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Mel Irizarry
Mel Irizarry

Mel Irizarry

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."

Career Roadmap

Mel's work combines: Technology, Engineering, and Problem Solving

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Day In The Life

Software Engineer, System Administrator

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

My 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 & Education

Advice for getting started

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.

Here's the path I took:

  • High School

Life & Career Milestones

My path in life has been direct

  • 1.

    Grew up with a passion for astronomy.

  • 2.

    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.

  • 3.

    After graduating high school, he decided he wanted to pursue programming as a career but realized college was not the right step for him.

  • 4.

    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.

  • 5.

    He then went to work for a software company in Hollywood where he served as the Vice President and Director of Software Engineering.

  • 6.

    Decided to step down from this role in order to get back to his true passion: programming.

  • 7.

    Moved to Yuma, AZ where he got a job working as a software engineer for the Yuma County Water Users’ Association (YCWUA).

  • 8.

    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.

Defining Moments

How I responded to discouragement


    Messages from Family:

    You should just give up and settle for less.

  • How I responded:

    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.

Experiences and challenges that shaped me

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  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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.