Jobs in San Diego’s cybersecurity industry increased by nearly 15 percent in the last two years, according to a new report by the Cyber Center of Excellence. The study reveals that San Diego is home to more than 100 core cyber firms that employ more than 4,200 people. The Navy’s Space and Naval Warfare Systems Command adds an additional 3,300 people in San Diego’s burgeoning cybersecurity industry. In total, more than 7,600 San Diegans are employed in the cybersecurity industry, a 14.7 percent increase over 2014.

In all, more than 50,000 people work as technology specialists in the San Diego area, and employers expect that to grow by 13 percent in the next year, compared to a 2 percent overall regional job growth. San Diego is increasingly positioning itself as an alternative to Silicon Valley, where high cost-of-living is making it difficult for IT firms to stay competitive. San Diego’s high quality-of-life and reasonable rents and housing prices are drawing many technology firms away from Silicon Valley.

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Rear Admiral Kenneth Slaght, retired, co-chair and president of the Cyber Center of Excellence, which published the report, said that San Diego is more than able to punch above its weight in the industry. San Diego Mayor Kevin Faulconer said that the city has a fertile ecosystem for job growth and company formation.

The Navy’s Space and Naval Warfare Systems Command was responsible for 9.5 percent of the jobs added since 2014, and now about 3,400 people work at SPAWAR. Contracts from SPAWAR are also an important source of cybersecurity jobs in the area. San Diego companies received more than $1.1 billion in contracts from SPAWAR in 2015, according to the CCOE.

Although the Space and Naval Warfare Systems Command is the anchor of San Diego’s cybersecurity industry, responsible for in-house hiring and many private contracts, more and more private companies are looking for partners in the cybersecurity industry. The commercial market for cybersecurity products and services has grown substantially in recent years. Private firms now account for 47 percent of the market in cybersecurity services, with private contractors dedicated to SPAWAR making up the remainder.

According to the study, San Diego’s cybersecurity industry generates about $2 billion in gross domestic product annually. Employers surveyed as part of the study say they expect the cybersecurity workforce to continue growing at a fast clip, but there is one snag. About 4 out of 5 companies surveyed say that they have difficulty hiring qualified cybersecurity employees, particularly experienced workers. The Cyber Center of Excellence has a job board on its website and is launching a campaign to encourage qualified cybersecurity workers to migrate to the San Diego area.

The growing market is affecting real estate, with home prices rising and more commercial developments intended to provide a home to new firms as well as those migrating from Silicon Valley.

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(all data current as of 10/17/2017)

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