Virginia is home to the largest cybersecurity workforce in the Eastern U.S.

Virginia is Renowned for its Cybersecurity Talent

Virginia has the highest number of information security analysts of any state and one of the largest concentrations of companies on the Cyber 500 list. Virginia’s location is a distinct industry advantage, providing access to the federal government and a large pool of federal contractors.

Lockheed Martin Center for Innovation

Lockheed Martin Center for Innovation, Suffolk

Virginia is a Leader in Cybersecurity

Named the No.1 Cybersecurity Leader by Business Facilities Magazine, Virginia has been at the forefront of growth as the cybersecurity industry has scaled up. Given its dominant position in federal contracting, Northern Virginia is a breeding ground for the cybersecurity industry, and Virginia is seeing growth throughout the state with the establishment of company security operations centers.

Close proximity to the nation’s capital provides access to the Pentagon, the CIA, the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA), the Navy Cyber Defense Operations Command, and many additional federal assets, making Virginia an advantageous location for cyber-companies.

Forty-one of the 2019 Washington Technology Top 100 federal contracting companies are headquartered in Virginia, including 7 of the top 10. Virginia is home to 6 companies ranked in the Cyber 150, the fourth-largest number of any state in the U.S.

Virginia’s political leadership has taken steps to advance the Commonwealth’s position by establishing state policy related to cybersecurity, and has worked hard to build an ecosystem that allows the industry to thrive.

Adopting Standards

Virginia was the first state in the nation to adopt National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) Cyber Framework and the first state to declare itself an Information Sharing and Assessment Organization (ISAO).

Fostering Entrepreneurship

Virginia is home to the MACH37™ Accelerator - an intensive, 90-day program created to launch cyber start-ups. MACH37 was initially launched and funded by the Commonwealth but is now funded by the private sector.

cybersecurity workforce

Training the Future Workforce

As the industry continues on its accelerated growth path, there is a global shortage of cybersecurity talent. Virginia is currently addressing the issue and taking steps to strengthen the pipeline of cybersecurity professionals entering the workforce.

To meet the rising demand for a cybersecurity workforce, nearly 50 of Virginia’s colleges and universities have established cyber degrees and degrees with cyber focus. Virginia is also home to 23 NSA/DHS Centers of Academic Excellence (CAE) in cybersecurity.

UVA Data Science

University of Virginia

Historic $1.1B Investment in Tech Talent

The Tech Talent Investment Program is a $1.1 billion investment in computer science education that will transform Virginia’s tech talent pipeline for the next two decades.

The addition of more than 31,000 graduates in computer science and related fields over the next two decades (in excess of current levels) will ensure a steady stream of qualified Virginians are prepared to fill the jobs of the future.

This investment will also strengthen the K-12 pipeline enabling the Commonwealth to provide ongoing professional development to current and future teachers; create, curate, and disseminate high-quality curriculum and resources; support summer and after-school programming for students; and facilitate meaningful career exposure and work-based learning opportunities in high demand fields.

TTIP

Higher Education & Training Resources

Commonwealth Cyber Initiative (CCI)

The Commonwealth Cyber Initiative (CCI) is an ambitious initiative led by Virginia Tech to push higher education research and master’s degree programs for cybersecurity, data analysis and computer science, and unmanned vehicle systems in partnership with those growing high-tech industries.

CCI is a highly-connected network that engages of institutions of higher education, industry, and government, along with non-governmental and economic development organizations. It connects Regional Nodes across the Commonwealth, each led by an institution of higher education. The four CCI Regional Nodes, encompassing Central Virginia, Coastal Virginia, Northern Virginia, and Southwest Virginia, were certified by the Virginia Research Investment Committee on June 11, 2019. The CCI Hub is located in the Virginia Tech Research Center in Arlington, Virginia.

The Hume Center at Virginia Tech

The Hume Center at Virginia Tech focuses on the challenges of cybersecurity, autonomy, and resilience in the context of national and homeland security. Current research initiatives include cyber-physical system security, orchestrated missions, and the convergence of cyber warfare and electronic warfare.

Piedmont Community College’s Analyst Boot Camp (ABC)

Piedmont Community College’s Analyst Boot Camp (ABC) is a rigorous 10-week program designed to provide students with the necessary tools to be successful analysts in the Intelligence Community (IC). During the ABC program, the process will be initiated for students to receive TOP SECRET security clearance.

The International Critical Infrastructure Security Institute (ICISI)

The International Critical Infrastructure Security Institute (ICISI) in Bedford provides hands-on training and cybersecurity solutions performance testing in an operational power plant setting.

