As Maryland receives 30,000 defense and civilian jobs this year through the military’s Base Realignment and Closure (BRAC) project, the Baltimore, Md. area has become a hotbed for defense and technology companies – especially cybersecurity companies.
Over the past year, more than a dozen cybersecurity companies have moved into a research park at the University of Maryland Baltimore County (UMBC) – the bwtech@UMBC. Also, thenewly formed U.S. Cyber Command (Cybercom) is situated in the area at nearby Fort Meade. Cybercom is expected to create 1,000 security-related tech jobs as it anticipates spending the majority of its 2012 budget hiring new talent to defend the nation’s IT infrastructure. Plus, defense contracting companies in the area include Northrop Grumman and Science Applications International Corporation (SAIC), which are actively hiring cybersecurity professionals.
“This region is becoming the center of cybersecurity,” said Armando Seay, senior executive vice president of Ross Technologies, which provides cybersecurity services for the Department of Defense and private-sector clients. “It’s like a beehive, a cyberhive, a hotbed of critical thinking and innovation. There’s no reason why this campus won’t become Cybersecurity Valley.” Seay is moving his company from its offices in Columbia, Md., into the bwtech@UMBC research park.
An estimated 51 cybersecurity companies recently relocated to Maryland, bringing about 5,000 new jobs, according to state representative Del. James Malone. “Our goal is to make Maryland the epicenter of cybersecurity in the country,” said Maryland Governor Martin O’Malley, in ArbutusPatch.com. O’Malley also said Cybercom is going to create a “tremendous number of jobs throughout the state.”
UMBC offers a fertile pool of talent through its post-graduate certificate and a master’s degree in cybersecurity, which attract students from around the country, said bwtech Executive Director Ellen Hemmerly. “Cybersecurity is a growing area,” said Hemmerly. “The demand for this kind of talent is strong and very competitive.”
SAIC and Northrop Grumman have been actively nurturing the tech talent in the area. SAIC created a Cyber Innovation Center in nearby Columbia, Md. and Northrop Grumman created a scholarship program at UMBC for early-stage cybersecurity companies. Also, Maryland lawmakers recently passed legislation to investigate the possibility of a new university in northeast Maryland near Aberdeen Proving Ground that would focus primarily on IT-related degrees.