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Delaware Company Launches Cybersecurity School in San Antonio

A new four- to six-month adult education program will pay students $4,000 a month during their training with the agreement that they'll work where the company places them for three years upon completion.

cybersecurity student
(TNS) — A new cybersecurity school that has set up shop in San Antonio is promising paid training, job placement and continuing education for those seeking a career in the quick-growing field.

NukuDo, a Delaware-based cybersecurity training firm, announced the launch of its San Antonio-based U.S. headquarters inside the Geekdom coworking space on Houston Street. NukuDo is the U.S. affiliate of Red Alpha, a cybersecurity school operating in Singapore.

The school's model differs from job training programs such as for-profit computer coding boot camps or city-subsidized workforce development. Instead of paying out of pocket or using public funds, students get paid $4,000 a month by the company during their training with the agreement that they'll work where the company places them for three years upon completion of their coursework.

"We commercialized the assessment, the selection process, and we said 'Okay, we will put our money where our mouth is, and we open it completely to the public'," said Dean Gefen, CEO of NukuDo and Red Alpha, who moved his family to San Antonio from Singapore as the company gets going. "Whoever passes our selection test, we hire them, we train them at our own expense then we place them in an organization — this is our model."

The concept struck Michael Blair, who became involved with NukuDo while he was working at the regional economic development non-profit Greater:SATX, which was trying to bring the company to the region.


"I used to work recruiting companies to San Antonio all day before I recruited a company that really wanted me to come work for them," said Blair, who left Greater:SATX in March to become NukuDo's managing director in San Antonio.

According to Blair, no public funds were used in the deal to attract the company.

"We're 100 percent a private sector solution to a private sector problem," he said.

While the model doesn't put the cost on students on the front end, the three-year work period could impact their earnings in the short term, But, Blair said, the trainees walk away trained, certified, experienced and have a network to reach back to.

The experience, he said, "is going to take them from say making the $66,000 they're going to make while they're with us a year to now, when they probably are making $150,000 plus, just because that's what the industry would demand for a commercial person who has that level of skill set and expertise."

The cybersecurity industry is growing as new technologies and new threats develop, but the rate of growth is slowing and some companies have seen cutbacks, according to an annual report from ISC2, a cybersecurity trade organization. Artificial intelligence has brought some uncertainty to the business, but the demand for the skills remains. According to ISC2, there is a workforce gap of about 4 million cybersecurity specialists worldwide.

In the U.S., more than 500,000 cybersecurity positions are unfilled across the country, according to the White House.


NukuDo began accepting applications in February and received more than 5,000 in five days, according to Blair. Of those, 15 were selected for the first cohort that began training in March at Geekdom.

The full-time bootcamp-style program lasts between four and six months. The curriculum is comprised of 80 percent hands-on and problem-solving skills work with one trainer for every six students. Graduates earn industry certifications.

"We believe so much in these individuals that we're willing to invest in them to do nothing else but learn for essentially six months and to get them certified," Blair said. "So it's not just NukuDo saying, 'Hey, this is a qualified person.' It's literally the industry by its own standard saying this is a qualified person."

NukuDo places its grads at companies where they gain work experience for at least three years. During that period, they remain NukuDo employees.

After the three-year term is complete, the school plans to stay in touch with its graduates through twice yearly continuing education training.

San Antonio beat out New York city and Tampa, Florida, in the competition for the company's HQ, according to Jenna Saucedo-Herrera, president of Greater:SATX.

"With NukuDO joining our community, we are poised to demonstrate our unparalleled support for cyber firms seeking to expand and flourish," she said in a statement Thursday.

Applications for upcoming cohorts are open on the company's website.

©2024 the San Antonio Express-News. Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.