Texas State Technical College Cyber Security Technology student Esteban Martinez from the Fort Bend County campus has waited a long time for graduation day, and Friday night, he received his associate degree with a job offer in hand.
The Needville native joined more than 30 of his peers at TSTC’s Commencement ceremonies at the Rosenberg Civic Center and became a member of an alumni network more than 100,000 strong.
“I’m excited to be graduating. I don’t have to worry about studying and tests anymore, said Martinez while laughing. “In all seriousness though I feel so happy and fulfilled now.”
The 32-year-old began his college journey at the University of Texas-Pan American in the Rio Grande Valley, now known as the University of Texas Rio Grande Valley. He was a pre-med student, but as Martinez puts it, life happened.
“I met my wife there,” he reminisces. “We got married, had a baby and moved to the Houston area to move closer to her family. So I dropped out.”
With a passion for the medical field and computers, Martinez tried for months to find an information technology job in a hospital, but every position required a college education and degree.
After seeing a few TSTC advertisements about the campus’ new Cyber Security Technology program, he said he knew what he had to do.
“This was my chance to get the education I needed to get ahead and the career I wanted,” said Martinez.
Throughout his two years as a full-time student at TSTC, he also worked full-time as a cook at a local restaurant and built and repaired computers as a side job.
“It has been a huge challenge and sacrifice. There have been so many hours spent away from my wife and children,” he said. “But I did what I had to do as a husband, father and provider.”
The sacrifice and the work paid off for Martinez. He is now a field service technician with Puffer-Sweiven in Stafford, a leading provider of automation valves, measurement and process control solutions in Southeastern Texas.
“It’s such a load off to know I’m set with a secure job and excellent pay,” he said.
Martinez credits his success and preparedness for the “real-world” to his instructors, their experience, the hands-on training and the additional certifications he received in various software.
He also said he could not have done it without the financial aid and Texas Success Scholarship he received from the college, which minimized financial stress.
“I got training and certifications that I couldn’t have found anywhere else,” he said. “Everything we did in class prepared us to be critical thinkers and self-starters. We (students) definitely leave this program more marketable and competitive out in the field.”
His wife and children were sitting in the audience as Martinez walked in to “Pomp and Circumstance” and across the stage in his cap and gown.
“I hope this sets an example for my sons, that if you want something, hard work and believing in yourself will help you accomplish your goals,” he said.
For more information on Cyber Security Technology visit, tstc.edu.
Registration for Summer and Fall 2018 is in progress.