By the BF Staff
From the September/October 2020 Issue
Research recently released by Emsi, the labor analytics experts, includes a sobering conclusion that the United States has less than half of the skilled cybersecurity workers it needs to keep up with burgeoning demand from the red-hot cybersecurity sector, which has created more than 1 million new jobs, ever-intensifying demand. For every 100 job openings in the cybersecurity field, there are only 48 qualified applicants, Emsi reports.
Emsi recommends “Build, Don’t Buy,” a skills-based strategy to solve the cybersecurity talent shortage. Companies in need of cybersecurity talent should re-skill existing employees rather than recruit outside their walls for talent that is already extremely hard to get, Emsi says.
The labor market analysts say employers should invest time and money in helping employees acquire cybersecurity microcredentials; colleges, universities and other training organizations can focus on the key skills needed at the local or regional level and help upskill the many working adults who might be looking for new employment, plus a generation of new grads hungry for good opportunity in a disrupted labor market; and regions and cities have a vital role in addressing the crisis as they broker between local businesses and higher education to fill the talent gap.
Collaboration between these stakeholders is the key to solving the cyber talent gap, Emsi says. Working together, employers, workforce development organizations and higher ed institutions can reduce the cost of cybersecurity certifications.
VIRGINIA: THE TOP DATA HUB IS A LEADER IN CYBERSECURITY
Virginia has emerged as a national leader in cybersecurity and is at the forefront of talent development in the industry. (VA was the top-ranked state in the Cybersecurity Leaders category in Business Facilities’ 2020 State Rankings Report.)
Virginia is uniquely equipped to succeed in this sector, with close proximity to the federal government, unparalleled assets in information technology and higher education institutions that are training the next generation of cybersecurity professionals.
Northern Virginia is a breeding ground for the cybersecurity industry, with the largest data center market in the U.S. concentrated in this region of the Commonwealth. More than 70 percent of the world’s internet traffic passes through Loudoun County’s digital infrastructure, making Virginia a key player in the world’s technology economy.
Forty-one of the 2019 Washington Technology Top 100 federal contracting companies are headquartered in Virginia, including seven of the top 10. Virginia is home to six companies ranked in the Cyber 150, the fourth-largest number of any state in the U.S.
In addition to Northern Virginia, advanced levels of connectivity are seen throughout Virginia. Mid-Atlantic Broadband Communities Corporation owns and operates 1,900 miles of open-access fiber optic network in 31 counties in Southern Virginia and operates long-haul fiber network for optical transport to key peering hubs on the East Coast. Virginia Beach now is the landing point for three new transoceanic fiber cable connection points—the first in the Mid-Atlantic.
Virginia has the largest cybersecurity workforce on the East Coast at 83,561 workers, according to CyberSeek. Virginia has the 2nd-highest concentration of workers employed in the tech industry in the country (Cyberstates, 2019), second to California’s estimated workforce of 100,280.
To meet the rising demand for a cybersecurity workforce, nearly 50 of Virginia’s colleges and universities have established cyber degrees and degrees with cyber focus. Virginia also is home to 23 NSA/DHS Centers of Academic Excellence (CAE) in cybersecurity.
Virginia is taking steps to ensure a prepared and agile tech talent pipeline across the Commonwealth by making performance-based investments in public higher education institutions statewide. Virginia’s Tech Talent Investment Program has committed $1.1 billion to more than double the annual number of graduates in computer science with bachelor’s and master’s degrees in computer science and related fields, ultimately resulting in more than 31,000 additional graduates over the next two decades in excess of current levels. Fourteen Virginia universities will share state funding over the next two decades for the expansion of their degree programs and construction of new facilities, fueling the growth of the Commonwealth’s robust tech sector.
Virginia Tech’s $1 billion, 1 million-square-foot graduate Innovation Campus focused on technology positions the university and its future partners near the nation’s capital, diverse industries and leading tech companies, including Amazon. When complete, the campus will enroll 750 master’s candidates and hundreds of doctoral students and postdoctoral fellows. George Mason University expanded to establish a School of Computing and the Institute for Digital Innovation, which will increase enrollment from 6,500 computing program students to 15,000 by 2024. The University of Virginia School of Data Science—the first of its kind in the nation—was founded in 2019 through the largest gift in UVA history, and positions the university and Virginia to play a national and international leadership role in the global digital future.
