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Alamo Colleges growing cybersecurity program hopes to fill growing industry job gap

Cybersecurity is a rapidly growing field, and one program at St. Philip's College is helping young professionals enter the industry.

SAN ANTONIO — Governor Greg Abbott recently hailed San Antonio as the cybersecurity capital of Texas.

St. Philip’s College says it has new tools preparing students for an IT career.

But experts say the demand for jobs is greater than the number of people who can fill them.

One San Antonio native is hoping to make a difference in the field.

On the big screen inside the cyber range at St. Philip’s College, it’s a different superhero story than what you see in movies.

“For the most part its like we’re saving the world with the same techniques but our motives are totally different,” sophomore Deja Smith’s motive is very personal.

“When I first started I was 20 and 9 months pregnant, and I was like man I need a job and I heard that cybersecurity is a fast growing industry that pays very well and I want to be a part,” Smith said.

She’s training to be an information security analyst.

“There’s several pieces of IT that have grown because of the demand, the demand for cybersecurity we cannot keep up with, so this group or this room will help people get to the end of the road faster,”Rick Lopez is the college’s IT program director.

San Antonio has the second most certified cyber professionals outside of Washington DC, according to Greater SATX.

While this program has grown in the last 10 years—the growth isn’t fast enough.

“We’re probably greater than 10,000 jobs behind,” Lopez’s estimates are smaller than others.

According the International Information System Security Certification Consortium, or (ISC)2, the industry needs 3.4 million workers.

“People think when you come into this industry you have to have all the brains and know how to do things but no. This field is about learning and experience is built off of your failures,” Smith says she also has other motives to be successful.

“You mainly see women in the field and especially being a woman of color, it's really important we’re represented in this industry,” Smith is one day hoping to be a part of the industry’s history.

Although St. Philip’s offers cybersecurity as an associate’s degree, the college is launching its bachelor’s program in 2024.

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