Sierra Vista, AZ: Top Cyber Programs, Quality Of Life
Sierra Vista, AZ is more than meets the eye. Known as both a military town and the Hummingbird Capital of the United States, this community of about 45,000 is home to the U.S. Army’s Fort Huachuca and world-renowned outdoor recreation.
It is also home to two of the nation’s top cybersecurity education colleges, the University of Arizona’s College of Applied Science & Technology (CAST) and Cochise College, one of the nation’s top community colleges.
In 2022, Cochise College ramped up its already robust cyber program, earning validation by the National Security Agency, giving students job-ready cybersecurity skills using a hands-on approach, and putting Sierra Vista’s slate of educational offerings in the national spotlight. With the NSA validation achieved, Cochise College is well on its way to earning a designation as a National Center of Academic Excellence in Cybersecurity by the NSA, putting this two-year program on par with CAST.
CAST offers four-year degrees in cybersecurity, teaching both offensive and defensive cyber operations using a hands-on learning environment that replicates real-world cyber activity. The proprietary AI environment is self-replicating, adding new twists to continually challenge students in a learning environment.
CAST recently announced it’s moving from the northeast side of town to the three-story Piazza San Lorenzo Complex on Sierra Vista’s West End, near the gate to Fort Huachuca. This new site will offer the room needed to accommodate U of A CAST’s rapid growth.
Ahead of the technology curve, Cochise College offers certificate programs in virtual reality. V/R is one of the fastest growing technologies and can be applied to nearly every industry, including entertainment, engineering, medical, and military. Cochise College is also at the forefront in providing training for today’s in-demand careers, such as medical and skilled trades.
“Sierra Vista’s educational sweet spot is cyber defense and security, but there are a variety of programs available locally that equip graduates with the knowledge, skills, and tools in demand by today’s employers,” says Tony Boone, Director, Tourism and Economic Development for the city. “Our home-grown educated workforce is also bolstered by the personnel attracted to Fort Huachuca, who transition into the civilian sector.”
Fort Huachuca hosts strategic technical missions in the fields of electronics, engineering, network operations, security, technical interoperability, unmanned aircraft systems, intelligence, and cyber operations. About 700 professionally trained and educated soldiers transition through Fort Huachuca to re-enter the civilian workforce annually.
Sierra Vista’s highly skilled workforce, coupled with an affordable cost of living and rich recreational amenities, makes this southeastern Arizona community an attractive option for today’s tech-centric businesses. Located about an hour southeast of Tucson International Airport, and just 30 minutes south of I-10, Sierra Vista offers the amenities of a large city while enjoying a hometown lifestyle.
Sierra Vista’s extraordinary quality of life and affordability recently earned some national attention. In 2023, Forbes Health ranked Sierra Vista as the 25th best place for families to live in the U.S. and the top community in Arizona, after reviewing nearly 1,900 cities.
Visit SierraVistaAZBusiness.com for more information.