San Antonio University Takes Aim at Gap in Cybersecurity Workforce

San Antonio—The University of Texas at San Antonio plans to open a new cybersecurity center that its leaders hope will draw interest from organizations looking for prospective employees, including both private companies and the federal government.

Called the National Security Collaboration Center, it will be a physical space that aims to be a central gathering place for government agencies and businesses who are seeking both future cybersecurity workers, as well as contemporary research by students that might aid the organizations’ existing projects, according to UTSA. The space may also house a startup incubator, a computing center for research, a data visualization lab, and other research and training facilities.

The university hasn’t yet said when the center will open or where it will be located. But the goal is to get it operating as soon as possible, says Bernard Arulanandam, a vice president at UTSA focused on research and economic development.

“Cybersecurity is such that if you graduate with a degree right now, you are going to have multiple job offers, just because of the great number of openings out there,” Arulanandam says. A 2017 study by Frost & Sullivan estimated that by 2022 there will be 1.8 million fewer cybersecurity workers than there are job openings.

UTSA is by no means the only school trying to fill that gap. San Antonio is increasingly becoming known as a cybersecurity hub, however, with a growing number of businesses—from government contractors like IPSecure and Fidelis Cybersecurity at Port San Antonio, to startups like Infocyte and data backup provider Jungle Disk—as well as federal government entities and nonprofits. UTSA’s effort to train more workers follows suit with the city’s effort to increase the local presence of the cybersecurity industry.

UTSA has created other programs to work more closely with those organizations, such as a cloud cybersecurity initiative that involves Rackspace, the San Antonio-based cloud computing company, and Austin, TX-based cybersecurity company NSS Labs. The National Security Collaboration Center similarly has already made collaboration deals with Reston, VA-based Noblis and Waltham, MA-based Raytheon. Students will be able to work directly with those companies on solving real cybersecurity problems and conducting research, providing them with valuable training, Arulanandam says.

David Holley is Xconomy's national correspondent based in Austin, TX. You can reach him at [email protected] Follow @xconholley

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