How many Information Security Specialists are there in Minneapolis? Small sample size = bullshit survey.
Minneapolis IT security workers enjoy among the highest salaries of any US city while techies in the heart of San Francisco's tech boom region earn a much lower (cost-of-living-adjusted) wage. Minneapolis, MN tops the list with a $127,757 average (adjusted) salary for a IT Security Specialist (more than 27K more than San Jose …
As it's one of the top 15 "popular tech job search destinations" it's doubtful that it is a small sample size plus when you consider it is home to several large companies, Target, Wells Fargo, US Bancorp, Xcel Energy, and a Federal Reserve Bank to name but a few, there is quite likely a reasonable demand.
Perhaps what you missed was the fact that the salary is adjusted for cost of living which is only slightly higher than average in Minneapolis which scores 108 (100 is US average) according to Sperling's where San Fran scores an impressive 242 and Arlington 181 both largely due to lofty housing costs.
I've lived in both places: San Diego and the Twin Cities. Both have their advantages.
San Diego has my favorite weather of anywhere I've ever lived. Any place where the entire summer forecast is mild heat, low humidity, and the only question is when the fog will burn off is awesome, the social scene is a blast, and the scenery is top notch. But you can't afford a house there, and the idea of getting any sort of land is out of the question unless you're Bill Gates, the traffic is essentially at the level of LA terrible most of the time now, and the schools suck in general.
Minneapolis is cold, but you get used to it. Housing is inexpensive, you can get a nice spread with an easy commute (I had 10 acres with horses and a 20 minute drive to work and the cost was less than a third of the median house on a postage stamp sized lot in SD, and taxes far less). In general the people were friendlier and the public schools better.
And as far as outdoor activity my attitude has always been to find out what the locals do for fun and do it. In SD I surfed, hiked the mountains, and did a little sailing. In the TC I canoed, fished, snowmobiled, cross country skied, and whatnot.
Given my choice, SD was great back when I was single. With kids, Minnesota won.
Having worked in a non-security position for large companies, but having lots of IT security friends, the difference is the type of employee termed "security professional." In established companies, these people are the ones responsible for "real" security like PII, PCI, etc. for companies with millions of customers. They're the ones who get fired when the company has to give out free credit monitoring for a year in exchange for not improving their security. In hipster startups, they're the ones maintaining whatever crazy federated identity management solution their cloud providers have chosen. Either that, or their startup is producing the latest security "single pane of glass" mashup that they're trying to sell to big companies' IT security professionals. Either way, the pay is lower for startup employees -- in many cases they're playing the IPO lottery.
I don't know the numbers of security people in the Twin Cities (Minneapolis and St. Paul) but I know we need more. I grew up in New York currently working in St. Paul. I am not going to lie winters can be brutal but that is why we have skyways. You also have to just go for it in the winter - ice fishing, hockey, skiing, there is plenty to do. The summers are awesome!
Minneapolis also has a lot of cultural attractions for a kind of mid-sized U.S. city, and people outside Minneapolis do talk like extras from "Fargo" (Oh Jeez!), which is kind of charming actually.
Colder than a witch's teet in the winter though, and shoveling all that snow and ice probably gets old.
At the latest local security conference they were complaining of a negative 15% unemployment rate for security professionals in the Minneapolis area. The quality of life is far better than the coasts and the cost of living is far lower. The area in general is one of the best job markets, and tech job markets in the country.
One third of the year we play in snow, we don't have the crazy crime rates, unemployment, age discrimination, cost of living or similar problems.
I have also worked in California and Minnesota for over a year in the later, most of my life in the former...
I can tell you... even with the pay bump I only lasted a year. It is COLD there. When I lived there in 2013 we had 3 days over 20 degrees between October and February... How do I know? Car wash lines are wrapped around the block when temp reaches over 20 and you can wash the salt off.
There is a thick layer of frost on everything for what feels like half the year. I wore heavy boots every day and still fell down at least once a week from slipping on ice.
The taxes are also pretty close to California. Rent is not cheap. Also the traffic is TERRIBLE in rush hour, like california bad in the Twin Cities. The city is setup with 4 N/S and 4 E/W freeways and they will be dark red at 5pm...
Another thing to note is your employer will have no sympathy for snow days. I had clients I had to visit with more than a foot of snow on the freeway and was still expected to be on time and from talking to other people working their my experience was not unique. So you will need a good snow vehicle; and by the way studded tires are illegal so you pretty much have to go AWD. Also don't forget your boot's and long john's.
On the plus side there is good food there. The people are very friendly, and enterprise grade IT people are in short supply so it is an employees market. By the middle of your first winter 20 degrees will become tshirt whether. The big muddy is a lot of fun in the summer too.
So good to MN, if you love snow, don't mind cold and think the pay bump is god enough... but do not take it lightly... MN gave me a new definition of cold, your nose hair's freeze instantly at -20...
I have lived in NY(born and raised there), Denver, Ohio, Houston, and the Twin Cities and can say without hesitation Minnesota is my favorite place. The weather is "invigorating" but you can't let it get to you. There are lots of things to do all year round, either indoors or out depending on your preference. Fishing, boating, hiking, biking, swimming, ice fishing, cross country skiing, snow shoeing, snow mobiling, Great museums, lots of music venues and theaters, and good restaurants. A great place to raise kids; good schools, lots of parks, and plenty of things to do. The St Paul Winter Carnival was designed to give winter the finger with parades, fireworks, snow and ice sculptures, outdoor music, and a great outdoor beer festival at the end of January.
Now, where are those great IT security jobs? There are loads of big companies here; but, none seem to be hiring right now. They tend to prefer contractors who get no benefits.
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