Networking Students are Future Help Desk, IT Partners

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VC_ITby Eric Jensen

They’re Victoria College students now, but one day soon, you may find yourself picking up the phone and asking them for help when your computer goes ‘kaput.’

These students in the Personal Computer and Network Technician Program at VC are future help desk personnel, network technicians, Local Area Network technicians (LAN), telecommunications technicians, wireless network technicians, and LAN security personnel.

Students in the PC hardware class take apart computers and put them back together. They learn the essentials of building a computer and optimizing that computer. They also learn Microsoft server administration in the network administration class. The networking fundamental class teaches students to actually build networks.

Students attend classes that focus on security, firewalls, incident responses, PC help desk, and different classes to provide the broadest base possible. They learn how to configure routers and switches and how to troubleshoot.

“Our program is tremendously hands-on, so we have lots of hands-on labs and very nice equipment that the students use every day,” said Marty Stockbauer, Business and Computer Programs Department Chair and Computer Information Systems Professor. “We would like for them to make their mistakes in class on the hardware here instead of in the workplace.”

Students set up their own computer system and build and configure a firewall. One machine is set up as an attacking computer to test the firewall and to determine if a hacking attack has occurred.

“They know how to withstand hacking,” Stockbauer said of her students. “We teach students to be aware of spam and phishing scams and to be aware of security.”

Of recent VC graduates from the program, one was hired by Gulf Coast Paper in Victoria as an IT technician, several with the Victoria school district, and several at VC and the University of Houston-Victoria, working on the help desk and as computer technicians. Many of the VC graduates work in local plants, working IT, installing operating systems, updating software, and repairing hardware and software problems.

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Focus On:
Network & Computer Systems Administrators

What They Do:

  • Install, configure, and support an organization’s local area network (LAN), wide area network (WAN), and Internet systems or a segment of a network system
  • Monitor a network to ensure network availability to all system users
  • May perform necessary maintenance to support network availability

How Much Does It Pay?
$37,000 to $96,000 annually

Job Outlook

  • 131 network and computer systems administrators are employed in the region.
  • Job opportunities are expected to grow by 10.7% over the next four years.
  • 23% of network and computer systems administrators are over the age of 55 and will probably retire soon.

Education & Training
Graduates of the one-year program earn a Personal Computer & Local Area Network Technician Certificate, preparing them for an entry-level job as a computer technician. Students also have an opportunity to complete core courses to earn their Associate of Arts or Associate of Science degree, which typically take two years to complete. From there, they can transfer to a university to pursue a bachelor’s degree.

Source: emsi Career Coach 2014

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