Estimates based on cybersecurity job postings indicate that employers seek more than 33,000 workers in Virginia and 43,000 in the National Capital Region. Nationally, the workforce gap is estimated to exceed 300,000 jobs. These calculations of the workforce gap vary depending on how “cybersecurity” is defined. Using a working definition that focuses on subject areas at the intersection of data, security and autonomy, a range of high-value employee skill sets can be identified, such as cryptography, compliance with legal standards, information security, computer network defense and forensics.
Approximately 2,000 students are currently enrolled in cybersecurity-focused programs at public and private higher education institutions in the Commonwealth, and about 14,000 are enrolled in cybersecurity-related programs, including those in more generalized areas of computer and data sciences. Many institutions have specialized degrees in cybersecurity, while others approach specialization through minors supporting computer engineering and computer science majors.
In addition, Virginia has made a substantive and successful investment in this area by creating the Virginia Cyber Range. Initially funded by the Virginia General Assembly in 2016, this cloud-hosted virtual environment curates and hosts over 140 courseware materials accessible by schools and where students can practice their cybersecurity skills in immersive laboratory exercises. The Cyber Range currently supports 158 high schools, 16 community colleges and 13 universities in Virginia, involving over 1,600 student participants.
CCI will work with institutions of higher education across Virginia to align and enhance the exceptional pipelines and platforms already in place, and to provide more and better experiential learning opportunities for students.