Interview with Hector Alvarez

October 18, 2022
Yasmina Ibsen

Hector is a FullStack Web Engineer and one of the newest members of our team.

Where did you grow up? Where did you go to school?    

I grew up in Santa Barbara CA. I graduated from the local high school and attended Santa Barbara City College for 2 years. From there I went on to study at the University of California, Irvine graduating in Mechanical Engineering. After a few years of working as a mechanical engineer, I decided to go back to school and get my master’s in Software Development from Maryville University of St. Louis.

What sparked your interest in computers?

I got my start with computers in a high-school robotics club. Back then, programming was not my forte, and I really struggled to understand the concepts. Although I was bad at programming, I loved all the things that were possible by learning how to code. I eventually took more classes to understand the fundamentals of computer science and applied those concepts to my field at the time (control systems, motor controls).

Did you have any specific role models? If so, who were they?

My parents have been my role models my entire life. I think at times when I couldn’t see my potential, my parents would push me harder to show me that I can succeed. The most important lesson that my parents have taught me is that I have the tool necessary regardless of the task at hand. I’m extremely thankful that my parents have always challenged and supported me.

What would you say to a young person considering a career in science or working with computers?

I would extremely recommend a career in science to anyone, and Software is an awesome field because it is never too late to learn. Not only is it a fun field to learn and study, but its extremely rewarding. Especially in computer science and programming, there are a ton of opportunities and many new and exciting emerging technologies and fields such as Machine learning and Artificial Intelligence. Additionally, the job field in software is becoming more flexible, and allows developers and engineers to work from home.

What is important to you personally? I.e.what things do you value most in life?

I think that family is the most important thing in my life. I have extremely supportive parents, and 2 younger siblings that are super awesome.  I also value traveling and experiencing new things in life. Whenever I get the chance, I love going somewhere new, experiencing the culture, trying new foods and meeting new people! Life is beautiful and we should try to experience as much as we can in our lives.

What are some of the challenges you have faced either in your career or personally that you feel have helped you become the successful person you are?  

When the pandemic started in early 2020, I was working as a manufacturing engineer at a plastic processing plant that manufactured fire hose and other fire equipment. Manufacturing really slowed down, and I was furloughed for a period of about 2 months. This period was difficult, but it allowed me to think about my future in manufacturing as well as what I wanted out of my life. I decided to go back to school and pursue software. For about a year, I worked and went to school full time, which at times was difficult, but it made me thankful for the accomplishments that I have achieved in my life.

What do you enjoy about being part of the Studylog team?

Studylog is super awesome! I think that the most important thing about working anywhere is to be where everyone respects and values one another. Studylog has an extremely positive culture that values each member and leads to a positive and constructive team dynamics. No matter the problem, we all come together and find a solution. I highly appreciate this on a local scope working with the web team, and as a whole working with everyone in the company. I also think it's extremely positive that we all interact with each other in our standups and share parts of our lives with each other.

What do you do for fun outside of work?

I think it’s important to live an active, balanced and healthy life. I love working on a computer, but after a whole day sitting down I need to get up and move around. I personally like going to the gym, on the weekends going out and enjoying a nice walk, bike ride, hike, or the beach. A few times a week I'll go on a motorcycle ride along the vineyards of Santa Ynez, or to the beachside roads by Pismo and San Luis Obispo. I also like watching good series on Netflix and other streaming services. Recently I finished watching season 3 of the boys, and Midnight Mass (which I highly recommend).