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.

Videos

Videos

By Roadtrip Nation

Mel Irizarry

Highlight
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01:11
Mel Irizarry HighlightInterview Highlight
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06:06
InterviewThe Interview
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01:08
Changing InterestsWeb Exclusive
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01:09
Self-Taught Vs. Attending CollegeWeb Exclusive
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01:45
Challenges With ProgrammingWeb Exclusive
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01:20
From Astronomy To ProgrammingInterview Excerpt
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00:56
I've Never Accepted A FailureInterview Excerpt
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01:11
Getting Past The FrustrationInterview Excerpt
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01:24
Moving From A Big City To A Small TownInterview Excerpt
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Milestones

Milestones

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
Education

Education

highschool
High School
Career

Career

Software Engineer, System Administrator

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

Career Roadmap

Roadmap
My work combines:
My work combines:
Technology
Technology
Engineering
Engineering
Problem Solving
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

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. This forced me to relearn Algebra 2.

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. Critical thinking skills are a must. 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.

Hurdles

Hurdles

The Noise I Shed

From Family:

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

I knew what I wanted to do with my life and I was not going to let anyone tell me to give up. The easy route is the route I avoid.

Challenges I Overcame

Career Change
Career Change

When I stepped down from my role as Vice President and Director, it hurt. I felt like I had finally made it, but the managerial tasks were taking me away from what I really loved to do. Leaving was a blessing in disguise.

Work Stress
Work Stress

Software programming is challenging. There are a lot of languages that you have to know and it's always changing and updating. Every time I have to learn a new language, it takes a lot of time and research.

Single Parent
Single Parent

My dad died when I was 7 and I was raised primarily by my mother. When I was young, she pushed me to just get a job, any job, so I didn't get a lot of support for my interests.