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Meet Derek Gilbert, Systems Engineer III on the Web Engineering Team at Wex, Inc.

Where and what did you study in college?

I studied Computer Science at the University of Maine at Farmington. During my time there, I made my way through the usual Computer Science courses, along with classes in Cryptography and Artificial Intelligence, and several independent studies on various topics in Computer Science to expand my knowledge and skill set.

Where is your current job?

I am currently working at WEX Inc. (formerly Wright Express) in South Portland, Maine as a Systems Engineer III on the Web Engineering team. I went to WEX right out of college as an Associate Web Engineer. Our team is responsible for designing, implementing, and maintaining the customer-facing infrastructure for WEX. We work with a vast array of technologies and also manage the virtualization infrastructure.

What do you love most about your job?

I love the challenges that my job brings me. As we like to say around here, each day is a new adventure — we all come across new challenges day in and day out. Working in this field is a constant learning experience, and I have the opportunity to learn something new each and every day.

Why have you chosen to stay in Maine to live and work?

I was born and raised in Maine and it will always be my home. After graduating from college in the middle of the recession, the job market in Maine wasn’t at its best, especially for IT. I was pretty sure that I would be stuck looking for work elsewhere, but decided I wanted to try as hard as possible to stay in my home state. I applied for some jobs that seemed rather out of reach for a recent college graduate. However, by taking risks and applying for jobs that weren’t necessary tailored for entry-level graduates, I was able to find a way in at WEX and reached that goal of staying here in Maine.

How did you get to where you are today?

My high school years were a massive struggle. I was having a hard time getting motivated and didn’t really have a clear sense of direction of where I wanted to go. If it wasn’t for my family and the few high school teachers who really pushed me during my junior and senior years, I am not sure I would be where I am today. They motivated me to reach a little bit higher, and pursue something I really enjoy doing.

From that point, I worked really hard to ensure I could get into a good school and a good program in the computer field. Once I was in college, my sense of motivation grew and the opportunities to learn and expand my skills quickly presented themselves, which really helped me get to where I am today.

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