From Volcano Surfing to Cybersecurity: Alejandro Estrada’s Career Education Journey Student Spotlight

August 22, 2018
Alex Estrada, Cybersecurity graduate, Coastline College

What do a nationally recognized cybersecurity program and volcano surfing have in common? The answer: Alejandro Estrada. A graduate of Coastline’s Cybersecurity program, Estrada’s educational journey began in Central America, where he was living as an action sports tour guide and teaching tourists how to wakeboard and volcano- surf.

After getting married, Estrada and his wife returned to Orange County to start their life together. A major part of that new life involved helping his wife’s teen son find a college. Little did Estrada know that his own college journey was about to begin, too.

“We were looking at all the available schools in the area and were trying to find some sort of technology training for him. When I heard about Coastline and all the great programs they have, we realized it was all right there. Coastline looked like a great fit.”

Estrada, who had always been interested in technology himself, realized this program might be a great fit for himself, too.

“I’ve always believed that technology is a core part of business,” says Estrada.
“Understanding how computers and technology work will enable anyone to excel in whatever field they’re in.”

With this in mind, Estrada decided to join his stepson and enroll at Coastline with the intention of getting a degree that they knew would be practical and in-demand. Coastline’s Computer Networking/IT department offers a variety of cutting-edge courses that can lead to industry-standard certifications in Cisco, Microsoft, CompTIA A+, Network+, and Security+. Of the many specializations and certificates offered, Estrada eventually found himself drawn to Coastline College’s nationally recognized Cybersecurity program.

According to Estrada, the positive effect the program had on him and his son was almost immediate. “Within a month of joining the program, it gave us, it gave me especially, confidence in technology and what I was doing.”

While at Coastline, Estrada threw himself into his schooling, joined Xploit, the cybersecurity club, and participated in the National Cyber League (NCL) and the National Collegiate Cyber Defense Competition (NCCDC) NCCDC, which tests cyber defense skills in a collegiate team competition modeled after real-world attack scenarios.

“[Alex] came on board, and the leadership he provided brought everyone together,” says Coastline Cybersecurity faculty member Tobi West, who regards the Competition  as “the proving ground that you really know your stuff.”

Today, Estrada is applying his cybersecurity training to protecting the real estate industry. “I feel that real estate is behind in technology, and we’re trying to catch up,” says Estrada. “So, we deal with a lot of sensitive information, personally identifiable information, financial information. And I feel it’s my duty to apply the skills learned here to protect that industry and all the people in it.”

Estrada is proud of his accomplishments, but even more proud of his stepson’s. “In his future, I see great things,” says Estrada of his son. “I see him working in any field he chooses and having the foundation to protect that business or that industry that he is a part of. All because of Coastline.”

When asked about his own future, Estrada says, “I feel secure. I feel confident and secure that the training provided here at Coastline is going to go a long way to protect any organization I’m a part of and my business.”

Click to watch Estrada’s story!