Skilled big data professionals continue to be among the most highly-sought after in the job market this year, but coming in at a close second are IT security pros. Not surprisingly, top IT security talent are also seeing their paychecks increase rapidly.

That is especially true at the top level, as a new salary study reveals that pay for CSOs is rising faster than most every other IT job.

According to the 2016 Technology Salary Survey released this month by Robert Half Technology, top CSOs can now expect to earn just under a quarter million dollars in base pay. Salaries for CSOs will range from $140,250 to $222,500 in 2016. This represents an average pay increase of 7.0 percent, the fourth highest in the entire salary study. Only wireless network engineers (at 9.7 percent), big data engineers (at 7.5 percent) and data security analysts (at 7.1 percent) will see larger pay hikes.

The study also finds that CSO pay increases will be significantly higher than their peers in the IT executive ranks. The percent of salary increase in the top ranks of IT will be:

• 7.0 percent for CSOs

• 5.2 percent for CTOs

• 5.1 percent for vice presidents of IT

• 5.1 percent for technology directors

• 4.9 percent for CIOs

• 4.9 percent for IT managers

So how do you cash in on this new-found wealth as CSO? Obviously part of where you fall in the CSO salary range depends on location and industry. But there are things you can do directly to help pad the paycheck if you’re looking to make a job move in 2016.

“I think people are looking for a detailed overview of your network security experience; what you’re done with firewall administration; how you’ve used various encryption technologies; things you’ve done from a network protocol perspective – those are all areas that you want to touch on in your technical expertise,” says John Reed, senior executive director at Robert Half Technology. “They are also looking for candidates with deep industry knowledge. For example, within the financial and healthcare industries, hiring managers will seek professionals with that specialized experience to ensure they will ramp up quickly and understand the nuances of the industry,” Reed explains. “The other piece is on the soft skills side- talking about your problem solving abilities; that you understand how to diagnose security issues and to be able to develop strategies around that; talking about your analytical skills,” Reed says.

“Another area that also comes up is that people want you to highlight any experience you have around government regulations, around security for your particular industry, highlighting what you’ve done there. And if you have any certifications like CISSP you want to highlight those. If you’re highlighting those things you’re going to hit the hot buttons for the employer,” Reed notes.

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