Cyber Defense Center


Cyber Defense Center

Cyber Security Education and Training

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. 

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

U.S. Department of Homeland Security and National Security Agency  logos.

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

  • Only 5 community colleges in California have earned this designation
  • 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.

Our Cyber Defense Programs

Sierra College offers a variety of Cybersecurity-related degrees and certificates within the Information Technology department (formerly known as Computer Information Systems). Our courses provide students the foundational skills and knowledge needed to enter this growing, in-demand industry.   

Four Year Transfer Agreements

For students looking to pursue a four-year degree after completing at Sierra College, you have local and online options:

Industry Certification Prep Coursework

Industry certifications are one way to prove your basic understanding of cybersecurity related concepts. Many of the courses in the Cybersecurity Defense program at Sierra College are aligned with industry certifications. After successfully finishing the CIS coursework, students will be better prepared to take the following industry certification exams*: 


Shawn Monsen

Shawn MonsenShawn 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 multi-million 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 TorresAlex 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.

Todd Higly

Todd HiglyTodd 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.

Cybersecurity News and Student Events

Visit the Sierra College Information Technology Cybersecurity Program Facebook page for the latest news and events.

Cybersecurity Resources and Awareness

Sierra College Cybersecurity Resources

Industry Resources

Awards and Recognition