In addition to Virginia’s Tech Talent Investment Program, the Commonwealth Cyber Initiative (CCI) is underway, which is a network of cyber research, education and innovation connecting Virginia’s public universities, community colleges and businesses. CCI consists of four Regional Nodes, encompassing Central Virginia, Coastal Virginia, Northern Virginia and Southwest Virginia and each led by an institution of higher education, with its Hub located in the Virginia Tech Research Center in Northern Virginia. CCI’s goal is to advance Virginia as a global leader in secure cyberphysical systems (CPS) and in the digital economy by supporting world-class research; promoting technology commercialization and entrepreneurship; and preparing future generations of innovators and research leaders. These investments and partnerships in higher education will train the next generation of tech talent in Virginia.
DELAWARE: TECH TALENT PIPELINE
Delaware is doing its part to address the nation’s critical shortage of skilled workers and to meet the talent needs of a red-hot cybersecurity growth sector.
Delaware Prosperity Partnership, the public-private partnership that leads the state of Delaware’s economic development efforts, has completed the first step in developing an intentional strategy to support a more diverse tech talent pipeline across an array of industry sectors for IT jobs at all levels in Delaware.
Delaware Prosperity Partnership was awarded a workforce readiness grant in October 2019 by JPMorgan Chase Foundation to help improve the state’s tech talent pipeline by offering recommendations to support a more diverse pool of highly qualified tech candidates.
Although launched pre-COVID-19, the findings of the analysis are particularly relevant as Delaware businesses are facing an unprecedented demand for well-prepared IT talent throughout the pandemic and beyond. Here is what the tech talent profile revealed about Delaware’s tech talent pipeline:
IT needs remain a key concern for Delaware employers, with IT jobs needed at all levels (entry to highly specialized) across IT domains (software, networks, cyber security, data management and tech support).
Bottlenecks in IT hiring are exacerbated by changing skills and the accelerated digitization of our economy in the COVID-19 pandemic.
Addressing IT talent needs will require significantly more focus on upskilling those already in the workforce, as well as continuing to expand educational pathways.
In 2019, Delaware employed 17,429 tech workers. About 10 percent of those positions are filled by workers commuting to Delaware. Two-thirds of IT jobs are found outside the traditional “tech” sector in areas of finance, healthcare, manufacturing, education and more.
Delaware Prosperity Partnership commissioned the Austin-based firm TIP Strategies to conduct the tech talent profile, assessing the current and anticipated tech job market in Delaware, the state’s supply of qualified applicants and the current educational and nonprofit capacity to meet the demand. The analysis included roundtables, interviews and work sessions, with more than 50 participants from Delaware businesses, nonprofits, education and workforce development in all three counties.
From December 2019 to February 2020 alone, approximately 5,300 IT job openings were posted by Delaware companies. Since then, in addition to sustaining tech needs in Delaware’s robust business and financial sectors, the pandemic has accelerated the deployment of IT strategies in sectors like healthcare and education and even redefined digital needs in industries such as manufacturing and agriculture.
“The demand for tech talent in Delaware has never been stronger,” said Kurt Foreman, President and CEO of Delaware Prosperity Partnership.
“With this program, Delaware distinguishes itself as one of the first states in the nation to bring stakeholders together to strategically envision how a diverse tech talent pipeline will advance our economy,” said Foreman.
DPP and TIP are working collaboratively with stakeholders statewide and aim to present a plan in early fall. The plan will provide the foundation for a diverse IT talent strategy that enhances the competitiveness of Delaware industries while creating career opportunities for people of all backgrounds. The plan also is expected to build upon several successful, innovative community-based working models already helping to feed Delaware’s tech talent pipeline, including those at Delaware Technical and Community College, TechHire Delaware, Zip Code Wilmington, Code Differently and Year Up Wilmington, as well as the Delaware Pathways IT career programs currently offered through Delaware public schools and the new FinTech Center at the University of Delaware.
“Delaware is distinguished by the depth and breadth of its businesses, and we’re ideally positioned to be thought leaders in developing an intentional strategy to bring more diversity into the tech talent pipeline,” says Tom Horne, Delaware Market Director at JPMorgan Chase. “JPMorgan Chase is proud to partner with Delaware Prosperity Partnership to advance career pathways in tech and promote inclusive economic growth.”
