The Associate’s degree program combines general education coursework with core network implementation, administration, and security classes.
The degree requires students to complete 60 credit hours (SCH) that include 15 technical courses and 5 general academic courses.
Technical Courses include extensive hands-on experience with installing and configuring network devices (switches, routers, firewalls, wireless routers, access points, cabling); configuring/ securing end-user workstations/ devices, to include mobile devices; configuring/securing physical/virtual (cloud) network services; and controlling/monitoring network traffic on internal and external networks.
The CNST degree course development/criteria is derived and based on the following skills standards:
- WECM. Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board Workforce Education Course Manual (WECM)
- AGCM. Academic Course Guide Manual (ACGM)– Lower Division Academic Course Guide Manual
- Texas Workforce Investment Council/TSSB CyberSecurity Skill Standards (1)
- CAE2Y. National NSA/DHS Centers of Academic Excellence in Information Assurance/Cyber Defense Core Knowledge Units (KUs) , 2-year programs (2)
- NICE. National Initiative on Cybersecurity Education (NICE) Workforce Framework
(1) The Computer Networking and Security Technology (CNST) Program in Harlingen received program recognition from the Texas Skills Standards Board (TSSB) on August 13, 2015. The program was recognized for incorporating industry-defined Cyber Security skill standards content into the CNST Associates Degree curriculum. To receive program recognition, the faculty was required to document the courses in which they teach the skill standards competencies, or key activities and agree to assess students on the basis of the related performance criteria, skills and knowledge specified in the skill standards. “The Texas Workforce Investment Council (TWIC) recommends that employers consider these programs first in their recruitment efforts, as a likely source of qualified job applicants.”
(2) CAE2Y Core Knowledge Units (KUs). Adoption of the CAE2Y Core KUs have been approved by the CNST Industry Advisory Committee for Inclusion in CNST curriculum.
The CAE2Y Core KUs have been mapped to the the NICE Workforce Framework Knowledge, Skills, and Abilities (KSAs) .
- Advisory Committee. Advisory committees act as recommending bodies to the faculty and administration and consist of in-field professionals who act as partners in the development of curriculum. Current Computer Networking & Security Technology Advisory committee membership include: IT Professionals from a local ISP; City Public Library, Local School Districts; an Accounting Firm; a Health Organization; an IT Consultant; a Bank; and a Computer/Service Support Organization. Committee members serve for two-year terms and meet twice a year.