SecureSet’s mission isn’t to be just a cybersecurity provider. In addtition, the company wants to fill skills gaps in the industry through hands-on education and job placement.
Founded in Denver by Bret Fund and Alex Kreilein in 2014, the business has established SecureSet Academy, a comprehensive cybersecurity education program created to grow the local workforce and partner with local businesses to fill open positions in the field.
The first round of students at the new Colorado Springs location will begin a CORE Technical Bootcamp, a 36-week program to enhance networking and programming abilities. The bootcamp begins March 14 and participants receive a year’s worth of college credit from Colorado State University-Global Campus and Norwich University.
SecureSet Academy currently rents space at New Horizons Computer Learning Centers, but plans to move into a new building to be constructed in downtown Colorado Springs by late spring.
Fund said the company is working on final floor plans for its new location. The space will include classrooms, office space and conference rooms.
“Colorado Springs has always been a goal and part of our story,” said Fund. “We want to be a part of an ecosystem here to fill this massive job problem that no city is immune from. We’re working with colleges, universities and corporations to do our part in taking in individuals with a technical background and providing them a premier education that sets them up as a cybersecurity professional.”
The program is open to a range of applicants including military veterans and professionals in the private sector. In December, the Department of Veterans Affairs added SecureSet to its list of schools that can accept GI Bill funding from eligible veterans.
This year SecureSet has secured a new round of financing for its academy and hired staff to bring its program to life in the Pikes Peak region, Fund said.
One of its new hires is retired Navy Cmdr. Abe Thompson, a cyber warfare veteran, who took on the role as SecureSet Academy’s director about a month and a half ago.
“We want to help people transition to the next phase of their career and build confidence in our graduates that they have what it takes in the cybersecurity industry,” he said. “We’ve been establishing our company and class schedule in Colorado Springs, and I’m looking forward to developing more relationships and community partners.”
Some of its hiring partners include Booz Allen Hamilton, Zayo and TEKsystems.
There are currently 15 students enrolled in CORE Technical Bootcamp; ages range from 20-60. Thompson said he hopes to grow the incoming class to 25 students before it begins and added Colorado Springs is poised to be a hub for cybersecurity.
“We believe it’s the right place, right time and no question, the right people,” he said. “Certification is not our only end result with our program, also excellence in performance.”
The cybersecurity market is in need of both technical and analytical people — which makes the field fun and exciting, Fund said.
“You don’t just have to be technical in cybersecurity,” he said, adding, “We’ll be looking for applicants with backgrounds in political science, journalism and sociology for our upcoming analytical program.”
Those with backgrounds in social sciences make for great cyber hunt analysts, researching and looking at data from a different lens, Fund said.
“Those with different backgrounds have different ways of interpreting information, which is a very proactive thing,” he said. “This is more cutting-edge and the way the market is going, and we want to respond to the market and train the next generation.”
Another aspect of SecureSet is an accelerator it plans to bring to Colorado Springs in the near future, growing local cybersecurity startups through funding, partnerships and mentorship.
Financing is what’s needed right now to get it going, Fund said.
“Both entities have their own growth trajectory and place in the market,” he said. “Both include broad missions of bringing resources into the company through different processes and operations.”
The accelerator will be a 16-week program aimed at helping cybersecurity startups gain traction, enhance products and raise funds, according to the SecureSet website.