Growth of local space and cybersecurity industry creates new career opportunities

Private companies Space ISAC, UCCS have big plans
Posted at 5:04 PM, Sep 02, 2020

COLORADO SPRINGS — The COVID-19 pandemic has taken a toll on many different industries, but it hasn't slowed the effort to make Colorado Springs the nation's hub for space and cybersecurity. News5 has the information to help you get started with career opportunities in this field.

Have you considered a career in space or cybersecurity? As people look to rebound from the COVID-19 pandemic, some folks are reevaluating what their future career path might look like.

With major investments in this industry like the nearly $100 million building being built by the Aerospace Corporation at the Colorado Springs Airport, people in this field say it's time to prepare for more opportunities.

"You see the vast changes in space that are going on. The creation of the United States Space Force, the re-establishment of United States Space Command here in Colorado Springs. It is a very exciting time," said General Manager of the enterprise and warfighting division for Aerospace Corporation Jean Michael.

Private companies, local educators, and the space information sharing and analysis center are working collectively to expand the space and cybersecurity industry in Colorado Springs.

"Colorado is actually second in the nation for space companies," said Vice President of Operations For Space ISAC Erin Miller. "This is a trajectory that we're on and we're not getting off of. That means if someone is looking for a career in this field, especially if they focus on that niche of security for space or cybersecurity for space they're going to meet a growing demand."

Career opportunities in this field are expected to increase in the coming years and there's a major push to open up career pathways for women and people of color.

"It has been a predominantly male-dominated field but it's not anymore. We have a lot of women who are in that career field and we need to raise them up and show them as leaders so that our next generation that's entering college and making decisions about what career they're going to choose can see that you can lead in this field," said Miller.

Gretchen Bliss is encouraging students to chase those dreams at University of Colorado Colorado Springs.

"The issue of cybersecurity is broad. It's not just dits and dots. It's not just sitting on the computer. It's not just a router or the firewall," said Bliss. "It's actually the legal, the policy, the business ethics, the management of cybersecurity programs, risk protocols, all those things that not just engineers do."

Bliss is encouraged to see students like Autumn Owen shifting their focus and career goals to a cybersecurity career.

"Let's go for it! Ever since then I've enjoyed it," said Owen. "So I just walked right in. No experience. Nothing."

Owen hopes her journey will inspire others.

"I'm going to push through and I'm going to see this to completion because the amount of females in this degree is so slim," said Owen. "For me to be in a class with the one other female, I'm shocked. So just keep going. Keep pushing. Don't stop."

If you would like to learn more about a career in space or cybersecurity here are some resources that can connect you with people who might be able to help:

Space ISAC

National Cybersecurity Center

UCCS Cybersecurity Degrees

Aerospace Corporation