TRAINING NEXT-GEN CYBERSECURITY EXPERTS IN THE SHOW ME STATE
Researchers at Missouri S&T will continue to combat cybersecurity threats by training the next generation of experts in the field with a $225,000 grant from the National Science Foundation. The grant will fund Missouri S&T’s computer science department’s “Scholarship for Service” master of science degree and Ph.D. students, who will specialize in cybersecurity.
After graduating, the scholarship recipients will serve at a federal agency for a period of time equal to the length of their scholarship.
The project, titled “MASTER: Missouri Advanced Security Training, Education and Research,” is led by Dr. Sajal Das, the Daniel St. Clair Endowed Chair and professor of computer science at Missouri S&T. This additional grant brings the S&T program’s total to over $3 million in funding. The MASTER program is part of the U.S. government’s CyberCorps Scholarship for Service (SFS). Through this program, the National Science Foundation, in conjunction with the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, issues scholarship grants to attract students to the cybersecurity field.
The scholarships are designed to increase and strengthen cybersecurity professionals that protect the U.S. government. Colleges and universities can earn the grant only if they are certified by the National Security Agency as a National Center of Academic Excellence for Information Assurance Education. Missouri S&T was the first higher education institution in the state to achieve that designation and has held the title since 2007.
“The workforce in cybersecurity is too small at the present,” says Das. “There is a huge need to develop network and system security, and now, thanks to our grant, S&T computer science students can serve the U.S. through a stream program similar in style to the ROTC program we have here on campus.”
The computer science department hopes to use this grant to promote its experiential learning opportunities. The MASTER program also will help the department recruit and retain more women and minority students.
The University of Missouri (UM) System’s MOREnet and the Missouri Cybersecurity Center of Excellence are working together to train the next generation of workers through events such as the Missouri High School Cybersecurity Challenge.
More than 150 Missouri high school students from across the state competed in the inaugural Missouri High School Cyber Security Challenge. The top 10 teams competed in the finals round, and were honored by Gov. Mike Parsons during the MOREnet Annual Conference last fall. The two organizations will continue to work together on an annual cybersecurity challenge, as well as year-round opportunities to prepare students for jobs impacted by future disruptive technologies.
SAN ANTONIO: THE CYBER CITY
San Antonio, TX was leading in cybersecurity before the industry even had a name. Since 1948 when the U.S. Air Force established its Security Service operations in San Antonio, the region’s ability to collaborate across the military, industry, and academia has grown the nation’s leading cybersecurity hub.
The San Antonio region delivers what other communities promise: access to job ready-people and proximity to the Department of Defense (DoD). San Antonio has the largest pool of certified experts outside of D.C. and is home to U.S. Air Force Cyber HQ, NSA Texas, a massive private sector presence, and the connectivity and power infrastructure companies need. Today, San Antonio is owning its title as Cyber City.
MILITARY CITY, U.S.A.
Military units have consistently had a presence in San Antonio for 300 years—the U.S military since the 1800s. With one of the nation’s largest active and retired military populations, San Antonio has what other cities try to replicate—unparalleled access to DoD assets, innovations, and talent. San Antonio is Cyber City, but it couldn’t claim that distinction without first being Military City, U.S.A.
Because of the sensitive nature of their work, it is difficult to get an accurate headcount of the number of security and cyber professionals in the region. San Antonio’s more than 100 private sector cyber companies employ more than 16,000, and sources estimate that upwards of 80,000 could be employed by various agencies across San Antonio.
The Sixteenth Air Force (Air Forces Cyber) is headquartered at Joint Base San Antonio-Lackland and across the runway on the adjacent Port San Antonio technology campus. The first-of-its-kind numbered Air Force is responsible for information warfare, encompassing intelligence gathering and analysis, surveillance, reconnaissance, cyber warfare, and electronic warfare operations.
In addition, the National Security Agency (NSA) Central Security Service Texas Cryptologic Center is based in San Antonio conducting worldwide signals intelligence, cyberspace, and cybersecurity operations. The FBI Cyber Division in San Antonio addresses cyber threats allowing the FBI to stay technologically one step ahead of threats to the nation. The Cyber Division supports FBI priorities across counterterrorism, counterintelligence, and other criminal investigations when aggressive technological investigative assistance is required. Six satellite offices (Austin, Brownsville, Del Rio, Laredo, McAllen, and Waco) surround the main office in San Antonio.
