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Applied Technology

Cyber Defense Center

Welcome to the Sierra College Cyber Defense Center (CDC). The goal of the CDC is to prepare our students to meet the ever-increasing demand for cybersecurity professionals to keep our businesses and our country safe. Our mission is to provide cyber defense-related resources for Sierra College students, staff and the community we serve.

We can help you find the program that fits your passion and interests.
Headshot of Nicki Riley, Success Center Support Specialist
Nicki Riley, Success Center Specialist

Put Your Mind to It

Following graduation, Information Technology graduates specializing in cybersecurity can find well-paying jobs working in data security analysis, systems security and network security.

Students at computer stations in an Information Technology class at Sierra College
The IT department provided me the foundation I needed to get a job in the field of cybersecurity just six months later. I hope to use the experience and education Sierra College has provided me to teach others about the importance of cybersecurity in our digital age. Jesse Rivera, IT/Cybersecurity Graduate

Considering Cyber Security? Watch This Video

Nationally Recognized Program

The National Security Agency (NSA) and the Department of Homeland Security designated Sierra College as a National Center of Academic Excellence in Defense Education (CAE-CDE) through academic year 2024.

Logos for U.S. Department of Homeland Security and the National Security Agency

We’re proud of this designation for the following reasons: 

  • Only 5 community colleges in California earned this designation for academic years 2019-2024
  • Assures students they are receiving the highest quality Cybersecurity education
  • Increases student’s credibility with prospective employers
  • Our program has proved to provide students with valuable job skills in powerful Cybersecurity tools and techniques from industry professionals

If you want to learn how to stay ahead of cyber security attacks in an ever-changing security environment, we can help you get started. Our cyber security program will train you how to identify and respond to cyber threats of all kinds. These skills will prepare you to enter a highly paid, in-demand cyber security career. 

In fact, Cyberseek states that every year in the U.S., 40,000 jobs for information security analysts go unfilled, and employers are struggling to fill 200,000 other cyber security-related roles. The biggest obstacle to stronger cyber security today, according to the 2017 Cybersecurity Trends Report, is the lack of skilled employees.

More Information

Get In Touch

Todd Higley


Todd is passionate about teaching in a field that creates a world of tomorrow. He believes Computer Science and the fields of IT offer many opportunities for students, which makes him continually excited about his career field. He also believes the future is written by those who have the skills required to succeed in a fast-paced, technology-based world. Todd has been teaching for 13 years in the field of technology, introducing students to the world of A+ Certification, Programming with Python, JavaScript, CSS, HTML, as well as digital tools such as Adobe Photoshop, Illustrator, Animate, Premiere Pro, After Effects and InDesign. He has developed curriculum for many courses, including: IT Essentials, Exploring Computer Science, Website Design, Video Production, Arts Media and Entertainment, Computer Applications, Business Management and Ownership, as well as Arts Management. Helping people discover their passion and find success in a fast-paced IT world brings him great satisfaction.

Shawn Monsen



Shawn Monsen has been teaching Data Networking and Cybersecurity for the past 10 years.  He worked in the IT industry for 20 years. He has a Bachelor of Science degree in Management Information Systems (MIS) from California State University, Sacramento. He has worked as a data network engineer and project manager on numerous multimillion dollar IT integration projects for Department of Defense, state and local governments, and health care industries. Shawn has also worked as the Network Operations Manager for one of Hewlett-Packard’s largest sites (Roseville), managing a team of data network engineers and technicians who had responsibility for Roseville site’s local- and wide-area networking infrastructure.

Alex Torres



Alex Torres has been in the Information Technology field for more than 20 years. He has a Master of Information Systems with a focus on Information Security, a Bachelor of Science degree in Criminal Justice with a minor in Computer Science, as well as a Graduate Certificate in Information Assurance. Alex also holds certifications in Security+, CEH, CISSP, CISM, CRISC, OSCP, CCNA, WCNA, SnortCP, as well as other active certifications. Alex is currently employed at Hewlett Packard Enterprise where he has worked in Cyber Security and Information Technology for the past 12 years. He has performed as Security Architect, Design and Implementation of Security Services, as well as spearheaded the Threat and Vulnerability Management program at Hewlett Packard Enterprise. Alex has conducted numerous Penetration Test, Vulnerability Assessments, Security Audits and Compliance Audits, and has also worked as a Security Consultant for various health care providers and legal entities within the Greater Sacramento and San Francisco areas. He is also the Director of Education Outreach for the Sacramento ISACA chapter and an active member of InfraGard.

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