Augusta named one of the capitals for cybersecurity

Monday, May 6, 2019
News 12 at 11

AUGUSTA, Ga. (WRDW/WAGT) -- Plenty of cities are claiming to be a capital of cybersecurity. Now, different publications are naming Augusta as one of them, along with cities like New York, San Diego, and London. It's helping Augusta grow, bringing in more jobs and leading students to new careers.

"We hear a lot of talk about Augusta becoming a cyber hub and in many ways we're already there," William Hatcher said.

As cyber grows at Fort Gordon and downtown, more jobs need to be filled.

"There's a good chunk, around 3,000 are out in the Augusta metropolitan area," Hatcher said.

William Hatcher is the director of the Master of Public Administration Program and Associate Professor at Augusta University. Hatcher studies the cybersecurity workforce in Augusta. He found from 2016 to 2017 the overall cyber and IT-related workforce grew 16%. With all the investments coming in, it just keeps growing, and there's a lot at stake.

"Increased vulnerabilities and risks associated with not having anyone do those jobs," said Michael Nowatkowski, the cybersecurity program director.

Augusta University is trying to get more students to stay local, adding more degrees, programs and opportunities at the Cyber Center.

"Having industry, academia, and government all collaborating in the same workspace is a very attractive feature," Nowatkowski said.

"I just think it's a great opportunity that we are adding that many degrees, I know I would have loved them," Matthew Atkinson said.

Matthew Atkinson is a grad student getting ready for graduation.

"I'm planning on staying here for the forseeable future," Atkinson said. "Augusta's becoming the cyber capital."

A cyber capital Mattew wants to be a part of.

"For my case in particular, I have a job lined up with the D.O.D. here in Augusta," Atkinson said.

And as more students start to accept cyber jobs in the area, they'll be closing that gap.

With this new cybersecurity degree starting at AU this fall, enrollment numbers are up. Professors tell News 12, that kind of interest points to an even brighter future for cyber right here in Augusta.

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