Hacked off about getting hacked, TSTC student pursues Cybersecurity degree

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Seth Cancino is a Cybersecurity student at TSTC’s Harlingen location. (Courtesy: Texas State Technical College/TSTC)

HARLINGEN — When he was a teenager, Texas State Technical College student Seth Cancino’s love for video games sparked his interest in video game design — until he became the victim of a dastardly deed.

“I used to have a Microsoft email account that was set up so I could play video games on my Xbox 360, and it was hacked,” he said. “I wanted to learn how to be prepared for another cyberattack if it happened again. My father told me that he had enrolled at TSTC in Harlingen to study Drafting and Design. He found out that the college offered a Cybersecurity program, so I enrolled.”

Now Cancino is studying for an Associate of Applied Science degree and learning what it takes to thwart cyberattackers.

“The instructors do a great job of setting the foundation for an assignment,” the Progreso resident said. “I want to know how things such as websites, servers, clients and hosts operate and how to troubleshoot them.”

Alex Alcoser is one of Cancino’s instructors.

“Seth is a self-starter in the lab,” Alcoser said. “He’s done a fantastic job of figuring out a solution to a problem. He’s learned how to look up issues, commands, and do the research that comes with an assignment.”

Cancino said he is grateful that his father encouraged him to attend TSTC.

“My dad wanted me to pursue a college education in something I would enjoy because he wanted to learn something new in his life,” he said.

TSTC offers an Associate of Applied Science degree and two certificates of completion in Cybersecurity, and an advanced technology certificate in Digital Forensics Specialist. TSTC’s Cybersecurity program in Harlingen is recognized as a National Center of Academic Excellence in Cyber Defense. Institutions that receive that designation have met the requirements set by the joint sponsors of the program, the National Security Agency and the Department of Homeland Security.

According to onetonline.org, digital forensics analysts in Texas can earn a median salary of $100,720 a year. The website projected that there would be a 20% increase in the number of such jobs in the state from 2020 to 2030.

Registration for TSTC’s fall semester is underway. For more information, visit tstc.edu.