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Boise State holding Cybersecurity Entrepreneur Challenge

Posted at 12:18 PM, Sep 28, 2021
and last updated 2021-10-11 12:57:40-04

BOISE, Idaho — October is National Cybersecurity Awareness Month, and Boise State is celebrating by helping to nurture the next generation of cyber professionals.

Boise State's Institute for Pervasive Cybersecurity is partnering with the Venture College to put on the Cybersecurity Entrepreneur Challenge from October 11-18. As part of the challenge, students from colleges across the state will team up to tackle problems put forward by industry leaders. Then, the teams will have a chance to pitch their ideas during Boise Entrepreneur Week.

"We wanted to try to get a cyber entrepreneur challenge, and our students across the state to understand how they could start a cyber company and join into this fight we have to protect our critical data and critical infrastructure," explained Edward Vasko, Director of the Institute for Pervasive Cybersecurity.

As Idaho News 6 has reported, Idaho is seeing a huge boost in cybersecurity jobs.

Data Analysts from the Idaho Department of Labor looked at data from all over the state, and found cybersecurity jobs had grown 160 percent since 2015 — and a 28% increase in 2020 alone.

"Despite the nationwide pandemic, the number of cybersecurity job openings in Idaho saw a 28% increase in 2020 with an estimated 1,200 available postings through the course of the year. Since 2015, openings for cybersecurity jobs have grown by 160%, sustained by accelerating demand across multiple industry sectors," the report said.

The report says Idaho has the potential to develop a thriving ecosystem in nearly every region across the state. In a 2017 Report by New America’s Cybersecurity Initiative, the authors identified four factors that contribute to cluster growth:

  • Proximity to government cybersecurity functions.
  • The ability to attract or develop a workforce.
  • The presence of research centers and incubators.
  • Industry leadership.

This isn't a trend unique to Idaho. Nationwide, job postings rose to more than 350,000 in 2020. Experts say with rising phishing attacks fueled by pandemic concerns and widespread remote work, the industry is set to grow even more rapidly. According to a recent Fortune Business Insights Market Report, the global cybersecurity market size was $153.16 billion in 2020 and is projected to more than double to $366.1 billion in 2028.

With all that growth comes growing pains--mainly, a need for people to fill all these new positions. As Idaho News 6 reported, the scarcity of skilled workers is growing more intense, despite the amount of unemployment created by the pandemic.