Main image of article DC Is Desperate for STEM, Cybersecurity Pros

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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