 2013, InfoSec accounted for nearly 10 percent of all IT jobs nationwide. On Wednesday, a local firm in Indianapolis, added to that growth.

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Downtown Indianapolis was certainly upbeat on Wednesday, despite the pending rain that promises to make the weekend a wet one. The Pacers were playing at home, but the NBA Playoffs had nothing to do with the good mood at 120 E. Market St.

That address is the headquarters of Rook Consulting. On Wednesday, the company opened a new Security Operations Center (SOC) in the heart of Indianapolis, and announced the creation of at least 30 jobs over the coming year.

Rook Consulting Steve Ragan

If things go well, Rook won't be the only company to host such a celebration. Perhaps their story offers some foreshadowing, at least as far as the future of InfoSec in Indiana is concerned.

"Attracting high-tech companies and employees to Indy is critical to our city’s future," said Indianapolis Mayor Greg Ballard in a statement.

“Rook Security’s success and continued growth is great news for our city and sends a strong message to other Silicon Valley companies that they can thrive and find great talent in Indy.”

Aside from a few firms, InfoSec and IT in general isn't a big draw here. Indiana is a sports town, and most of the city's growth over the last few decades has been to support the sports industry.

That's not a bad thing, but technology growth helps drive many factors, including education and the economy, and cities like Indianapolis can use the boost with both. But, recent stats show that it's the larger cities making the most progress.

Overall, InfoSec is a growing market. In 2013, InfoSec accounted for nearly 10 percent of all IT jobs nationwide, according to stats from Burning Glass Technologies. The problem is - demand is outstripping supply.

While the number of InfoSec related job openings have grown nearly 74 percent from 2007-2013, it's taking longer to fill those jobs. In some cases it can take more than a month to find the right talent, leaving many firms in a bind.

For example, there were 50,000 jobs posted that required at least a CISSP, meaning the employers were attempting to tap a pool of only 60,000 people that hold the certification.

Indiana ranks 25th on the Burning Glass index, with 1,916 jobs posted in; but that's only 2.9 postings per 10,000 residents. Compare that to Illinois, and their 11,136 jobs posted (8.6 per 10,000 residents). In fact, in Chicago, the city has seen a 115 percent growth in the number of InfoSec related jobs posted in the last six years.

Still, Indianapolis plans to compete.

"We know that cybersecurity is incredibly important," Sue Ellspermann, the Lieutenant Governor of Indiana, told Salted Hash.

"We are certainly interested in keeping [security] talent in Indiana, and supporting companies like Rook Consulting. Our strategy is very much one of keeping that high-tech talent here and growing it."

As to the future, "I think you will see Indiana focusing on many areas of technology, including [security], and certainly looking to get a stronger foothold," she added.

As of now, Atlanta is the hotspot for InfoSec jobs, based on the year-to-year growth from 2007, followed by Denver and Austin. However, when it comes to the total number of jobs created, Washington D.C., New York, and San Francisco (tied with San Jose) are the places to be.

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