Cybersecurity jobs projected to bring $450 million to CSRA economy over next five years, according to AU study

AUGUSTA, Ga. (WJBF)- The CSRA has heard a lot of talk about Cyber lately. Augusta University opened its cyber institute in 2015. Last year, the Army broke ground on its Cyber Command headquarters at Fort Gordon, and the Georgia Cyber Innovation and Training Center is under construction downtown.

But what does our cybersecurity workforce really look like in the CSRA? And how is it going to change in the next few years? An Augusta University study presents data about what we can expect.

"The salary impact and the number of jobs are going to be, you know, what we're calling a cyber tsunami," said the study's co-author William Hatcher, who is the director of AU's Masters of Public Administration program.

The study surveyed more than 1,500 local businesses, non-profits and public agencies about their future cybersecurity needs, and 278 responded.

"When you do these kinds of surveys, that's a pretty solid response rate," Hatcher said.

Those entities' reports indicated they expect to grow their cyber-related IT workforce by 138 percent over the next five years. The study's authors then applied those findings to the broader CSRA community.

"That 138% that translates into over 4000 jobs," Hatcher said.

Hatcher also says those jobs would pay about $450 million dollars in salary over the next five years.

"This may even have an effect on this economy that I don't know that any of us can really imagine at this point," said Walter Sprouse, who is the executive director of the Augusta Economic Development Authority.

In addition to those projected 4,000 jobs, Fort Gordon's cyber missions are expected to create nearly 5,000 positions. Part of the reason AU wanted this study is to see how they can better their students for these new opportunities.

"We are preparing students for this particular world," said Joanne Sexton, who is the director of AU's Cyber Institute. "It's important for me to understand what company needs are and other organizations, so that our academics, our education, fits the bill, and that we're making sure that our students are prepared to walk in, job-ready."

AU is planning on doing this study every year going forward.

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