Prince William County offers highly appealing assets to the Information Technology (IT) industry, most particularly its world class fiber network, internet connectivity and highly trained workforce and some of the fastest development review times in the Greater Washington, DC Metropolitan Area for qualified, targeted IT projects and up to 50% reduction in site plan review fees. This means accelerated time to market for mission critical facilities and a dedicated County project manager for clients.
Even for businesses that do not directly serve government clients, the IT industry can benefit from a close proximity to federal and defense agencies, as this can provide a strong environment for recruiting highly talented IT professionals.
Information Technology/Cyber Security
Protecting the security of fast expanding computer networks and the enormous data files they contain is a critical issue today. Internal and external threats require specific skillsets to combat and fix if penetrated. Both Mason and NOVA offer courses in cybersecurity leading to security clearances in the federal sector and specific technical certificates for the private sector. The International Cyber Center (ICC) at Mason facilitates strategic collaboration and information sharing in cybersecurity. Additionally, Mason’s Center for Secure Information Systems (CSIS) provides a dedicated environment for expertise in both theoretical and applied aspects of IT security. CSIS is also designated a Center of Academic Excellence in Information Assurance Education by the NSA.
Big Data & Analytics
As data storage, computing power and intelligent software capabilities have evolved, so has the ability to manage and manipulate and interpret large volumes of disparate data. This ability to utilize large amounts of data is particularly useful in defense & intelligence gathering, cybersecurity, scientific research, financial services, weather forecasting and health care. A recent study estimates that the worldwide big data & analytics market will be approximately $12 billion in 2015 and is growing now at 39% annually. Northern Virginia and Prince William County is at the epicenter of the big data & analytics industry cluster. Universities, research organizations, federal agencies and laboratories and the private sector are all players in this cluster.
GMU annually graduates about 1,100 students with degrees in big data & analytics related fields including a Data Analytics Graduate Certificate and Master of Science in Data Analytics Engineering. Other universities in the DC region award an additional 7,700 related degrees. This is a strong pipeline of talent in computer science, engineering and business analytics.
In 2005, Virginia began an aggressive effort to promote the modeling/ simulation/virtualization industry by boosting R&D assets as well as the IT infrastructure. Over 10,000 people are employed in the private sector in modeling/simulation representing approximately 200 companies. The C41 Center at Mason is the nation’s only civilian university-based entity offering a comprehensive academic and research program in military applications of IT. Companies, such as Key Cybersecurity, in Prince William County have been accepted into the MACH37 program for advanced cyber systems.
Also in the modeling/simulation subsector are Geographic Information Systems/Geospatial Technologies with capabilities in cartography, CAD, photogrammetry and remote sensing. Prince William County companies with capabilities in these areas can take advantage of nearby proximity to the National Geospatial Intelligence Agency, National Reconnaissance Office and the U.S. Geological Survey headquartered in Northern Virginia. Mason is currently constructing (opening Spring, 2016) its Potomac Science Center in Prince William County which will house its geo-science activities.
Computer Game Design
Computer game design is an $80 billion worldwide market growing 7% annually. In addition to its entertainment component, “serious games” with applications in defense, health care, education, training and business decision-making is growing rapidly. Prince William County opened the Virginia Serious Games Institute (VSGI) in March, 2014 at Mason. A business incubator, the VSGI currently hosts 7 companies with 50 employees and has doubled in facility size within two years. VGSI has exceptional strategic partners including: Bethesda Softworks, Google, Microsoft Studios and InfoReliance among others.
Key Companies in the Sector
IT related companies located in the Prince William County area include: Micron Technology, BAE Systems, Lockheed-Martin, NAL Research, Mu-Del Electronics, Key Cybersecurity, General Dynamics Information Technology, Comcast, Verizon, Microsoft, MicroSys, Analytical Consulting Group and Advanced Concepts Research Group, Little Arms Studios, Professions Quest, Stillwell Technologies & Robotics.
Significant IT Related Assets
- The county has over 3,000 individuals in the computer systems, software development, programming and network support professions
- The county has 804 establishments in the ICT (Information& Communication Technology) industry cluster (2011 BLS data)
- The county’s ICT industry employment is 4,375 (2011 BLS data)
- There is over 2 million square feet of data center space in the county in a combination of enterprise and co-lo space and there are over 900 fiber providers in Northern Virginia
- The eastern internet connect “peering point” (MAE East/Equinix) is only 20 miles from the center of Prince William County and latency to that point is .17 milliseconds and is 1.97 seconds to New York City
- 70% of the world’s internet traffic flows through the eastern internet connect every day
- Northern Virginia Community College’s Woodbridge Campus is constructing a new Regional Training Center (opening Spring, 2016) whose main focus will be on cybersecurity