Long before there were desktops in every home, laptops in every backpack, and an iPod in every pocket there was a Computer Information Systems (CIS) department at San Antonio College.
The year was 1954 and the college listed a handful of computer courses all tied to International Business Machines (IBM). SAC was on the leading edge in education by offering these courses because computers were just moving into the business world.
Over the last 57 years the CIS curriculum has changed to keep pace with the technology – from the main frame operating system of the 1960s and 1970s, to the microcomputer specialist of the 1980s, and today’s network security administration.
In the late 1990s, computer programs saw massive job losses to overseas outsourcing and the dot-com industry bust. But in the last few years, companies are outsourcing IT services to U.S.-based computer firms. This trend is good for students and prospective employees.
Another innovation for SAC and the Alamo Colleges is the Information and Technology and Security Academy (ITSA). Qualified students receive training in high-wage demand occupations during their junior and senior years of high school. Students earn one year of college credits free and participate in a paid internship in key local industries.
This year, a team of ITSA students brought home the national championship of the National High School Cyber Defense Competition. CyberPatriot is a unique competition geared toward teenagers that replicates real life cyber security situations faced by computer administrators.
A teenager preventing break-ins in a computer system – that’s a long way from mountains of magnetic tape and main frames that fill an entire floor of an office building.