(ABILENE, Texas) – Computer Programming Technology students at Texas State Technical College in West Texas have an advantage.

Lab assistant Tony Torres is a 2016 graduate of the program, and he is available to guide students during lab sessions. Torres and master instructor Julie Rhoades share the same goal. They want their students to get a job after completing the program.

Torres said the program prepares students for the Texas workforce, but the learning does not stop after graduation.

“We let them know that the learning is not over at TSTC,” he said. “They will be learning different programming languages in the field. But if that language is not part of their company’s database, we want to give them enough tools so that they will be able to pick up what it is.”

Rhoades said the program will help students with different computer programs, including mobile applications. While she does not see many TSTC graduates focusing on mobile applications, Rhoades said it is a good skill for them to learn.

Having Torres working in the lab with students is an advantage, she said. Most of the program is taught online, but some students use the computer labs on the Abilene and Brownwood campuses to complete assignments.

Rhoades said Torres is also a good recruiter for the program in West Texas.

“His work ethic is great. He can tell the students what to expect during the course,” Rhoades said. “He has been through it and offers them first-hand knowledge.”

Torres said he likes to talk to students about why they chose the computer programming field.

“I have talked to some students that barely knew how to turn on a computer,” he said. “Those are the ones that really flourish in the program.”

TSTC offers an Associate of Applied Science degree in Computer Programming Technology. Torres earned that degree and is now working toward a bachelor’s degree.

Rhoades said she was pleased that Torres is working to further his education while helping current students.

“Tony has helped our recruiters with recruiting efforts,” she said.

She hopes that more of the West Texas program will include face-to-face interaction in the future.

“That will give us a chance to work with students both online and in person. It would be the best of both worlds,” she said.

For more information on Texas State Technical College, go to tstc.edu.

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