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(BROWNWOOD, Texas) – When Antonio Hood walked into Texas State Technical College’s Brownwood campus in early January 2024, he knew exactly which program to enroll in.

“Working on computers is one of the best jobs today because the technology is always advancing,” said Hood, who is studying for an Associate of Applied Science degree in Computer Networking and Systems Administration.

The average annual salary for network and computer systems administrators in Texas is $85,380, according to The website showed that the need for these specialists in the state was forecast to grow 20% between 2020 and 2030.

What caught the attention of Renee Blackshear, Hood’s Computer Networking and Systems Administration instructor, was his dedication to the performance-based education model that the program incorporates into the curriculum.

Antonio breezed through the first module and recently passed his second module, both within the first month of starting school,” she said. “He is working to complete the first five modules as quickly as possible in order to focus on the Network Plus module, which is one of the most intense.”

TSTC’s performance-based education model allows students to work with an enrollment coach to develop a schedule in two-hour time blocks. Lectures, videos and other learning content is on Canvas, a learning management system. Instructors also do mini-lectures during the day, with tests being demonstration-based, either online or written.

Blackshear said Hood is a good example of a performance-based education student.

“He is always here and stays after his time in the lab to work ahead,” she said. “He wants to make his path as successful as possible while working to complete each assignment successfully.”

Hood said learning in the TSTC lab is the best way for him to achieve individual goals.

“It is easier for me to focus on what I need to do and make sure I have the time to do it correctly,” he said.

Hood said Blackshear’s experience and willingness to help drives him to do his best.

“Renee is always here if I need assistance with something,” he said. “Her style of teaching is very simple, and I know what to do with each module.”

In TSTC’s Computer Networking and Systems Administration program, students can choose to pursue an Associate of Applied Science degree in Computer Networking and Systems Administration, certificates of completion in IT Support Tier 1 and IT Support Tier II, and an advanced technical certificate in Cloud Computing.

For more information about TSTC, visit

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