Working in Tech in California as a Programmer


Working as a programmer is sometimes a great job and sometimes it’s a difficult and stressful job. A lot of it depends on who you work with and how well you work together.

Working at University of California Davis as a privacy and security analyst, the job is great in many ways. My biggest challenge here is balancing the stress of highly differing responsibilities. “Changing Gears” as they say, is something that I’m not very fond of. I like to program, work with project managers and other developers, and I like to prioritize my tasks. In this current position, I wear many hats which can be annoying. Here’s what I do:

  • Software developer (MS SQL with ColdFusion)
  • Progress coordinator
  • Team building coordinator
  • Report writer (using Tableau)
  • Front-End developer for Epic’s PhysicianLink
  • Provisioning specialist (I give people access to the system).
  • Routine system maintenance admin
  • And a trouble-shoot issues when users are having difficulty with the system

As you can see, these are a lot of different heavy responsibilities. They have some overlap, but generally they require different skills, mindsets and modes of thinking. If I have 6 hours of programming to do, it’s very challenging to look into user issues and handle meetings all at the same time. It’s difficult to switch from one mode of thinking to another mode of thinking very quickly, and sometimes that can be stressful when I have a lot on my plate.

When I get overburdened or communication about something important breaks down, I feel like this…

Overall, I enjoy the work. I wish there was less stress and I wish the position was remote, but we can’t always get what we want.

One thing that gives me strength is looking forward to my next trip. I always have a trip planned, because that helps give me something to look forward to.

These are my desk decorations. Yes, that is a mini-me 🙂 In the background, you can see some items from El Salvador that Stephanie gave to me, specifically to decorate my desk.