(HARLINGEN, Texas) – Texas State Technical College Computer Programming instructor Shelby Coffman said he is encouraged about the future of this new program.
TSTC introduced the Associate of Applied Science degree program at the Harlingen campus in the fall of 2019 to help meet the needs of the state’s workforce.
“The first year of our program is going great. As far as retention, we have not seen much of a drop-off,” Coffman said of the 25 students enrolled in the class.
Coffman said he will gauge the success of this program in 2021 when the first class graduates and enters their first jobs.
“That is in line with our mission at TSTC,” he said. “We want to get people into the workforce.”
Most of the current students, as well as prospective students, are drawn to the program because they have an interest in computers. Coffman uses job placement as another recruitment tool.
“I ask the students if they would like to work after two years of school or after earning a four-year degree,” he said. “Most would like to get to work.”
Students will learn different programming languages and various technical skills during the five-semester program. Among those are software writing and coding, software design and planning, data storage and retrieval, and database programming.
“The students seem very engaged in the class and labs,” Coffman said.
One of the highlights of the program will happen in 2021. Students will choose a cooperative education class toward the last semester of the program to gain real-world experience with an internship for class credit.
After earning a degree, Coffman said students will be able to assess a company’s needs and tailor its software programs. He said he expects students might find employment in hospitals, education, airline companies and government agencies.
“We want students who get a degree to be ready to work on day one,” he said. “We want them to work in a field that they are interested in.”
Computer Programming Technology is also offered at the Abilene, Brownwood, Marshall and Waco campuses. For more information, go to tstc.edu.