Texas’ colleges and universities — 19 of them designated as Centers for Academic Excellence (CAE) by the National Security Agency (NSA) — are training thousands of computer scientists, computer engineers and other information technology (IT) workers to meet information security needs in industries across the state economy.1
Texas A&M University (Texas A&M) is one of only a handful of colleges and universities designated as a CAE in all three NSA focus areas: cyber operations, cyber defense and research.2 As an emerging leader in cybersecurity education and research, Texas A&M continues to strengthen the cybersecurity workforce and develop the tools and technologies needed to face global security challenges.
Texas A&M cybersecurity graduates are much sought after and quickly employed, earning average starting salaries of more than $70,000 annually.3 Ninety percent of graduates have jobs upon graduation.
Texas A&M’s College of Engineering offers a Cybersecurity undergraduate minor, designed to appeal to technically oriented students across multiple departments and disciplines.4 At the graduate level, Texas A&M offers a Master of Engineering in Engineering with a Cybersecurity Specialization as well as certificates in Cybersecurity Engineering, Cybersecurity Management and Cybersecurity Policy.5
Due to the increasing demand for professionally trained cybersecurity professionals, Texas A&M has more programs currently under development, including a Master of Science in Cybersecurity Engineering.6
Texas A&M’s cybersecurity programs are well recognized and were ranked near the top of several national lists for 2019. Texas A&M ranks:
In addition, Military Times included Texas A&M on its most recent list of the 10 best cybersecurity programs for veteran and military-connected students.10
In addition to its NSA designations, Texas A&M received the Defense Security Service’s 2017 Defense Security Service Award for Excellence in Counterintelligence.11
The university is home to the Center for Nuclear Security Science and Policy Initiatives, as well as the Texas A&M Cybersecurity Center.12
Texas A&M’s Engineering Extension Service (TEEX) works with high schools, veterans programs and two-year colleges throughout the state to promote cybersecurity professions, create degree programs and expand workforce development.13
Most recently, in collaboration with the College of Engineering, the Bush School of Government and Public Service has established a center for policy research related to cyber issues.14
More than 100 Texas A&M faculty members are engaged in groundbreaking cybersecurity research, producing publications that have garnered thousands of citations.15
Texas A&M has received a number of investments related to cybersecurity. In February 2018, Texas A&M was awarded a $4.4 million grant from the National Science Foundation’s CyberCorps Scholarships for Service program to administer the Cyber Leader-Scholars Program in partnership with Houston Community College. The program will mentor and develop scholarship recipients during a five-year period with the expectation that they work for a government agency for the same length of time.16
In January 2019, Texas A&M Engineering Experiment Station’s (TEES) researchers composed one of 11 teams to receive a U.S. Department of Energy grant to support the research and development of technologies capable of aiding in the creation of a more secure management system for the nation’s energy infrastructure, which has been a major target for cyberattacks during the last decade. Each team was awarded up to $28 million.17
The Comptroller’s office acknowledges that workers with cybersecurity-related job duties could be classified under other federal Standard Occupational Classification (SOC) codes. This analysis, however, examines the information security analyst occupation to focus on those workers with clear cybersecurity-related job duties, as opposed to other IT roles. Department of Homeland Security recently noted inconsistencies in the way employers define and use the term cybersecurity, which can include a wide range of job functions requiring different qualifications and skillsets. Job descriptions and titles for the same job vary from employer to employer. Some researchers and industry practitioners contend that every IT job is involved in cybersecurity to some extent.
As of 2018, 167 information security analysts were employed in the Central Region, with 61 of them in the College Station-Bryan metropolitan statistical area (MSA). We expect employment in the occupation to rise by 29.5 percent in the region and 34.4 percent in the MSA during the next 10 years, slightly below the statewide growth rate of 41.6 percent in the same period (Exhibit 1).
|College Station-Bryan MSA||34.4%|
Note: Data represent covered employment, or jobs covered by unemployment insurance. Covered employment represents about 97 percent of all employment. Excluded workers include members of the armed forces, the self-employed and railroad workers. Growth is defined as the projected number of new jobs expected to be created.
As of 2017, the average annual wage for information security analysts was $95,000 in Texas, nearly twice as much as the average annual wage for all occupations ($49,000). Entry-level information security analysts in the Central Region and the College Station-Bryan MSA earn average annual wages of $46,400 and $43,300, respectively, versus $57,000 for the state (Exhibit 2).
|Location||Mean Salary||Entry Level Salary||Experienced Salary|
|Texas||95,000 dollars||57,000 dollars||114,000 dollars|
|Central Region||75,700 dollars||46,400 dollars||90,400 dollars|
|College Station-Bryan MSA||75,600 dollars||43,300 dollars||91,700 dollars|
Note: Occupation wages represent the average of all covered employment.
While Texas’ cybersecurity educational programs train workers for almost every industry of the state economy, they also contribute greatly to the cybersecurity industry itself — an industry so new it has yet to be statistically defined by the federal government. Based on a Comptroller analysis, the cybersecurity industry employs about 130,000 in Texas and contributes a minimum of $35.5 billion to the gross state product. The creation of one job in the industry generates one additional job, $187,000 in economic output and $62,000 in compensation in the Texas economy.18
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