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10 Best Cities Under 50,000 for CISSPs

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Published on April 13, 2020

The Certified Information Systems Security Professional (CISSP) is reputed to be one of the most difficult IT security certifications to earn. The CISSP is granted by (ISC)2 — a widely-respected, not-for-profit security consortium. If you're pursuing a cybersecurity career in industry or in government, then the CISSP is a valuable proof of expertise.

Cybersecurity is job No. 1 for most organizations, so there are job openings for IT security professionals in just about every city across the nation. Because the CISSP has been approved as a DOD baseline for Level III IAT security technicians, you'll find that many of these jobs are in and around traditional government and defense hubs.

We’ve been collecting IT job data for more than a year. You can see what the United States looks like from the perspective of IT jobs on the interactive State of IT Jobs map, including a filter for the CISSP.

But Washington DC, Wall Street, and Silicon Valley are not the only places where cybersecurity is a priority. We did a search for annual CISSP job opportunities located "off the beaten path" – in cities with fewer than 50,000 inhabitants. Let's start in Arkansas.

10. Bentonville, Arkansas

Bentonville, a city of 41,000 people, is the home of retail giant Walmart. Companies in the Bentonville area include the University of Arkansas, financial service solutions firm Central Research Inc. (CRI), pharma giant GlaxoSmithKline, and sportswear manufacturer Outdoor Cap Company.

Our job search revealed 388 CISSP job openings during the year in the Bentonville area. The search also revealed good prospects for further career development with 88 openings for Cisco Certified Internetwork Experts (CCIE) and 76 for professionals with the Certified Ethical Hacker (CEH) accreditation.

9. Garden City, Idaho

Now let's head over to Garden City in the Pacific Northwest. Garden City is a city of 20,000 that's situated just outside Idaho's state capital Boise. Our job search indicated that there were 414 openings for CISSP-certified professionals in Garden City and the surrounding area.

The job opportunities were with companies such as computer memory manufacturer Micron Technology, defense contractor Perspecta, multi-level marketer Scentsy, supermarket chain WinCo Foods, and ‘Big-4’ firm Deloitte. Garden City offers plenty of scope for career development, with over 800 CCIE and nearly 600 CEH job openings in nearby Boise.

8. Inver Grove Heights, Minnesota

Now let's head 1500 miles due East to Inver Grove Heights. This city of 34,000 inhabitants is close to Minneapolis-Saint Paul. Our search revealed 576 job openings for CISSP-certified professionals in the Inver Grove Heights area.

These openings were found within organizations including financial services giant Wells Fargo, utility holding company Xcel Energy, BDO – the international public accounting and consulting firm, adhesives manufacturer H.B. Fuller, and the State of Minnesota, with a further 2,808 openings in nearby Minneapolis-Saint Paul.

7. Lafayette, Colorado

We'll leave the Midwest and head to Lafayette in the Rocky Mountain State. Lafayette is a city of 26,000 people that's located close to Boulder in the northern area of the state.

There were 620 job openings for CISSP professionals in and around the city, with employers such as networking company CenturyLink, cyber risk management firm Coalfire, defense contractors Northrop Grumman and Lockheed Martin, and software firms Alteryx and LogRhythm.

There's plenty of scope for career advancement with Boulder next door and the Denver metro area within commuting distance. In Lafayette itself we also found openings for 134 CCIEs and 84 CEH-qualified professionals.

6. Forest Park, Georgia

Now let's return to the Southeast, to Georgia. Forest Park is a city of 27,000 that is located next to the Atlanta International Airport. We located 676 job openings for CISSP-certified individuals in the Forest Park area, with further opportunities for 154 CCIEs and 394 CEH white-hat hacker slots.

Organizations looking for CISSPs include ‘Big 4’ consulting firm Deloitte, payment services provider InComm, point-of-sale/ATM manufacturer NCR, SunTrust and Regions banks, and the WellStar Health System.

#5 Urbandale, IA

Moving away from the East Coast, we'll return to the Midwest, to Urbandale in Iowa — the Corn State. Urbandale is a city of 42,000 that lies to the west of Des Moines. The city is a center for insurance and financial services firms, which have significant demand for cybersecurity professionals.

There were job opportunities for 1052 CISSP-certified professionals in Urbandale and the surrounding area. Organizations looking for CISSPs included financial services firms Wells Fargo, Lincoln Savings Bank, and Global Atlantic Financial Group, accounting and consulting groups Deloitte, RSM, and Eide Bailly, cybersecurity company Palo Alto Networks, and Meredith Corporation — the media and marketing services company.

4. Fairborn, Ohio

Now we'll shift eastwards a few states to Ohio, where we find Fairborn, a city of 41,000 inhabitants near Dayton. Because of Fairborn's location close by the Wright-Patterson Airforce Base, the job market is dominated by IT services firms and defense contractors.

Organizations advertising positions for CISSPs include defense contractors ManTech International and Northrop Grumman, managed health care provider CareSource, military shipbuilder Huntington Ingalls, and professional services firm Booz Allen Hamilton. Fairborn offers 1,078 job opportunities for CISSP professionals and 182 for CEH-certified technicians.

3. Southlake, TX

Now we'll travel to the Southwest to Southlake, a city of 27,000 people that's situated at the top of a triangle with Dallas and Fort Worth at its base. Southlake is the home of Sabre Corporation – the airline reservations technology company, as well as one of TD Ameritrade's large regional centers.

There are job opportunities for 1,266 CISSP-certified professionals in and around Southlake, with thousands more in the nearby Dallas/Fort Worth metropolitan area. Companies offering CISSP positions include Sabre Communications, financial services firms Charles Schwab, Citi, and Wells Fargo, telecommunications giant Verizon, and professional services firms Deloitte, EY, KPMG, and PricewaterhouseCoopers.

2. Vicksburg, Mississippi

We'll now go due East to the Civil War siege city of Vicksburg, a city of 48,000 on the Mississippi River, Vicksburg offers 1,508 job positions for CISSP professionals, with an additional 358 white-hat hacking career opportunities CEH-certified technicians. Potential employers in the area include IT services firms Insuvi, Leidos, and Dynetics, nuclear safety engineering services firm Sigma Science, and PassionHR — the human resources consulting company.

1. Covington, Kentucky

We'll end our CISSP journey in Covington, Kentucky, a city of 39,000 sitting across the Ohio River from Cincinnati. Businesses in the area have cybersecurity job openings for 3,514 CISSP-certified professionals and a further 576 positions for certified ethical hackers.

Organizations that are looking to hire CISSPs in and around Covington include GE Corporate and GE Aviation, Procter & Gamble, Fifth Third Bank, professional services firm Deloitte, the University of Cincinnati, healthcare providers The Christ Hospital Health Network and UC Health, and HR software firm Paycor.

Across the river Cincinnati offers plenty of further opportunities, with nearly 40,000 CISSP positions and over 8000 openings each for cybersecurity pros with CCIE or CEH accreditation.

Wrapping up

There are CISSP career opportunities in cities across the United States. These ten small cities are among many that provide terrific job opportunities for CISSP-certified cybersecurity professionals. You'll surely be able to find many other small cities that offer similar potential.

If you've not earned your CISSP yet, then check out our online training that helps prepare you to take the (ISC)² exam and earn your Certified Information Systems Security Professional (CISSP) certification.


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