Cybersecurity in Pittsburgh. PHOTO: Cybercrime Magazine.

Pittsburgh’s Cybersecurity Scene: 6 Things To Know

Meetups, schools, conferences, and careers in the Steel City

– Kayla Matthews

Pittsburgh, Pa. — Mar. 29, 2019

No matter if you’re moving to Pittsburgh soon to look for cybersecurity work or have been in the area for a while as a cybersecurity professional, there are numerous ways you can get immersed in cybersecurity while being in this Pennsylvanian city. Here are six things to know.

1. There Are Many MeetUp Groups

Being surrounded by your peers is an excellent way to network with them and learn about things you may have otherwise missed. One way you can do that in Pittsburgh — and other places around the world — is to go to a MeetUp group.

There are several such gatherings in Pittsburgh, some with more than 100 members. Putting one of them on your calendar could be a fantastic way to get acquainted with what’s going on in terms of cybersecurity.

2. You Can Get Involved With Cybersecurity Research Centers

Academic settings can become research hubs that bring about innovations in various sectors, including cybersecurity. In Pittsburgh, two university campuses have cybersecurity research centers.

At the University of Pittsburgh, you’ll find an institute that focuses on cyberlaw, policy and security. Regardless of whether you’re in academia, the organization hosts events anyone can attend, ranging from hacking conferences to talks. Going to some of them could help you get to know like-minded people while getting exposed to interesting information.

Additionally, the research carried out at the cybersecurity institute often tackles subjects that are highly appropriate for today’s modern world. One of the past papers from the group covered social media and morality, while another examined how computer programming has changed writing. Browsing some of the material on the institute’s website could give you inspiration for your explorations within the field.

Then, at Carnegie Mellon University, there’s the CyLab Security and Privacy Institute. The topics researched at that facility range from machine learning to usability, all with a cybersecurity slant.

3. Pittsburgh Technical College Offers a Cybersecurity-Related Concentration

Perhaps you’re a Pittsburgh resident who’s thinking about getting into cybersecurity after first venturing out on another IT career path, but you aren’t sure the ultra-specific academic programs at Carnegie Mellon University and the University of Pittsburgh are right for you.

In that case, there’s an associate degree program at Pittsburgh Technical College that allows you to choose a concentration in network administration, security and programming.

After choosing that option, the education you’ll receive emphasizes hands-on training, including working in a lab environment with three kinds of security incident and environment management software.

Plus, students examine past security breaches and take deep dives into the factors that caused them to happen. So, instead of only going through a reactive approach and patching a known vulnerability, for example, they can understand how hackers infiltrate systems.

4. You Can Go to Engaging Conferences

Beyond the MeetUp groups mentioned earlier, you might want to give yourself the kinds of opportunities you’ll typically only find at conferences, such as the chance to try new technologies and hear world-class speakers.

One of them is the Data Connectors Pittsburgh Cybersecurity Conference. It happens on August 22 and offers a full day of talks, as well as a vendor booth area. Additionally, if you are an IT professional with a valid company email address, you can register to get a complimentary pass to the conference.

Then, at the end of March, Pittsburgh is the host city for a Women in Cybersecurity conference. The timing means it’s probably too late to attend this year, but it’s still worth drawing attention to this event. After all, females are still underrepresented in the cybersecurity field, and it’s meaningful that Pittsburgh facilitated this gathering that aims to work on closing the gender gap.

5. There Are Lots of Appealing Job Opportunities

If you move to Pittsburgh in hopes of finding work, the job listings are promising. You can take your pick from hundreds of possibilities in Pittsburgh and the surrounding areas, and appreciate that the average salary for a cybersecurity professional in Pittsburgh is $92,415. You might work in cybersecurity for Humana within the company’s digital health analytics branch. Or, you could take a role as a senior cybersecurity consultant for Verizon.

Also, if you’re open to working for the government, there’s a Federal Bureau of Investigation office in Pittsburgh. In the autumn of 2018, Robert Jones, the special agent in charge of that facility, cited cybersecurity as a top priority and mentioning his team was hiring “a tremendous amount” of agents to specialize in cybersecurity.

6. Your Work Could Have a Global Reach

The online nature of cybersecurity preventive measures and the associated crimes that happen on the Internet mean that even when based in Pittsburgh, your work could have a worldwide impact. That’s especially true in this Pennsylvanian destination.

For example, the National Cyber-Forensics and Training Alliance is a nonprofit organization headquartered in Pittsburgh that aims to mitigate global cybercrime. Since its founding in 2002, the organization has reported 1,539 cases to law enforcement personnel and produced 9,492 intelligence reports.

An Exciting Place to Start or Continue Your Cybersecurity Education or Career

This list shows why Pittsburgh should be on your shortlist as you assess places that could help you gain momentum in the cybersecurity field. It’s a place where you can grab drinks with other cybersecurity professionals, attend enriching conferences and pursue jobs and formal education opportunities.

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– Kayla Matthews is a technology journalist and cybersecurity writer based in Pittsburgh, PA. To read more from Kayla, visit her website.