With the Military as a foundational part of San Antonio’s economy and massive headquarters who serve them, like United Services Automobile Association (USAA), San Antonio is a natural testing ground for technology, processes, systems modernization, education, and every other aspect of the cyber industry.
“San Antonio is at the intersection of military and business, which gives us a unique ecosystem of R&D, innovation and industry. Our military, FBI and NSA presence improves network infrastructure and creates an atmosphere for technology innovators to connect with corporations and investors. These assets—coupled with our leading cyber cluster and fast-growing financial sector—have grown a sustainable, multidisciplinary workforce in San Antonio and ample opportunities for military service members, spouses and families,” said Wayne Peacock, USAA CEO.
INNOVATIVE PARTNERSHIPS BETWEEN BUSINESS AND HIGHER ED
San Antonio’s private sector and education institutions are leading the way in innovative partnerships.
Port San Antonio is reimagining the former Kelly Air Force Base as a technology innovation destination through the organization’s Tech Port vision, which is leveraging its large industrial platform as a unique place that connect people, industry, educators, and buyers and sellers to accelerate the development and delivery of innovative technology solutions to some of the world’s largest industries. Key global sectors that are connecting with the Port’s technology campus include aerospace, energy, defense, cybersecurity, financial services, medicine, manufacturing, and supply-chain logistics. Today, more than 14,000 work on Port San Antonio’s 1,900-acre site, which is home to more than 80 employers, including industry leaders like Boeing, Booz Allen Hamilton, StandardAero, Lockheed Martin, and Northrop Grumman, as well as major DoD headquarters and other national security operations.
The Port’s strategic vision, which has helped create nearly 4,000 new jobs since 2018, will be bolstered through its upcoming state-of-the-art Innovation Center. Scheduled for completion in early 2022, the unique facility will allow the San Antonio community, educators, and technology employers to come together to strengthen the region’s technology ecosystem, collaboratively develop new solutions and market them to industries around the world. The center will include an industry showroom, technology museum, maker/R&D space, and a technology arena and convention space—all under one roof.
“This development will be first of its kind, for San Antonio and the nation. By building an ecosystem in San Antonio that is exciting and easily accessible to millions of individuals and empowers them so they can be part of that tidal change—through education, through employment and as innovators and entrepreneurs—we keep raising our profile as a leading innovation destination. This will accelerate job and economic growth in our region, and it will increasingly allow us to compete globally based on the value of our technology and the talent of our people,” said Port San Antonio chief executive officer Jim Perschbach.
Expanding on education and industry partnerships, UTSA not only has the nation’s top cybersecurity degree program but also boasts a robust, collaborative research ecosystem related to cyber. The university’s National Security Collaboration Center (NSCC) is leading the effort to increase collaboration among government, industry, and academia to overcome the most significant challenges and threats to national security. A new world-class education center, collaboration center and School of Data Science is set to open in the heart of downtown San Antonio in 2022.
The NSCC currently operates on the Main Campus with embedded federal, state and industry partners, including 30 new partners as the NSCC expands with new lab and R&D workspace.
“UTSA is answering the national call for greater collaboration across industries by bringing together the brightest minds from academia, government and the private sector to engage in research and uncover transdisciplinary solutions,” said UTSA President Taylor Eighmy. “The NSCC is serving as a catalyst for national security research, education and workforce development in our state and nation.”
The Cybersecurity Manufacturing Innovation Institute (CyManII) at UTSA develops “technical innovations and an “energy-ROI” that drives a cybersecurity future to advance U.S. manufacturing innovation and global manufacturing leadership” says Dr. Howard Grimes, CEO of CyManII. Having been selected for funding up to 70 million dollars by the Department of Energy, CyManII is a collaborative institute with over 22 university members, 31 industrial members and three national labs including Sandia National Laboratories, the Oak Ridge National Laboratory and the Idaho National Laboratory. Reflecting an array of deep expertise in cybersecurity, smart and energy-efficient manufacturing, supply chains, factory automation and workforce development, CyManII hopes to secure digital transformations that will continue to propel U.S. innovation in manufacturing for decades to come.
