Here’s a busy husband and dad with a full-time job who doesn’t let opportunity pass him by! He’s on his way to a better future.

He talks about his journey as a Lifelong Learner, how education has made a difference in his life, and how he’d like to impact you.

Q. Looking back at where you were when you started this journey, where did you think or hope it would lead you?

A. I completed the Professional Certificate in Accounting for Governmental and Nonprofit Organizations in 2016. I had been working in a new position, taking over the purchasing function and banking reconciliation processes. Two years after I started, I needed more specialized knowledge, so I started looking for programs in Purchasing to make me more of an expert, and help with my career progression.

Q. What were some of the unexpected hurdles in your journey?

A. Something I didn’t expect was the lack of programs and/or classes for procurement and purchasing. I wasn’t finding many programs to learn more about procurement, so I was concerned that it would be difficult for me to progress in the purchasing field.

Q. What were some of the unexpected benefits?

A. I was glad to find the program at UCR University Extension. It was great for me because the classes were one per quarter, and that allowed me to learn and progress through the program at a pace that I could manage. The instructors were excellent, as well. Moreover, the program gave me a deeper understanding of purchasing and logistics.

Q. What difference did your experience at UCR University Extension make to your life path and career goals?

A. The programs at UCR University Extension became the prerequisite to my undergraduate degree. I had taken a long break from school and I was a little intimidated about becoming a student again—as a father and husband with a busy work and home life. The structure of the classes in both programs was perfect for me because it was one class at a time, and each program took one year to complete. I told my wife that after I earned my certificates, I would be ready to pursue my undergraduate degree.

Q. What are you doing now, Derrick?

A. I am an Account Technician for the City of La Quinta. My current role and responsibilities are purchasing and banking reconciliations. The purchasing side of my job is overseeing the purchasing function in our decentralized system that we have, and I review all requisitions and all documents. I train city staff on the purchasing process and policy guidelines.

Q. What have been some of the most exciting or rewarding moments of your career so far?

A. Working for the City of La Quinta full time. I worked part-time for the community resources department, and later got hired to work in the finance department full time.

Q. What has been the greatest challenge you have faced during your career?

A. Trying not to be complacent. I always want to keep evolving and learn as much as I can because time waits for no one! I don’t want to look back and think about opportunities I passed up that might have helped me in the future. Another challenge has been starting my undergraduate degree. I’m starting now, but I wish I could have started earlier.

Q. What career (or other) advice would you give to students or graduates looking to move into your industry?

A. I would like to tell all the students that there is a government side to accounting and its very rewarding. Also, if you are in a position where you are trying to find a career and juggle life, don’t give up. You may feel as though you are wasting your time, but keep on the path you are on because the journey will take you to a rewarding career that can be life-changing. Sometimes, things don’t happen as fast as you need them to, but if you stay focused and make moves to open doors for yourself, you can make it to where you want to go.

Q. What are your hopes and aims for your future?

A. I hope that in two years that I will be done with all my undergraduate courses. I look forward to moving to a position within my organization that allows me to have more responsibility.

Q. In your life today, what makes you really happy?

A. I’m a very simple man. I enjoy the time I spend with my family. From going to get ice cream with my daughter to having “one-on-one talk time” to playing in the trampoline with my little one. It all makes me happy because they grow up fast. I also enjoy watching TV shows with my wife.

I like to see others succeed and reach milestones. It’s very special to share your knowledge with people looking for help or advice. Knowledge is free, and it can benefit someone more than you know. Training people is something that makes me happy because it helps people to grow."

Q. Anything else you’d like us to know, Derrick?

A. I would like to thank UCR University Extension for having such a great program for purchasing professionals. It is the only institution that offers this type of program, and it’s an excellent program for learning more of the purchasing functions, and what revolves around them.

Derrick has offered to share his knowledge, experiences, and thoughts about accounting/purchasing in the public sector. He’s here to guide you. Would you like some advice from Derrick? Email and we will connect you!

UCR University Extension alumni Derrick Armendariz Derrick Armendariz
Graduate, UCR University Extension
Professional Certificate in Accounting for Governmental and Nonprofit Organizations
Professional Certificate in Purchasing
AA, College of the Desert
BS (in progress), University of Redlands