The Winchester, Virginia region is home to the world’s largest concentration of data centers, with 70 percent of the world’s daily web traffic passing through local data centers. As a result, our area offers technology companies a workforce with extensive training and experience in data management and cybersecurity. Tech startups and small IT companies will find plenty of attractive and affordable space in our downtown district, where the artsy vibe appeals to younger employees.
Our area’s proximity to the nation’s capital is one reason for the amount of data, but an even bigger reason is the region’s inherent physical safety. Several factors combine to minimize external risks to data. Winchester’s moderate climate is one, with average rainfall and snowfall well below the national average and 200 sunny days per year — and no local bodies of water that present a risk for flooding. Our city is not under any flight paths for major airports, and our electricity and telecommunications systems offer superior reliability and competitive rates. That explains why Winchester is home to major federal facilities, including FEMA’s disaster operations center (the agency’s second-largest facility) and the FBI’s records management division, which includes the high-tech Vault facility that centralizes many key records.
Local education providers support the IT industry with programs designed to meet the specific needs of local companies. For example, Laurel Ridge Community College addresses the local need for cybersecurity expertise with a cybersecurity career studies certificate that can be completed alone or combined with an associate degree in information systems technology (IST). The College has been recognized by the NSA and Department of Homeland Security as a National Center of Academic Excellence in Cyber Defense Two-Year Education.
Other IT programs at LRCC include certificates in computer science, database administration specialist, information technology foundations, networking specialist, software development, and web design and application development.