Why now is the best time to find a cybersecurity job in San Diego

Dec 21, 2023 - Spencer Thoene

As we continue to enter an almost entirely digital age, cybersecurity remains at the forefront of our world. In San Diego, it’s even more critical with our region’s expertise in defense, tech, and life sciences. Securing and protecting this sensitive data is critical, especially when the ramifications of a cyber attack go beyond just your password.

In a new 2023 report, the San Diego Cyber Center of Excellence (CCOE) and San Diego Regional EDC explored what’s next for cybersecurity jobs and companies across our region.

Here’s what you should know:

1. In San Diego, cybersecurity is everyone’s business

Only a decade ago, fewer than 100 San Diego companies focused on cybersecurity. Now, more than 1,000 do. In fact, the industry’s annual impact on the regional economy is so immense it’s equivalent to hosting 24 Comic-Cons.  

“Cyber needs to be a component of every industry,” says Navid Alipour, managing partner at Analytics Ventures. “In the near future, being a ‘cyber firm’ will be a foregone conclusion; every company will need to consider having a cyber emphasis, regardless of industry.”

Attacks aren’t just limited to software and engineering. All industries are vulnerable to cyber threats, especially the medical field. Reflecting San Diego’s scientific and precision medicine expertise, local startups like Medcrypt work to secure medical devices to prevent harmful cyberattacks impacting patient safety and privacy.

2. San Diego’s cybersecurity companies are using AI more than other industries

As companies in San Diego continue to develop cutting-edge technology and make scientific breakthroughs, protecting this work has become more crucial than ever—and AI is here to help.

Locally, AI helps companies detect cyber threats quicker and more accurately. With San Diego’s strong military presence and nearly one in three local cyber firms focused on fulfilling federal and defense contracts, this integration of AI is essential.

Local cyber companies are developing AI at a rate 2.5 to three times as fast as other San Diego industries, and half of cyber companies have been engaged with AI for at least three years, compared with 43 percent of companies in other industries.

Now, AI is so deeply embedded within the cyber industry that companies see it less as emerging technology—and more as an essential tool of the trade.

3. San Diego needs you and your skills

As the number of cyber threats continues to increase, so does the search for trained professionals (like you?). While engineers are in high demand, there were also more than 15,000 unique cybersecurity job postings last year that require different cyber skills.

“Cybersecurity is an art, where you are building a security measure against an adversary,” says Vidya Murthy, Chief Operating Officer, Medcrypt. “Having a team comprised of people from different backgrounds allows for different perspectives, which is important for finding potential vulnerabilities before your adversary does and coming up with a solution.”

Pursuing a cyber career in San Diego means you’ll be in good company, since 26,000 cyber professionals call our region home—up a whopping 10 percent since 2018, with most concentrated at NAVWAR. (Wait, NAVWAR? Surprising to most, that’s the U.S. Navy’s information warfare arm headquartered right here in San Diego.)

Cybersecurity has also meant job security. Here in San Diego, the profession has grown five times faster than all other occupations combined, and amid COVID-19, experienced significantly smaller job losses and a quicker, stronger recovery than other jobs. Even more, the gig pays well into the six figures on average and can mean work at a university like SDSU, a consulting firm like Booz Allen Hamilton, or an up-and-coming unicorn startup like Drata

Interested in being part of this resilient industry and bringing your talents to San Diego? The best time is right now. Three out of four cybersecurity companies are looking to find the right specialist to help the company advance to the next level.

Want to learn more about cyber in San Diego? Check out the full report here.

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