Getting prepared for a career in Information Technology can be a challenge. It is essential to have both experience and training for this industry. Training can be expensive and building experience can be difficult.
The training provided in San Antonio College’s Computer Information Systems Department is probably one of the most economical sources in the area. It is top-notch training at a reasonable cost. For those willing to start early, the deal is even better.
The Alamo Academies Information Technology and Security Academy (ITSA) allows area students to take dual-credit courses during their last two years of high school and earn more than 30 hours of college credit at no cost to the student.
The training in this program is provided by San Antonio College and includes the same college level courses taught on the main campus and includes the course ware certified by the National Security Agency to meet the Committee on National Security Systems Standards.
During the summer of their first year ITSA students work in an internship program that gives them valuable experience in the industry. Many of the students continued to work for the organizations after the summer internship ended. After finishing at ITSA, students can complete an Associate’s Degree in Information Security and Assurance and ultimately can transfer into a Bachelor’s degree at a four-year university.
It’s a very good way to get an early start for those interested in a career in Cyber Security.
Being an “undecided student” can be nerve wracking. There are life altering decisions you must make based on the degree you want to pursue. Luckily, I found the bachelor’s degree I want to pursue with the help of advisers at San Antonio College (SAC) and Texas A & M University at San Antonio (TAMUSA). I chose to pursue a degree in a STEM field of study, Bachelor of Business Administration(BBA) in Computer Information Systems (CIS) with a concentration in Information Assurance and Security at TAMUSA.
Choosing a STEM field of study that easily transfers from SAC or surrounding Alamo colleges to TAMUSA, offered a variety of benefits. The obvious advantages of is the low-cost tuition and the multiple locations across San Antonio. SAC was only a few short miles from my apartment, saving me money on gas and allowing me to focus more on my education rather than my expenses.
What I enjoyed most were the interchangeable courses TAMUSA allows as substitutions. My degree requires a literature course, but I wasn’t interested in taking British Literature, Philosophy or any of the standard literature courses. TAMUSA advisers mentioned that I can take a foreign language class to substitute and that also includes American Sign Language (ASL). That sounded like a fun and easy “blow off” class to me. Surprise – I discovered this to be one of the hardest classes I ever enrolled in and one of the most enjoyable and enlightening. Instructor John Cage gave me great awareness and knowledge about the deaf community and culture. I can now communicate using basic sign language with any of the estimated 116,000 hearing-impaired people in San Antonio.
Concurrent enrollment was the official name of my enrollment status during my first semester at TAMUSA, meaning I was enrolled in both lower-level courses at SAC and upper-level courses at TAMUSA. I found this both convenient and spectacular. TAMUSA is a new, but fast growing university. The student-to-teacher ratio is almost identical to SAC, allowing for you to receive extensive help from professors and improved class lectures. There is room for students to get involved. This summer, I was elected Vice-President of the Cyber Security Athenaeum (CSA) club at TAMUSA.
I arrived at TAMUSA with little experience on working with computers or servers, running an operating system other than Microsoft Windows. Less than two years later and spending countless hours in the lab, preparing and competing in the last four cyber competitions, I have gained a surplus of knowledge in the Computer Security field and feel confident I will find a job with ease and be highly successful upon graduation.
Zach Havins is currently a student at Texas A & M University-San Antonio.