By Caroline Vandergriff

FORT WORTH (CBSDFW.COM) – The recent ransomware attack on the Colonial Pipeline has put a spotlight on the growing need for cyber security professionals.

Experts say unfilled positions could make companies more vulnerable to hacks.

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“It’s unfortunate,” said Richard Sellers, the chair of the Information Technology Department at the TCC Northwest Campus. “We’ve had these same types of attacks that happened with the pipeline company, happen here in Texas.”

Companies big and small need people who can help them keep their data safe.

“The growth of the cyber security industry is expected to be 31% through 2029,” said David Cathey, a hiring expert with Unity Search. “That is seven times faster than the average national job growth. It is a ridiculous growth.”

According to Cyber Seek, there are more than 42,000 open cyber security positions in Texas and nearly 500,000 nationally.

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The problem is a shortage of skilled professionals to take those jobs.

“There is such a need for these people, that anyone who has some training, they could get employed and be able to help in some ways,” Sellers said.

TCC created a cyber security program two years ago, and they say enrollment is up.

They’re teaching people how to help businesses face the ever-growing threat of cyber attacks.

“These jobs are not going away,” he said. “These companies are all going to need people that are protecting them.”

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And in turn, that protects the consumer.

Caroline Vandergriff