LevelUP Code Works is a recently formed joint venture between the Air Force and the private sector focused on modernizing military systems and developing secure applications for use by the armed forces. LevelUP chose to locate in the heart of San Antonio’s downtown tech corridor to build their team of 400 individuals to include military, Air Force civilians, and industry partners spanning from traditional national defense firms to non-traditional small companies.
For the top nine cyber degrees and certifications sought by employers, San Antonio ranks third in the nation. Each year, San Antonio’s five NSA Centers of Academic Excellence and other higher education cyber programs produce 1000 grads with cyber skills. The NSA centers include the University of Texas at San Antonio (UTSA), Texas A&M University-San Antonio (TAMU-SA), Our Lady of the Lake University, San Antonio College, and St. Phillip’s College, which offers a Cyber First Responder certification.
UTSA’s cybersecurity programs have been ranked #1 in the nation by Hewlett-Packard/Ponemon Institute, preparing students for in-demand analyst and developer roles at America’s top companies. More than 3,000 students are enrolled in four graduate and undergraduate cybersecurity programs annually. Upon completing the program, many graduates choose to stay and work in San Antonio for Accenture, Booz Allen Hamilton, Capital Group, Digital Defense, NSA, and USAA, as well as fast-growing small companies like Inc. 5000-listed CNF Technologies. Additionally, UTSA offers a 100 percent online BBA in cybersecurity.
TAMU-SA offers four bachelor’s programs and one master’s program in cybersecurity. All students graduating from the BS-CS, BBA-CIS, and the BAAS-IT programs with Cyber Security concentrations are eligible to get the NSA/DHS Cyber Defense Education Certificate upon graduation. Our Lady of the Lake University has a unique Master of Science program aimed at working IT professionals to upskill and certify them in various cybersecurity disciplines.
San Antonio’s skilled talent pipeline includes Active Duty Military Personnel retiring or separating from service account. Companies like USAA, Bank of America, and H- E-B work with local workforce development teams to target these individuals and retain them in the market.
SIERRA VISTA, AZ: USHERING IN THE 4TH INDUSTRIAL REVOLUTION
The 4th Industrial Revolution, a concept introduced just five years ago, marks the continual application of smart technology for communications and connectivity through the Internet of Things. The technology behind the connectivity includes mobile devices, advanced human-machine interface, data visualization and on-demand availability of resources—all delivered through often pocket-sized technology.
A $248 billion industry, consumers are gobbling up tech gadgets to enhance their connected experience, from smart watches to kitchen appliances, in-home electronic assistants to security cameras, and more. In fact, there are more devices (about 50 billion of them) on planet Earth than people. And the quantity keeps growing. Experts anticipate the number will increase to 125 billion by 2030.
While the Internet of Things keeps the world at your fingertips, ensuring the security alongside this exponential connectivity is critical. In 2019, security breaches exceeded 4.1 billion records and cost businesses millions to clean up.
HIGH TECH IN THE HIGH DESERT
Sierra Vista, Arizona is a growing hub for cutting-edge technology, where technology and human interaction blurs into the 4th Industrial Revolution. Affordable and unassuming, this mid-sized community offers a highly educated workforce, industry-leading training and education, and world-class recreation opportunities.
Sierra Vista is home of the U.S. Army’s Fort Huachuca, where several key missions that support national defense are conducted, including NETCOM, which operates and defends the Army’s worldwide networks; the nation’s largest unmanned aerial systems training facility; and the U.S. Army Intelligence Center of Excellence, focusing on myriad high-tech training to support the Army’s critical intel missions.
The Army’s operations at Fort Huachuca are supported by thousands of highly educated and technology-focused contractors, many of whom are recruited from the Fort’s 400-plus soldiers and officers who voluntarily separate from service annually.
Sierra Vista-based Cochise College, which ranks among the top three community colleges in the nation, is outpacing universities with its state-of-the-art programs in cybersecurity and virtual reality/augmented reality. Cochise College’s cybersecurity program launched in mid-2020 and trains students using a cutting-edge data center modeled on military standards. Highly trained graduates complete the program with a Security+ certificate and are ready to join the workforce or transfer into the University of Arizona’s College of Applied Science and Technology (CAST) cyber security program, located adjacent to Cochise College.
