Back view portrait of young man connecting wires in server cabinet while working with supercomputer in data center

(ROSENBERG, Texas) – Behind the increasingly connected and online world, there are people keeping everything running smoothly. Their job is to hunt down connection issues, manage online systems and implement security measures.

They go by many names. Information technology specialist. Network administrator. Systems administrator.

To Emanuel Palacios, the statewide lead instructor for Texas State Technical College’s Computer Networking and Systems Administration program, they are best described as heroes.

Palacios discovered his love for electronics and problem-solving at a young age. Growing up, he was fascinated by the inner workings of technology and would often pull apart, analyze and reverse-engineer whatever he could get his hands on.

“I have always been a curious person and fascinated by technology,” Palacios said. “I found my way into the information technology field after reading an article about network and system administrators and how they essentially control and support the backbone of the internet and technology. As I dug deeper, I realized more and more that the job was a perfect fit for my personality and interests.”

While he says anyone can find success in the career field, those with a detail-oriented, analytical mindset and a genuine interest in technology are likely to thrive.

For those who do go through the program, they can end up with a wide variety of available, high-paying jobs.

“The demand for professionals in computer networking and systems administration is growing rapidly,” Palacios said. “Graduates of this program are well positioned to pursue a wide range of career opportunities in fields such as network administration, systems administration, IT support and IT security.”

Graduates of the program have gone to work for major tech companies, various data centers, IT companies, universities and school districts, among many other employers.

Being largely an online course, students have flexibility in how quickly they go through lessons. Labs are conducted in various methods, such as remote, virtualized and simulated equipment. Additionally, online students have immediate and live access to instructors at the click of a button during predetermined operating hours.

Palacios believes that for anyone interested in the behind-the-scenes aspect of the technology world, the program can offer a pathway to a successful and rewarding career.

“Technology plays a vital role in every aspect of our lives,” Palacios said. “It’s crucial to have skilled professionals who can manage and secure computer networks and systems. Our program is designed to equip individuals with the knowledge and skills needed to excel in this dynamic field.”


According to, network and computer systems administrators in Texas can earn a median salary of $85,380 a year. The website projected that there would be a 20% increase in the number of such jobs in the state from 2020 to 2030.

TSTC offers an Associate of Applied Science degree in Computer Networking and Systems Administration online through all 10 campuses and in person at the Abilene, Brownwood, Marshall, North Texas and Waco campuses.

Registration for TSTC’s fall semester is underway. For more information, go to

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