A first: STC offers professional certificate from Google to dual credit students
STC’s Bachelor of Applied Technology (BAT) in Computer and Information Technology Program (CIT) has begun a pilot program that gives dual credit students in high school access to a professional credential by Google for the first time ever.
For the first time ever, dual credit students earning their associate degrees in computer science from South Texas College have the opportunity to earn a professional-level certificate sponsored by Google before they even graduate high school.
STC’s Bachelor of Applied Technology (BAT) in Computer and Information Technology Program (CIT) has begun a pilot program that gives dual credit students at Thelma R. Salinas STEM Early College High School in La Joya and Daniel P. King Pharr-San Juan-Alamo PSJA College and University Center in San Juan the opportunity to earn a Google IT Automation with Python Professional Certificate when they take their Programming Fundamentals III Dual Credit course this fall.
While the certificate program is only currently available to students at campuses in La Joya and PSJA, the plan is to extend them to more Valley high schools after the initial test run in the fall is complete.
“We are embedding Python into these high schools because it is a good programming language that is easy to learn and has so many real-world applications. Python is used in huge companies like Google, Facebook and YouTube for example,” said Computer and Information Technologies Chair Saeed Molki. “We look forward to extending this to any and all high schools in the Valley.”
Students will complete the requirements for the certificate as they complete the Programming Fundamentals class. STC faculty say that prospective students also receive real-world tasks to put their new certification to the test which include solving common issues encountered in the field.
We are embedding Python into these high schools because it is a good programming language that is easy to learn and has so many real-world applications. Python is used in huge companies like Google, Facebook and YouTube for example.
“By the time the students finish the course, they will have also been working on the requirements for the certificate, which they can receive once they complete the course at the end. So not only will they get a grade for the class, but they will also get this important certificate as well,” said Computer and Information Technology faculty member Nicholas Hinojosa. “We need to get high school students used to earning industry-recognized credentials, especially when they begin planning their futures. Whether it’s entering our bachelor program, going to a university or entering the workforce, having these certifications only helps them.”
Python is the name of the high-level computer programming language used by software engineering in some of the largest tech companies in the world. It also among the most user-friendly programming language available to students with the highest implications for real-world experience, according to STC faculty.
“This is so important in our field,” said Computer and Information Technology Professor Meng-Hung Wu, Ph.D. “This has implications in any future courses, jobs, or trainings they take. Having these certificates cements the fact that these students have the best knowledge in their particular field. In this case, it’s a certificate from Google, one of the largest companies in the world.”
Since the fall 2020, when STC began offering this specialized certificate, Computer Information Technologies has counted 576 certificate completions by students, with 195 completions in spring 2023.
An initiative of Grow with Google, the certificate program is offered in partnership with Coursera, a leading online platform for higher education focused on mastering fundamental skills in the IT workforce including troubleshooting, customer service, networking, operating systems and security.
Coursework often includes a combination of interactive learning strategies and assessments including video lectures, practice exercises and supplemental reading to support students’ information technology skills.
CITP currently has eight courses that enable students to earn a variety of important certifications from Google including the Google Automation with Python Professional Certificate, IT Support Professional Certificate, Data Analytics Professional Certificate, Cybersecurity Professional Certificate, Advanced Data Analytics Professional Certificate and Google UX Design Professional Certificate.
CITP also offers certificates from Amazon Web Services including an AWS Academy Machine Learning Foundations Certificate, Certified Cloud Practitioner Certificate and AWS Certified Solutions Architect Associate Certification.
“As important as getting a degree is, getting a certificate like this one is preparing students with the skills that are so necessary in the industry,” said CITP faculty Gabriel Viera. “This field that we operate in is never stagnant. It is always changing. Technology changes every day and those who enter this type of work need skills that are constantly updated. As a department, we know that if we offer these opportunities to students, they can build those job-ready skills so they make an impact in the field.”
For more information about STC’s Computer Information Technology program visit bachelors.southtexascollege.edu/cit/.