July 20, 2021

How much should I be looking to make with my experience?

I’m currently job searching and I was wondering what I should be asking for and realistically expecting to make with the amount of experience that I have and the current market I’m in.

Background: I started in another field working for 7 total years and managing for 3 years with an industrial supplier. I worked in a tech/IT aspect but nothing too in depth (some networking, running cables, proprietary software management, user admin). Got fed up with the career prospects and decided to do IT as I thought I could be competent. I currently work as a cleared cyber analyst for the DoD in the Washington, DC area. I started out about 3 years ago by earning my Sec+ and then taking a job that didn’t have anything to do with IT to get cleared. After about a year, I found my first helpdesk gig (senior role) with no experience and managed to pivot, after 4 months, into an analyst position that finally put me over 6 figures, which for me was an amazing achievement. I am still in my current role and it has been a little over a year. I also completed my masters program in Information assurance last year and managed to pass the CASP+ about a month ago.

Now that I am searching for the next job that puts me closer to my end goal (consulting) I was wondering what range of compensation I should put as my minimum. I want to ask for fair value but what should that be? Taking area, experience and education into account, I thought $155k+ total compensation was reasonable. $65-70/hour with PTO and benefits basically. Does this seem high? Low? About right? I just don’t want to feel underpaid as I was lowballed by my current recruiters in the position I am in now. $10-15k lowballed. Any input is appreciated.

4.5 years IT/1 year Cybersec




I was a hiring manager for a fortune 150 financial institution in Tysons Corner (NoVA), so very familiar with the job market and salaries.

Could you get salary of $155k? Potentially however that would be the high end. Sr. Managers (5-8 years of experience) have a range of $120k to $170k.

No offense, but you’d have to be performing way higher than your years dictate for me to pay you that much. Assuming you’re an above average employee, I’d guess $80k to $130k would be very fair for your experience.

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