SAN ANTONIO — Isaiah Flores is finding his way through school as a first generation college student.
“I was going to be an electrician, but then my dad was like, 'Go to college, invest in yourself.' So I took it to heart, and I did,” Flores said.
He’s a freshman at St. Phillips College majoring in cyber security, a fast-growing industry.
“Anywhere I go, I’ll have a job,” Flores said. “I won’t have to worry. Everybody needs a cyber-security worker. Ever since COVID, they really, really need us.”
Sophomore Kenneth Grissett loves computers, but says he didn’t realize there were so many career paths in the technology field.
“To fix issues that businesses have or even governments,” Grissett said. “You can go into different fields: medical, chemistry, network security.”
Caroline Mora spent years in the cyber workforce before becoming a professor.
“To educate students and let them know that there’s a pathway that’s not well sought out,” Mora said.
St. Phillips is a historically Black college and a Hispanic Serving Institution. They’ve partnered with the national cyber alliance to give minority students the skills they need to fill the gaps in the cyber workforce.
“Because there’s a big need to have students, especially from our population, who can make a difference,” Mora said. “Being an ethnicity myself, it’s very hard for students from different cultures to get into their field.”
Statistics show there isn’t much diversity in cyber security. Only 25% of cyber professionals are women, 9% are Black and just 4% are Hispanic.
“The field is taking off,” Grissett said. “They have so many job opportunities in it. Seats that need to be filled.”
There’s about 715,000 cyber security job openings nationwide. Although Isaiah is just getting started, he expects to secure one of those high-paying jobs after graduation.
“Even my dad is like, 'Shoot for the stars,'” Flores said. “Why can’t I have that job or make that type of money? Or live that type of life that these people are living.”