Report: San Antonio could be 'global industry leader' in cybersecurity, IT
- The cybersecurity and information technology (IT) industry holds the "greatest opportunity for San Antonio to become a global industry leader," but too many jobs remain unfilled, according to a new report from SA Works, an arm of the San Antonio Economic Development Foundation.
- SA Works found that jobs in those fields, such as software developer and information security analyst, will see double digit growth in demand over the next five years, often outpacing the national average. However, despite demand, those positions are not currently being filled. Last year, only 24% of technology jobs were filled in the city, according to a separate SA Works report.
- San Antonio is exploring construction of a security operations center that would monitor municipal computer networks, reports the San Antonio Business Journal.
Recent investments by global companies like PricewaterhouseCoopers, Booz Allen Hamilton and Lockheed Martin to build tech outlets in San Antonio have helped bolster the city’s industry and reputation as a tech destination. Based on a survey of more than 30 companies, the development agency found that the most in-demand occupations were applications software developer (75% of companies reported demand), systems software developer (56%) and information security analyst (53%). The findings were presented at a conference in San Antonio on Thursday.
SA Works says that continuing that momentum will mean not just bringing in talent from abroad, but growing it at home. Thirteen universities and colleges offer cyber degree programs, with five of them getting a designation as a "Center for Academic Excellence in Cyber Defense/Information Assurance Education" from the federal government. That includes the University of Texas at San Antonio, which recently announced plans for a new School of Data Science to be located on a new urban campus, backed by $70 million from the University of Texas System Board of Regents.
In an opinion piece for the San Antonio Express-News, Accenture Federal Services managing director Ali Bokhari also touted the use of apprenticeship programs to retrain employees and "enable people to become contributing members of the digital workforce."
The fact that the San Antonio government is exploring its own cybersecurity hub — which the Business Journal reports would monitor the region’s energy utility, water system and transit network — shows the growing interest in fostering the industry (it also comes after the city announced plans to create "innovation zones" to test new technology). Cities around the country are vying to attract tech jobs, and cybersecurity has offered a good entry point; cities like New York City and Los Angeles have tried to invest directly in the field to grow a new workforce.
Texas has especially been a tech jobs hub, and a focus on cybersecurity would help San Antonio keep up with its neighbors. Austin, for example, has captured a new Apple campus that could accommodate up to 15,000 employees, as well as a U.S. Army technology development center.
- SA Works Information Technology & Cybersecurity: 2019 Demand Occupation and Education Report
- San Antonio Express News Report: San Antonio’s cyber, IT firms hurting for trained workers
- San Antonio Business Journal City of SA looks to stand up shared cybersecurity center
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