10 highest-paying IT security jobs

High-profile security breaches, data loss and the need for companies to safeguard themselves against attacks is driving salaries for IT security specialists through the roof. Here are the 10 highest-paying security roles.

Highest-paying IT security jobs
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Highest-paying IT security jobs

With increasing concern around identity theft, hacking, data security and privacy, and with a number of high-profile data breaches in the news, organizations are doubling down on their need for qualified, talented security professionals. Not surprisingly, salaries are increasing right along with demand.

"Security plays a key role in a company's success, which is why we're seeing more demand for professionals with security skills. With that in mind, if companies and recruiters want to lure top security talent, they need to offer generous compensation packages and benefits," says Shravan Goli, president of Dice.com.

"A number of our clients have really ramped up their hiring in security because of concerns around these issues," says Jason Berkowitz, vice president of client services for recruiting process outsourcing firm Seven Step RPO.

"They're investing heavily in the talent with the skills and experience to protect against these threats. If I were advising an IT pro where they should focus their energies, or a student entering college for an IT degree, I'd tell them you can't go wrong with a computer science degree and a specialization in security," says Berkowitz. Here are the 10 highest-paying security roles, based on average salary data from Dice.com clients' job postings.

Lead Software Security Engineer
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Lead software security engineer

Lead Software Security Engineers are tasked with doing everything from maintaining and deploying employee training programs to developing security-related aspects of application programs. Lead software security engineers should have at least a BS in computer science or a similar field with relevant security certifications. Soft skills, like communications and collaboration skills also are critical.

Average Salary: $233,333

Chief Security Officer
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Chief security officer

Chief Security Officers prepare organizations to counter existing and emerging threats. These C-suite professionals are responsible for establishing and communicating best practices for maintaining data security, as well as monitoring the effectiveness of security operations. This role often requires certifications in addition to at least a BS degree in computer science or a similar field.

Average Salary: $225,000

Global Information Security Director
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Global information security director

This role involves the maintenance and execution of information security projects and coordinating the response to a breach or an attack if one occurs. The Global Information Security Director may be required to have a working knowledge of industry-specific rules and regulations -- such as HIPAA in healthcare or FISMA in the finance industry -- in addition to at least a BS in computer science and extensive security certifications.

Average Salary: $200,000

4 security consultant salary
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Security consultant

Security Consultants work with clients to develop strategies for effective cybersecurity across their entire organization. In addition to knowing best practices and recommended procedures, they must also possess solid communication, negotiation and project management skills. Organizations look for consultants with many years of experience, as well as a working knowledge of industry rules, regulations and broad and deep knowledge of enterprise security vendors and products.

Average Salary: $198,909

Chief Information Security Officer
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Chief information security officer

This role is similar to that of the Chief Security Officer, but focuses more intently on protecting an organization's data and intellectual property -- the information-related assets. CISO responsibilities typically include maintaining best practices and designing effective policies to handle breaches and other disasters.

Average Salary: $192,500

Director of Security
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Director of security

Directors of Security can have varying roles and responsibilities based on their organization, with most of their energy centered on minimizing the risk of attack while guiding internal teams in maintaining proper security procedures. Since the Director of Security will need to interact with employees as well as external vendors and partners, good soft skills are a must.

Average Salary: $178,333

Cyber Security Lead
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Cyber security lead

A Cybersecurity Lead has a particularly demanding and high-pressure job: evaluating the organization for potential vulnerabilities in conjunction with analysts and other security staff, detecting any attacks underway and informing management.

Average Salary: $175,000

Lead Security Engineers
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Lead security engineers

Lead Security Engineers can be tasked with many responsibilities, depending on their organization: securing operating environments, telephony and video conference systems as well as software, hardware and information (both stored and while in transit). The job does, however, have some constants; typically these include reviewing code and procedures to detect security vulnerabilities, spreading awareness of those potential vulnerabilities to employees and implementing security tools to protect the organization.

Average Salary: $174,375

Cybersecurity Engineer
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Cybersecurity engineer

Cybersecurity Engineers typically are experienced in penetration testing and other cybersecurity tools, and use them to keep an organization secure against both internal and external threats. Many jobs require certifications in addition to at least a BS in a technical field, along with some actual on-the-job experience.

Average Salary: $170,000

Application Security Manager
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Application security manager

Application Security Managers are in charge of ensuring that any applications produced or used by their organization meet minimum standards for security and privacy. This role often reports to a Director of Security or similar management position.

Average Salary: $165,000