Cybersecurity Apprenticeships

Virginia's first registered cybersecurity apprenticeship was established by building a partnership between Tidewater Community College and Yorktown-based Peregrine Technical Solutions, LLC.

Developing the Talent of Tomorrow

Virginia also encourages STEM and computer programming skills development at the K-12 level. Examples include:

  • The Virginia Department of Education (VDOE) incorporating computer science education into the Standards of Learning framework.
  • Norfolk State University leading a collaborative effort among 13 colleges and universities, one public school district, two national laboratories, and a DoD facility to develop a K-20 pipeline for the cybersecurity workforce.
  • CodeVA, a nonprofit partnering with schools, parents, and communities to bring equitable computer science education to all of Virginia's students.
  • CodeRVA Regional High School, an innovative public high school preparing students for college and careers in computer science.
  • The Virginia Cyber Range, a Commonwealth of Virginia initiative with a mission to enhance cybersecurity education for students in Virginia’s public high schools, colleges, and universities
  • Fairfax County Public Schools being designated a CyberPatriot Center of Excellence for their commitment to promoting cyber-awareness and facilitating cyber-education for K-12 students.
CodeRVA

CodeRVA

Thomas Jefferson High School for Science and Technology

Thomas Jefferson High School for Science and Technology

Piedmont Governors School

The Piedmont Governor's School

Naval Station Norfolk

Naval Station Norfolk

Virginia Values Its Veterans

Virginia’s large military presence provides an ongoing source of talent from exiting members entering the civilian workforce.

The Cyber Vets Virginia initiative is a unique cyber training collaboration between the Commonwealth and private-sector leaders, including CISCO, Amazon Web Services (AWS), ISC2, and the Institute for Veterans and Military Families’ Onward to Opportunity program (O2O). The initiative provides a free cyber-training pilot program for veterans living in Virginia and interested in working in the cyber industry.

The Northern Virginia Technology Council (NVTC) launched the NVTC Veterans Employment Initiative (VEI) in August 2013 to accelerate veteran transitions to civilian life by providing better employment opportunities within Virginia’s technology community. VEI connects veterans with jobs, internships, mentorships, and education/certifications while also providing support to member companies in their efforts to recruit, hire, train, and retain qualified veteran employees.

In 2017, Northern Virginia Community College and Amazon Web Services announced a new, innovative apprenticeship program designed to train veterans in Northern Virginia. Throughout the course of their program, the all-veteran cohort of apprentices will earn a series of highly technical industry certifications that are in demand by the technology sector, including CompTIA Network+, Linux+, and the AWS Solutions Architect.

Establishing a presence in Richmond provides us excellent access to talent and cyber-related resources from the nearby academic, research, and military communities.

Tim McKnight Thomson Reuters, Executive Vice President and Chief Information Security Officer
QTS

QTS, Henrico County

A Robust Technology Infrastructure

Virginia is home to a robust technology infrastructure, with the largest data center market in the U.S. concentrated in Northern Virginia. As a result, the region boasts the highest density of dark fiber in the world. In addition to Northern Virginia, advanced levels of connectivity are seen throughout Virginia. Mid-Atlantic Broadband Communities Corporation owns and operates 1,900 miles of open-access fiber optic network in 31 counties in Southern Virginia and operates long-haul fiber network for optical transport to key peering hubs on the East Coast. Virginia Beach now is the landing point for three new transoceanic fiber cable connection points – the first in the Mid-Atlantic. 

America's Top State For Business

Consistently ranked as one of the top states for business, Virginia is a leading location for cybersecurity. Virginia offers a low cost of business, an acclaimed business environment, a highly educated workforce, and opportunities for sustainable operations. But more than that, the Commonwealth has a demonstrated capability – and desire – to partner with companies on innovation and growth.

Virginia 1 top state for business
Virginia is 3 best state for business regulatory environment
Virginia ranks 1st for top cybersecurity in the US
CACI

CACI, Fairfax County

A Competitive Cost Environment for Cybersecurity Operations

  • The 2019 average commercial electric rate is the lowest in the U.S. at 7.55 cents per kilowatt hour.
  • Unemployment insurance taxes are the 5th-lowest in the nation and 43% lower than the national average, 2019.
  • Average workers' compensation costs are among the nation’s lowest.
  • Building costs range from 7% to 19% below the national average, depending on the region.
  • Competitive incentives and targeted local incentive programs are offered for major new employment centers.