UT System chancellor met with Biden Administration to discuss future of Cybersecurity

Sheryl Lawrence , News Reporter

Editor’s Note: This article first appeared as part of the September 10 flipbook. 

The UT System chancellor met in late August with U.S. President Joe Biden to address the growing need to protect against increasingly malicious cyber-attacks and bring more women into the workforce since men comprise 80% of UT System degree programs.

Chancellor James B. Milliken said the Biden administration invited the UT System to the summit because the National Security Agency designated four UT System campuses as centers of academic excellence. The day-long summit included conversations on how to recruit a diverse group of UT System students for cybersecurity jobs to improve the technology throughout the cybersecurity sector and among natural gas pipelines. 

A record-breaking number of cyberattacks occurred in 2020, according to Forbes. Recently, a cyberattack in May halted the transportation of 45% of the East Coast’s fuel supplies, according to The New York Times. 

Milliken said there are roughly 50,000 cybersecurity job openings in Texas alone, and the career is growing in need and popularity. Between 2020 and 2030, The Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts a 33% increase in demand for information security analysts, and the demand for cybersecurity professionals is at an all-time high.

Milliken said he hopes to see more diversity in the field because less than 20% of students in the degree programs for cybersecurity at UT System institutions are women.

“We’re leaving too much talent out of the equation here by not having a sufficient number of, particularly women, who are involved in this field nationally,” Milliken said.

To continue to grow diversity in the field, IBM announced partnerships with more than 20 historically Black colleges and universities to establish cybersecurity leadership centers at the summit.

Companies and leaders at the Summit, such as Google, Microsoft and Girls Who Code, hope to partner with young people in the UT System and help them get jobs in areas where their credentials can be maximized.

“This is an area where you don’t necessarily need to have a degree or you don’t necessarily need to have a degree in this particular field,” Milliken said.

The UT System also hopes to grow its outreach to K-12 education programs because of their interest in the digital world.

“We have to do a better job of providing information in K-12, so that younger people understand the opportunities and degree programs where they may have a significant interest already because of their interest in gaming,” Milliken said.