Networking students are most successful when they like to solve problems and tinker

(HARLINGEN, Texas) – Imagine that you are driving along the road in your car on your way to a shopping trip at the mall.

The road is the infrastructure that allows you and your car — the data — to flow to the mall, which, in the case of this analogy, functions as the server and services provided to the user.

That is your first lesson in Computer Networking & Systems Administration, courtesy of TSTC instructor Emanuel Palacios.

“It all works together,” he said. “Some individuals will manage all of that. For a bigger and more complex environment, you will have one person responsible for each of those areas.”

TSTC offers online courses for an Associate of Applied Science degree in Computer Networking & Systems Administration, an advanced technical certificate in Cloud Computing, and an occupational skills award in Basic Computer Networking & Systems Administration.

“Our students really have a breadth of understanding, and they get a very solid foundation in information technology,” Palacios said. “They not only learn the technology, but they learn how to troubleshoot and how to develop those skills needed in order to be successful in other technologies.”

Students who tend to thrive in the program at TSTC are those who like to tinker and solve problems while challenging themselves with brain teasers.

“Those are the students who tend to finish at the top of the class and be the most successful,” Palacios said. “It’s the students who like digging into the settings and configurations of their phone or computer. They do real well.”

Many students who choose to pursue a course of study in the program know someone already in the industry, like a family member or friend, and have liked what they have gotten a glimpse of. Others “are attracted to the program because they have a knack for IT in general,” Palacios said.

Prospective students can expect to gain a strong foundation in the industry throughout their coursework.

“The caliber really could be defined as network engineers, system administrators,” Palacios said. “The students are learning the concepts and working with the technology that those same individuals who hold those titles of industry are working with. Their caliber is really high — they’re learning how to design network infrastructures and systems environments beyond just your PC on a desk.”

That learning and training prepares them for an in-demand career in the computer and information technology field, where they will most often be troubleshooting and resolving issues for users.

Computer user support specialists can make an average of $47,460 per year, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. predicts that this career will grow by 19% in Texas by 2028.

Registration for the fall semester at TSTC is underway. For more information, visit

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