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Center for Operational Oceanographic Products and Services (CO-OPS)

MEET: Armin Pruessner

Information Technology Specialist
Center for Operational Oceanographic Products and Services

As an information technology specialist in NOS’s Center for Operational Oceanographic Products and Services (CO-OPS), I am involved in multiple phases of the development of scientific computing software projects. The projects mostly involve oceanographic data collection, analysis, and dissemination. My day-to-day responsibilities include project management, analysis, software development, testing, and implementation.

Armin Pruessner

What do you like most about working at NOS?

I enjoy collaborating with scientists on a wide variety of projects that are challenging and have a direct, measurable impact. I am particularly interested in analysis and visualization of large data sets, designing useful metrics to help better understand data, and automating processes. I am amazed by how widely CO-OPS's water-level and current measurements and predictions are used, not only for safe and efficient maritime commerce, but also for coastal management and recreational uses. And, of course, working with a good group of colleagues always makes projects more enjoyable.

What is the hardest part of your job?

Balancing the operations/maintenance of existing IT infrastructure and new product development. Technology is constantly changing and it requires a lot of effort to keep systems and software current. New products generate more interest than existing software, and many people are often not aware of the behind-the-scenes work involved in maintaining existing systems.

What is your educational background?

I hold a master of science in applied mathematics and scientific computing. As an undergraduate, I studied applied mathematics and minored in German literature and physics. I originally did not envision a career in computer science, but over the years moved more and more toward technology by a desire to solve computationally difficult, real-world problems.

What inspired your interest in the ocean and coasts?

My mother grew up in a small coastal town in the Philippines. She often talked about her childhood growing up near the ocean, eating locally caught seafood, and going swimming at five in the morning while the fishermen were making their way back with the day's catch. The ocean was clean and the beaches quiet. I believe our oceans are a valuable resource that we must protect.

How did you end up working at NOAA?

Following my studies, I worked for several years for a very specialized mathematical programming software company. I wanted to broaden my horizons and found a contractor position with NOS, knowing very little about the type of work the agency does. I found the work very interesting, and after several years, I transitioned to a federal position.

What advice do you have for young people wanting a career in the "ocean realm"?

Be open and willing to take on new challenges, to try things outside your comfort zone. Always strive to learn new things, especially from your colleagues. There are so many ways to contribute to NOS's mission.