Austreberto Gomez believes he has come a long way from working in his mother’s papelaria, a small office supply store, as a teenager in Mexico.
Running her business from a storefront in Reynosa, Austreberto said his mother had also set up a makeshift cyber café, where paying customers could rent time on any one of the several computers available in order to complete projects or just surf the web.
When his parents hired technicians to oversee the computers Austreberto, who was 13 at the time, said he would shadow them as they completed their work and immediately became fascinated with the job.
“I wanted to get more involved with computers even though I didn't know anything at the time,” he said. “When I entered high school in Mexico, I didn't know anything about coding or programming, but I had one professor who really made me feel like I was meant for it.”
Austreberto said he completed most of his schooling in Reynosa and decided to attend college in Monterrey, but left after one year in order to begin working in a factory with more than 3,000 employees.
It was here that he was introduced to work in Information Technology (IT), and he said it shaped his career choice from then on. After seven months in the factory, Austreberto said it was time to pursue his dream for a better life in the United States, and the decision to move led him to South Texas College in 2016.
Austreberto said faculty at STC guided him through the basics of IT, and enabled him to focus on his career goals. He said he benefitted from STC and the real-world expertise of its professors and staff.
“Working in the real world changed my whole mind. Now I have a clear idea of what I want to do after I finish college, and now I have a goal in life,” he said. “Courses at STC showed me the fundamentals of programming, and enabled me to become familiar with the entire scope of computation inside and out.”
Austreberto said he studied in order to earn his associate degree in Computer Science, which he received in May 2018. Now more than two years later after arriving in the US, he says he is now working for his Bachelor of Applied Technology in Computer and Information Technologies (BAT-CIT) with the hopes of entering a career in full-stack web development.
The BAT-IT Program at STC prepares students for successful careers in the field of Computer Information Technology. In the program, students are exposed to everything from the development of web-based applications, computer network and convergent technologies, securing network infrastructures, designing databases, and coding.
“These are the people who create web applications. It’s called full-stack because it touches the back and the front end of whole applications,” he said. “STC gave me the foundation so I have the freedom to choose what I want to do as a career.
“If you don’t have the fundamentals, you won’t be able to choose the job you want,” he said. “STC offers this, and it has all of the elements you need to continue learning.”
As he prepares for his future, Austreberto says he will never forget where his roots are. Deep down, he says he is still that same teenager who would constantly crash his parent’s computer at home. STC however, has given him the opportunity to succeed by putting him in touch with the right professors and industry leaders in order to make the most out of his education.
“Now I see that my classes are just one more stage of my life,” he said. “I want to offer thanks to STC for giving me the confidence to go out and get the job I want. For me, the opportunity to start my education at South Texas College was the smartest choice I could have made.”