(WACO, Texas) – Students in Texas State Technical College’s technology-related programs are getting a feel for what the real world is like as they take classes online.
According to a Gallup Poll, 86 percent of the nation’s workers in the computer and mathematical fields were working remotely from October 2020 to April 2021. Twenty-one percent of the workers said they would return to working in an office if needed.
Jim Hogue, lead instructor in TSTC’s Computer Networking and Systems Administration program in Waco, said workers in the technology field have persevered through the pandemic.
“People working from home have become resilient on high-speed connectivity, which has caused an increase in demand for trained technicians,” he said. “While other industries were limited or shut down, computer networking and systems administrators were working harder and were being recruited.”
Melanie Alberts, an information technology support specialist at Aqua-Chem in Knoxville, Tennessee, and a 2017 graduate of TSTC’s Cybersecurity and Digital Forensics Specialist programs in Waco, said most students graduating from college will start out on a help desk.
“Having the ability to interact with someone who isn’t technologically savvy is an essential skill far beyond knowing how to set up a server or configure a new workstation,” she said.
Alberts said professional certifications are proof of a graduate’s knowledge in the technology field.
“I have found that most employers are looking for one or more certifications from CompTIA, Microsoft or Cisco,” she said. “Usually it does not matter which certifications, only that the successful candidate has proven that they are willing to continue with some formal learning.”
According to the U.S. Department of Labor’s CareerOneStop website, network and computer systems administrators in Texas make a yearly median salary of more than $82,000. Jobs are concentrated in the Austin, Dallas-Fort Worth, Houston and San Antonio areas. There are more than 300 workers in Cameron and Hidalgo counties and 200 workers in McLennan County.
The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics has projected that more than 380,000 network and computer systems administrators will be needed by 2029.
TSTC offers online programs in Computer Networking and Systems Administration, Computer Programming, Computer Science, Cybersecurity, and Web Design and Development.
Registration continues for the fall semester, and scholarships are available. For more information, go to tstc.edu.