Kansas City boasts a robust cybersecurity industry, employing nearly 7,000 people. This tech sub-sector continues to flourish in KC thanks to unique geographical positioning and an excellent talent pool, including the FBI regional HQ office, U.S. Army’s Combined Arms Center HQ, and the Kansas Intelligence Fusion Center. Kansas City is capable of continued growth, and as the need for cybersecurity becomes more prevalent, KC is equipped to continue growing with that need – making it a greater powerhouse in the industry.
CyberSecurity has Never Been More Important
Long before the pandemic, the workforce was headed toward a digital model, but the rate at which digital working has grown since the pandemic is astronomical. With that, the need for cybersecurity has become more critical than ever. As more companies headed online to accommodate during the pandemic, more cyber threats came to light.
Entrepreneur reports that cybersecurity is a new pillar of competitiveness as it covers economic, commercial, marketing, and geopolitical issues. Companies without impressive cybersecurity mechanisms in place are seen as less competitive than competitors with those systems.
As such, companies are investing more into their cybersecurity measures than ever before. Global spending has grew from about $71 billion in 2014 to 75 billion dollars in 2015. Now, it is an estimated 170.4-billion-dollar industry.
From ransomware to data breaches, technology makes not only the everyday person and companies a major target, but also governments and high-profile individuals. The problem is so rampant that President Joe Biden has signed an Executive Order mandating improvements to combat rampant cybersecurity threats. As technology improves, so does the cybersecurity force, and with more resources and education than ever, the cybersecurity force is expected to grow tenfold.
Making a Presence in Kansas City
Kansas City is no stranger to the cybersecurity industry, in fact, it is a hub. The city has seen growth in the tech employment market year after year, even adding as many as 15,000 jobs between 2010 and 2018. In 2019, there were 100,782 tech jobs, of which 6,724 were cybersecurity and 3,918 tech companies in KC.
The tech sector itself is responsible for roughly $11.9 billion, or 10 percent, of the local KC economy. Moreover, the industry is expected to continue growing, with roughly a 10 percent increase by the year 2026, and the U.S. as a whole predicts an 18% job growth for cybersecurity.
With an annual salary of nearly $80,000 for tech jobs and a low cost of living, it’s no wonder the KC industry has grown exponentially in recent years. Compared to places like Silicon Valley, San Francisco, and Seattle, where the wages are high but the cost of living is much higher, KC proves lucrative for employees.
Why Choose KC?
Kansas City has long been growing as a tech hub despite being unconventional when compared with all of its coastal competitors. It’s not a fluke – Kansas City offers many benefits to companies and employees hoping to settle down in the area. Find some of the biggest location advantages from ThinkKC here.
Major pluses include a beneficial tax climate, diverse and thriving economy, excellent talent pool and workforce, internet access, commutability, transportation, and infrastructure. Compared to other cities in the Midwest, Kansas City offers a competitive edge for accessibility that others cannot. The city is also home to many major companies that have relocated, including CVS, Amazon, and Dollar Tree.
Building a Talent Pool
Part of the reason KC has seen so much success as a tech giant is because of its talent pool, ideal for building a diverse workforce. Young and hungry candidates come from the University of Kansas, Kansas State University, Metropolitan Community College, Northwest Missouri State, University of Central Missouri, the entire University of Missouri System, and Johnson County Community College, particularly students studying at its National Cyber Watch Center.
You’ll also find numerous government agencies, including the aforementioned Kansas Intelligence Fusion Center and the United States Department of Agriculture’s offering data centers in Missouri and Kansas City. Many of the city’s major institutions offer internships and apprenticeships to help train the next round of candidates from the ground up, helping to foster better contenders and a homegrown community advantage.
Culture and Community
Equally important as career opportunities when choosing a place to settle down are the living conditions. Luckily, Kansas City offers rich history, including the Civil War and jazz traditions and delicious food and fun that can’t be found anywhere else. KC also boasts an active, collaborative job market, low cost of living, and things to do.
From BBQ to jazz clubs and bars to museums like The National World War I Museum and the American Jazz Museum, KC activities are endless. Tech workers can also find plenty to do for the family, including Legoland, Worlds of Fun, and waterparks.
Speaking uniquely to KC’s tech culture, needless to say, it’s thriving. Part of that may be due to the fact that the city is focused on collaboration rather than independence and competitiveness that you might find in major tech hubs. Successful companies work and partner with startups and smaller companies, all in the hopes of creating something better.
Another important factor as to why Kansas City is making waves is because of its networks and social opportunities. Women in Security, a group dedicated to empowering and elevating women in cybersecurity, hosts events, mentoring, and workshops, all to fulfill that goal. You will also find general events to attend, such as the 2021 Kansas City Cybersecurity Career and Mentoring Symposium.
Kansas City has created a prosperous environment where people employed in the tech sector can collaborate and grow together, rather than being a cut-throat industry. You may find tech hubs across the country, but none as nurturing and collaborative as Kansas City’s.
Kansas City Companies See Success
Numerous KC tech companies have seen major success over the years, serving as predecessors and reminders as to the area’s potential. From new startups to well-established companies looking to relocate, KC has provided to be the perfect solution. Some include Main Street Data, Payit, Simplifyy, and Savion. Local area startups to watch are Draiver, Fishtech, United American Hemp, and Healium.
With so much expected growth and already proven success, it’s only a matter of time before Kansas City is a commodity that many hopeful companies are campaigning to be a part of.
One America Works is ready to help individuals and companies thinking of setting up in Kansas City and other growing tech hubs across the country. Learn more about what makes Kansas City a great place to grow a company, start a career, and more. Stay up-to-date on other growing cities through One America Works and follow us for more trends worth your attention.