Working On Open Source (My Journey to Hyla Soft)


Written by Jared Beach on 6/9/2017

When I made my first contribution to the C# library "H-OPC" (Hyla Soft OPC) on, I had no clue that around a year later I'd be working for the company who made it. I found H-OPC while working at my college internship. I needed a way to talk to the PLC's (Programmable Logic Controllers) at my plant through C#. I had searched high and low online for such software. My co-workers and I at my previous company had even tried several other software packages which were all out of date, confusing, and over-priced.

When I realized there is a FREE, open-source solution out there that offers "Dead-simple monitoring" and is installable in seconds, I had to give it a try. H-OPC fit my needs almost perfectly… Almost perfectly. While using the library, I found some issues here and there. For example, when I tried to monitor a value using the wrong data type, I'd get no error. You'd think no errors is a good thing until you do something wrong and don't get one! However, when I figured out what my problem was, I thought "What if I tried to fix this myself?" So I downloaded the code from GitHub, loaded it up, made a few changes and submitted it back for review and eventually it was accepted!

What I didn't realize is that my contribution hadn't gone unnoticed. One of my now co-workers saw my activity on the project and reached out to me for an interview. As a soon graduating college student, moving to Chicago and working in manufacturing IT (a field I was already in to a degree in my internship) sounded like a dream come true.

Several interviews and months later, I found myself at Hyla Soft and I couldn't be happier with my new position. I'm surrounded by knowledgeable, awesome co-workers doing work that's both challenging and rewarding. Not to mention, I'm getting to work with crazy things like automating robots for big name companies! At Hyla Soft, we are open to things that make industry better (like open source) and it makes working for us a blast.

Meet Jared Beach

You Were Born/Grew Up: Tuscaloosa, Alabama

Your Education: Bachelors of Science in Computer Science from The University of Alabama

Your Title: Manufacturing IT Analyst

Your Practice @ Hyla Soft: Manufacturing Operations & Software Development

Your Office Location: Chicago, USA

How Long You’ve Worked @ Hyla Soft: 5 months

Your Areas of Expertise: OPC/PLC communication

Coolest Project: AGV (Automated Guided Vehicle) automation system

Your Career Goals: Becoming an MES, ERP and controls guru

Your Personal Interests: Fitness & Music

Favorite Song of All Time: All Me by Drake

Best Thing About What You Do: Working in manufacturing means I get to work with cool things like robots and controls systems. I truly enjoy making plants run more efficiently through automation and making the lives of their employees better by automating any tedious operations that a computer can do so that people can focus on more important and interesting work.

To learn more about the Hyla Soft team, what we do and why we do it, watch our company video.

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