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CTE programs provide inroads in computer science

Dec. 6, 2021 

From the Fundamentals of Computer Science to Dell internships, Pflugerville ISD is preparing students for real-world tech experiences. 

PfISD offers 21 programs of study in its Career and Technical Education department, including computer-based Networking Systems and Programming and Software Development. Courses begin in 9th grade across each of the district’s four high schools, as well as the Computer and Information Technology P-TECH Academy at Connally High School. 

Students completing programs of study may receive an associate degree or industry-based certificate along with their high school diploma.

The Networking Systems program of study explores the occupations and educational opportunities associated with designing and implementing computer and information networks, such as local area networks (LAN), wide area networks (WAN), intranets, extranets, and other data communications networks. CompTIA A+ and CompTIA Network+ certifications are available upon graduation. 

The Programming and Software Development program of study explores the occupations and education opportunities associated with research, design, development, and testing operating systems-level software and network distribution software for various computer applications.

“The courses offered through the Program and Software Development program of study inspire creativity and innovation at its best,” said PfISD Career and Technical Education Coordinator Latasha Wilson. “Students are able to dive into complex skill levels and at times frustrating tasks of the diverse fields of computer science.”

Besides the opportunities to earn certifications and degrees, PfISD has provided students the chance to gain real-world experience with local technology-based companies. In 2018, qualifying students with biomedical, computer science and engineering backgrounds launched a unique high school paid internship program with Dell, working on a virtual reality project with the support of the company’s product engineers.

The six-week program, well-received by Dell officials, culminated in final presentations in front of Dell product engineering leaders and school district officials. The program continues in the current school year. 

PfISD students have also been privileged to participate in IBM internships at the company’s Austin campus. The internships were aimed at strengthening their college portfolios and resumes. 

In a successful effort to draw girls to computer science, IBM in 2018 featured three female coders in a video-based initiative, including then-Connally High School student Heather Brown.

“An internship at any technology company, let alone giants like Dell and IBM, can open a multitude of doors for any student,” said computer science teacher David Polansky. “A successful internship will provide a student with experience that will look good on a resume, projects that can be demonstrated in interviews, and contacts in the tech industry for both references and job opportunities.” 

For more on PfISD computer science-based programs of study, visit the district’s Career and Technical Education section, refer to the district’s high school course guide, or contact your campus counselor.