Security in Cyberspace: Programs train to battle hacker attacks


When was the last time you used the internet? When was the last time you made an online purchase? Are you familiar with cybersecurity?

In this digital age, we rely daily on our personal technical devices, and systems that contain our financial and personal information. In the wrong hands, this information can be easily compromised. With hackers improving their methods of attack, there is a need for increased security. Local Rio Grande Valley organizations have identified this need and are working to address it.

For eight intensive weeks that began June 5, 40 chosen cohorts are participating in this year’s Cybersecurity Analyst (boot) Camp. This program is an initiative of CodeRGV Inc. and is sponsored by Mission EDC and Workforce Solutions.

(boot) Camp is held at the CEED building in Mission, and the program is taught by certified CompTIA instructors. The program includes training and certification tests on A+, Network+, Security+, and CSA+, as well as soft skills training. Participants have the opportunity to obtain four certifications as cybersecurity analysts, in a career that is in high demand.

“This bootcamp is focused on filling a need in professional certification of IT workers in cybersecurity,” said Alex Meade, Mission EDC CEO. “The demand for certified workers encompasses all industries in IT departments and companies that provide IT services to businesses both large and small.”

Demand for Cybersecurity Analysts

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts that information security analysts will be the fastest growing overall job category, with 37 percent overall growth between 2012 and 2022. A career in information security analysis ranked seventh on U.S. News and World Report’s list of the 100 best technology jobs for 2017. According to the BLS, the median pay for an information security analyst is $90,120 per year.

As the concern for cyberattacks continues to increase, the need for educated Cybersecurity Analysts means that universities are offering more degree programs. Texas is leading the way in cybersecurity education. At the University of Texas at San Antonio, the Department of Information Systems and Cybersecurity offers two undergraduate degree programs: one with a major in information systems, and the other with a major in cybersecurity. The department also offers minors in cybersecurity, digital forensics, information systems, and network and data center management, which are open to all majors. The university is among 11 prominent Texas schools working to educate students in order to supply the workforce.

In 2011, the Texas Department of Information Resources created the Texas Cybersecurity, Education, and Economic Development Council. According to the organization’s website, “TCEEDC was created to leverage public/private partnerships to examine the infrastructure of the state’s cybersecurity operations with the intent to produce strategies to accelerate the growth of cybersecurity as an industry within Texas, and to encourage industry members to call Texas ‘home.’

(boot) Camp begins

As the Cybersecurity Analyst (boot) Camp gears up in Mission, the excitement surrounding the camp is palpable. Drew Lentz, president of CodeRGV, points to the strength of this initiative.

“This model will help build capacity in South Texas so that future cybersecurity certification boot camps such as this one may continue,” Lentz said. “Our mission to Build Better Nerds continues by educating developers and skilled professionals while cultivating a technology friendly atmosphere in South Texas. Through this partnership we will continue to innovate and build a better workforce for Texas and the world.”

CompTIA, which will provide the curriculum and certified instructors for (boot) Camp, is a strong force in the internet technology industry. With more than 2,000 members, 3,000 academic and training partners and tens of thousands of registered users spanning the entire information communications and technology industry, CompTIA has become a leading voice for the technology ecosystem. The organization has invested millions to grow their portfolio that includes IT education, IT certification, IT advocacy, and IT philanthropy.

This summer CompTIA will bring its talented team to the RGV.

“Cybersecurity threats are growing both in numbers and in the risks they pose to organizations,” said Mark Plunkett, senior director of Business Development. “To counter these threats we need to develop a technology workforce that is educated, trained, and certified in the latest cybersecurity countermeasures. This initiative is on point for achieving this objective. CompTIA is pleased to be a part of this effort.”

Employers seek talent

Employers across Texas and the U.S. are seeking thousands of core technology workers in cybersecurity and other tech skills, in order to fill current and future staffing needs.

“It’s an increasingly important job. The need for people in the industry is going to grow exponentially,” said Ed McLin, president of Larkin Addison, a specialty insurance company that provides cyber insurance. According to CompTIA’s Cyberstates 2017 report, in 2016 tech industry employment in Texas grew by more than 11,000 jobs. Despite this large number of hirings, employers posted job openings for more than 42,600 tech occupations in Q4 2016.

ISACA, a nonprofit information security advocacy group, predicts that there will be a global shortage of 2 million cybersecurity professionals by 2019. According to the cybersecurity data tool CyberSeek, in the U.S. alone, 40,000 information security analyst jobs go unfilled yearly. The demand is high, and the talent to fill these positions is needed now more than ever.

For more information

  • CodeRGV:
  • CompTIA:
  • (TCEEDC):
  • The University of Texas at San Antonio: