Matt Sanford
Economic Development Manager
City of Carlsbad 

There’s an industry booming right under our noses, quite literally.

The digital devices we’re constantly staring down at depend on cybersecurity — a sector that’s growing significantly here in our region. In fact, the San Diego area is home to more than 12,400 cybers jobs that generate a $3.5 billion impact every year. That’s the same as hosting nine Super Bowls, or twenty-three Comic-Con conventions.

Let that sink in.

Because October is Cybersecurity Awareness Month, this is the perfect time to underscore this sector’s local importance. From my perspective, here are top three things you should know:

Cybercrimes have skyrocketed during the pandemic, by as much as 300 percent according to the Federal Bureau of Investigations (FBI).

  1. The local cyber job market is red hot.

The Cyber Center of Excellence (CCOE) reports a 9% job growth projection. And 3 out of 5 cyber companies in our region say they plan to increase employment in the next year. That includes Carlsbad-based Proficio, which has been growing by about 40 percent annually.

Proficio recently moved its headquarters from Irvine to Carlsbad, largely because of our talent pool.

“We noticed a lot of top talent was coming from this area because of the military industry and all of the universities,” said CEO Brad Taylor. “Carslbad was the perfect answer for us. This puts us closer to the talent.”

Proficio is making the most of that by working directly with our local universities, ensuring students are prepared to enter the cyber workforce. California State University San Marcos (CSUSM) has an entire cybersecurity education hub, complete with resources, training and programs that reflect industry trends and needs.

Proficio also participates in programs that help local veterans transition from military service to cyber careers, including the Career Transition Assistance Plan (CTAP).

“Even as technology advances at lightning speed, we still need the next generation of professionals,” Taylor said, adding that there’s a tremendous talent shortage nationally.

One recent survey by a cybersecurity training nonprofit called (ISC)2 found that more than 300,000 cyber jobs go unfilled every year.

“If you enter the cyber security industry, you’ll enjoy great job security and you’ll never get bored,” Taylor added.

  1. Cyber security is for everyone.

Cybercrimes have skyrocketed during the pandemic, by as much as 300 percent according to the Federal Bureau of Investigations (FBI). Even more startling: There’s a cyber attack every 39 seconds in the US, according to a study by the University of Maryland.

Businesses are more at risk than ever, and virtually every business is a target. I say that not to stoke fear, but to make the point that a cybersecurity strategy must be part of any business plan today.

“If you have data, even if it’s only employee data, that’s valuable to hackers,” said CCOE President and CEO Lisa Easterly.

As more companies are shifting operations online and allowing remote work, it’s especially important that they mitigate risks such as hacks, malware, and ransomware.

Easterly says smaller businesses are especially vulnerable because they tend to be easier targets.

“Ninety five percent of breaches happen due to human error,” she said. “That’s why cyber education is so critical — for both business owners and their employees.”

In addition to education, Easterly encourages business owners to outsource to cybersecurity professionals when it makes sense.

“Thankfully, San Diego has a robust cyber ecosystem that business owners can plug into,” she said.

  1. We’re here to help.

If you’re part of a small business, we understand that cybersecurity might feel overwhelming. That’s why we’re here as a resource. We’re proud to offer a free educational program in partnership with CCOE.

When you sign up, you’ll be able to access training to help your employees become more cybersecurity-aware. You’ll also get a cyber risk assessment report from RiskRecon, a Mastercard company — along with customized recommendations about how to reduce your vulnerabilities.

No matter your industry, doing business smarter and safer online makes for a more resilient economy, which benefits us all. In my book, that’s something worth celebrating this month — and all the year through.


If you’d like to take advantage of this, you can register here for our next cohort. https://