Photo caption: Juan D. Hernandez is a recent graduate of TSTC’s Cybersecurity program at the Harlingen campus. (Photo courtesy of TSTC.)

(HARLINGEN, Texas) – Technological advances such as the launching of the World Wide Web and creation of Internet Explorer and JavaScript years ago sparked the imagination of a young Juan D. Hernandez and later would influence his decision to enroll in the Cybersecurity program at Texas State Technical College.

The former U.S. Marine and current Harlingen resident recently was awarded an Associate of Applied Science degree in Cybersecurity at TSTC’s Fall 2022 Commencement.

Hernandez’s degree pathway began in high school.

“I took a computer science class as a student at Lyford High School through a dual enrollment partnership with TSTC,” he said. “I knew it was going to be something that I would need one day. I learned basic coding with JavaScript.”

After high school, Hernandez served time in the U.S. military. When he transitioned back to civilian life, he established a small screen-printing business that thrived until he was forced to close it because of the pandemic.

“I had to find a career pathway because I have children to support,” he said. “I read an article one day about ransomware that coincided with cyberthreats. I performed an online search for cybersecurity programs and discovered that TSTC offered it.”

He said TSTC’s Cybersecurity program is known to be intellectually demanding.

“As a military veteran, I’m used to performing at a high level,” he said. “I found that same connection to the Cybersecurity program.”

As his college journey progressed, Hernandez experienced personal challenges that nearly derailed his college education.

“I’m thankful to TSTC for the programs they offered to help me and my children,” he said. “That assistance allowed me to focus on my studies. My instructors were very supportive during my struggles. The Cybersecurity program made me feel like part of a family.”

Amy Hertel, a TSTC Cybersecurity instructor at the Marshall campus, said Hernandez has what it takes to be successful.

“Juan is a person who observes everything as an opportunity for growth and development,” she said. “His desire to understand how and why something works is intriguing. That curiosity, tenacity and positive energy demonstrates that he will succeed in the field of cybersecurity.”

Now that he has graduated, Hernandez is interested in working as a security engineer with a high-profile technology company.

TSTC offers online training for its Cybersecurity program. Students can choose to pursue an Associate of Applied Science degree in Cybersecurity, certificates of completion in Cybersecurity, an advanced technology certificate in Digital Forensics Specialist, and several occupational skills achievement awards.

Registration for TSTC’s spring semester is underway. For more information, go to tstc.edu.

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