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Mapping out Cyber and IT Careers for Youth

OVERVIEW

There are multiple pathways to good-paying jobs in the cybersecurity, coding and IT fields in West Virginia today, and the industry continues to grow. For those high school or college students and young professionals who are interested in pursuing a career in one of these fields, WV Forward and partners have produced a guide to map out potential jobs and help navigate through the security clearance process. The guide offers tips and tricks to pursue successful West Virginia careers and outlines disqualifying factors that could potentially derail a security clearance or job opportunity. There are flexible, stackable job options and training opportunities across the Mountain State. Search through options below!

Diagram map of West Virginia with approximate locations that could prove to be effective in improving cyber and it jobs

In demand cyber jobs span diverse job sectors.

Cyber-related fields include national defense, digital forensics, coding, cloud development, quantum computing, blockchain development, cryptography, artificial intelligence, big data analytics, commercial data security, industrial infrastructure security, business management, software engineering and more. Some cyber jobs require more technical skills while others require more business skills. All of these types of jobs are in demand in West Virginia and around the world.

Map of West Virginia that illustrates different regions with potential growth for cyber jobs and what's already available.      
Cities in West Virginia categorized by Cyber and related sector companies, federal agency offices and 2 or 4 year cyber-related degree programs. See data table of Cyber Opportunites Across West Virginia for more details.

How can I prepare for cyber, coding or IT jobs?

Multiple career paths

  • There are more than 1,100 open computing jobs in West Virginia, four times the average number of job openings in any other field. (Department of Labor).
  • The average West Virginia salary is $40,250, whereas the average West Virginia computing occupation salary is $71,150. (Code.org).

Job sector diversity

  • Cyber, IT and coding jobs are in abundance across many industries, from government and healthcare, to oil and gas, and manufacturing and business.
  • Fields of study include cybersecurity, computer science, mathematics, physics, electronics, engineering or business technology management.

Stretch your skills

  • Coding language use evolves over time. The ten most used languages on GitHub currently are Javascript, Java, Python, PHP, C++, C#, Typescript, Shell, C and Ruby.

Additional resources

Security clearances

Background checks

  • A security clearance is necessary for some cyber jobs that involve working with classified or secret government materials.
  • Employers pay for clearances, which take months to complete and include family and friend interviews and criminal and financial background checks.

The military path

  • Armed service members can earn a clearance while enlisted. One may never have thought that a daily jog could help land a job, but fitness is key to military admission and earning a security clearance via this path.

Clearance tips

Be aware, some potential hurdles to securing a security clearance include social media missteps, illegal use of drugs, uncontrolled debts or bounced checks and various other crimes or fraud.

  • TIP #1: Fitness
    A primary barrier young people face going down the military path ta clearance is obesity or poor fitness. Those interested in coding or tech may never have thought that a daily jog may help them land a job, but being fit is key to military admission. So if you plan to go down this road and you don’t want fitness to be an obstacle for you, take a lap.
  • TIP #2: Social media missteps
    Social media accounts are another danger zone for potential security clearance applicants. They can sometimes show evidence of disqualifying behavior.
  • TIP #3: Illegal use of drugs
    It is important to security clearance investigators that those who are cleared consistently follow the law, including avoiding the illegal use of drugs.
  • TIP #4: uncontrolled debts or bounced checks
    Being in a financially vulnerable situation or engaging in risky financial behaviors can make a cleared individual the target of spies.
  • TIP #5: various crimes or fraud
    It is also important to security clearance investigators that those who are cleared consistently tell the truth in the investigative process and in their professional life.

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*Citations available upon request.