Mel Irizarry

Mel Irizarry

Software Engineer, System Administrator

Yuma County Water Users' Association

Yuma, AZ USA

You don’t have to live in a high tech town...the technology at home is just as good. Where you do it doesn’t matter, it’s just the doing it that matters.


By Roadtrip Nation

Mel Irizarry

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My road in life has been direct.
Grew up with a passion for astronomy.
Bought his first computer in 1983 and began learning how to program so he could write his own software to calculate the positions of stars and planets.
After graduating high school, he decided he wanted to pursue programming as a career but realized college was not the right step for him.
He took his programming knowledge and got a job writing software for a financial institution where he learned to program in PL/1, COBOL—ended up working there for nine years.
He then went to work for a software company in Hollywood where he served as the Vice President and Director of Software Engineering.
Decided to step down from this role in order to get back to his true passion: programming.
Moved to Yuma, AZ where he got a job working as a software engineer for the Yuma County Water Users’ Association (YCWUA).
Has spent the last 15 years writing software programs to ensure the YCWUA operations run smoothly and that farmers are getting the water they need to help their crops thrive in the desert.
Keep following my journey


High School


Software Engineer, System Administrator

I perform all software engineering, system administration, desktop support, & SCADA HMI development.

Career Roadmap

My work combines:
My work combines:
Problem Solving

Day to Day

My day begins with checking email which has reports from the servers on the network. This shows me what Backups failed, system health, server status, and general health of the network. After I am satisfied that things are humming along, I start up the IDE needed for the project I am currently programming and get to work. There are also moments I take to read up on technology news, latest hacking threats, and a game of Freecell or two.

Skills & Qualities Beyond School

Critical thinking skills are a must. There are many disciplines needed to do what I do. Beyond knowing how to program in VB, Java, Python, and Shell, I need to know how to do database administration, networking, Linux and Windows Server administration, and desktop support. Knowledge of accounting was a big plus when the front office billing and payment software was created. Recently, a project was being developed where I had to learn and understand hydrology and how to measure water flow.

Advice for Getting Started

Here's the first step for high school students

Software is moving too quickly to sit on the sidelines and watch. Go out there and take classes, learn new ways to solve problems. There are wonderful online video courses you can use to expand your learning and never be ashamed to ask questions. Times and technology change fast, so be sure to follow the cheese! If you are not familiar with the cheese analogy then be sure to read "Who Moved My Cheese" by Dr. Spencer Johnson.


The Noise I Shed

From Family:

"You should just give up and settle for less."

Challenges I Overcame

Career Change
Work Stress
Single Parent

Interviewed By

Small Town Tech

Small Town Tech

Yuma Tech Roadtrip