U of A’s CAST curriculum includes both offensive and defensive cyber security training using a state-of-the-art learning environment that meets the most demanding academic and technical requirements. The cyber operations program is designated as a Center of Academic Excellence by the National Security Agency, one of only 20 in the nation, and its intelligence education program is approved by the Defense Intelligence Agency.
The U of A program operates in a unique online AI environment that grows exponentially to replicate the intricacies of the real world, including daily chatter, organized crime, cyber attacks and more.
As the Internet of Things continues to evolve, CAST students trained in cyber are ready to take on a critical component of Industry 4.0, where boundaries between the physical and digital worlds increasingly merge.
And Cochise College is at the helm of the merge with its latest certificate program: Virtual Reality Technologist.
After recruiting a top virtual reality developer from a leading Department of Defense contractor, Cochise College developed a new program in virtual reality and augmented reality. The recently launched program is training students using industry-standard software and hardware. Technologists gain hands-on experience in the classroom, through internships and in entrepreneurial endeavors, finishing with job-ready skills for organizations on an Industry 4.0 trajectory.
Recently heralded by Business Insider as one of the best communities in the West for telecommuting, Sierra Vista is less than 30 miles from I-10 and near bustling Tucson. With a population of just over 45,000, the nearly 150 years of military influence is easily seen in the variety of international restaurants and demographic diversity. Residents and visitors enjoy dishes from around the globe, prepared in old-world traditions and bursting with fresh, authentic flavor.
At an elevation of 4,633 feet, Sierra Vista is bordered by the Huachuca Mountains to the south, part of the Sky Islands, a range of soaring mountain peaks that cup southeast Arizona.
The 2020 NICE K12 Cybersecurity Education Conference, taking place on December 7-8, 2020 at the Marriott St. Louis Grand in St. Louis, MO, will feature timely and thought-provoking presentations that highlight effective collaborations, bold experiments and innovations, and other potentially game-changing methods in support of growing the cybersecurity workforce. Attendees will include training and educational leaders from academia, business and government for two days of focused hands-on workshops and discussions in support of the NICE strategic goals: accelerate learning and skills development, nurture a diverse learning community, and guide career development and workforce planning.
CYBER CENTER FOR EDUCATION COMING TO NSA’S CAMPUS IN MD
When the National Security Agency (NSA) and the National Cryptologic Museum Foundation (NCMF) break ground on the Cyber Center for Education and Innovation (CCEI) on the campus of NSA-Washington (NSAW) in Fort Meade, MD, it will be the culmination of years of hard work.
The state-of-the-art CCEI will offer over 70,000 square feet of conference space and classrooms, providing a venue focused on delivering programs that encourage government, industry and academia to share insights, knowledge and resources to strengthen cybersecurity across the Nation. It also will serve as the new home of the National Cryptologic Museum. With a modern design featuring tall glass windows and skylights, a well-lit main room and large, open floor plans, the completely unclassified complex inspires transparency.
“This is an exciting time for NSA and the National Cryptologic Museum Foundation,” said Laura Nelson, President and Chief Executive Officer of the NCMF. “The vision for the CCEI was set forth by former NSA Director Lt Gen Ken Minihan, USAF (ret.), who continues to actively support our effort to build the CCEI. It is gratifying to see the work of so many come to fruition as we celebrate our history and the partnership between our organizations.”
The CCEI is the latest development in the 20-year partnership between the Agency and the NCMF. The robust collaboration is dedicated to the enrichment and enhancement of the National Cryptologic Museum, which has long served as an invaluable educational tool, cultivating the cryptologic professions and motivating future generations of mathematicians, engineers, computer scientists, linguists and analysts.
The museum, founded in 1993, currently resides inside its original structure just outside NSAW’s secure fence line. It serves as the home of our Nation’s cryptologic treasures, and showcases those who shaped cryptologic history.
“The Agency does some incredibly important work, but it can’t talk about what it does. It’s a cryptologic conundrum, I like to call it,” said Patrick Weadon, curator of the National Cryptologic Museum since 2005. “If you are a cryptologic organization in a democratic republic that answers to the taxpayers, there is one avenue to justify your existence, and that’s to take examples from the past of declassified stories, instances and moments when cryptology played a critical role, and highlight them.