Rake in 6 Figures as a Cyber-Warrior

The job of a white-hat hacker will pay up to $240,000 starting out, according to someone who does that kind of thing. What are we waiting for? Why am I still writing this instead of going to hacker academy?

File under “I could have made better life choices.”

Former NSA guy Jared DeMott talked up the “good living” to CNBC. DeMott is a not-at-all-busy person who is an associate professor of cybersecurity at Dakota State University and the founder of VDA Labs in Michigan, plus a white-hat contract worker for Synack.

Top white-hats make $300,000 a year without even working full-time, he said. "There's so much work," gushed DeMott, and "so much opportunity."

The problem is that there are just too few people wanting to grab the cyber-brass ring, according to Mark Kuhr, co-founder of Synack, which recruits freelance white-hats. He has a five-step “extreme vetting process” that results in only about 10% of applicants getting offers—and said that there’s simply a talent gap.

This mystifying state of affairs was quantified this week in the (ISC)2’s workforce study, which found that the world is on track to having 1.8 million unfilled cybersecurity jobs by 2020.

Given the zeitgeist of the day—hacking here, hacking there, hacking everywhere—the notion of being a cyber-warrior is pretty cool. Wonder Woman in geek form. Your friendly neighborhood hacker. Searching for cyber-truth and cyber-justice and cyber-everything-that-is-good-in-the-world. Who wouldn’t want to sign on for that?

Plus, you know, Russians. You get to fight Russians. Da, it’s true!

Hopefully the lure of money—lots and lots of money—will help attract young people to the field…what, after all, is anyone waiting for?

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