TSTC program trains students for East Texas jobs

Texas State Technical College offers a Computer Programming Technology program at its Marshall campus.

Graduates of Texas State Technical College’s Computer Programming Technology program can be confident about the job market for years to come.

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics has projected there will be more than 741,000 jobs for computer user support specialists and more than 1.7 million jobs for software developers by 2029.

“Computers have become a very big part of everyone’s life, especially since COVID-19 forced so many to work from home,” said Phyllis Hollingshead, an instructor in TSTC’s Computer Programming Technology program. “Computers are only capable of doing what they do because programmers have programmed them to do so.”

Students are placed in internships during their last semester in the program. Hollingshead said many of the internships convert to full-time jobs.

“We teach what is relevant to the market today,” she said. “We use the latest software for our courses.”

Ashton Armstrong of Waskom graduated from the program last summer with an Associate of Applied Science degree in Computer Programming Technology and Microsoft Office certifications. He did an internship at iClassPro in Longview before being hired as a customer support representative. He said the job involves a lot of problem-solving and communicating solutions to customers throughout the world.

“Most of what I do is take calls, emails and chats from my company’s customers looking for any kind of assistance they need with the software we have,” Armstrong said. “I do a lot of testing on our software and different things our customers report to our support team in general.”

Another company that employs TSTC graduates is SEVEN Networks in Marshall. The company develops innovative software solutions that deliver device-centric mobile traffic management and analytics for wireless carriers.

“The graduates that we have hired from TSTC have exceeded our expectations and are just as knowledgeable and prepared as other programmers from four-year universities,” said Keyvan Shahrdar, SEVEN Networks’ director of product management and director of operations. “Computer programming is a growing field, and the starting salaries are well over $50,000. Computer programming is a good career field to get into.”