You can check out the school ratings on the Irvine Unified School District's website at http://www.iusd.org. What you will want to look for is the school's Accountability Report Card, which is a state-mandated report that the schools must file every year. It has information about student test scores, number of students, number of teachers, etc.
Irvine is a very business friendly city. The Irvine Chamber of Commerce has a very strong presence and a large number of members. As a self-employed person, I definitely recommend checking out a few of their meetings and mixers once you are settled into your new home.
Traffic in Irvine is not bad, but like anywhere in Southern California, it depends on when you are on the road and which direction you are headed. I love the 73 toll road and swear by it to get me from South Orange County to Costa Mesa without worrying about traffic delays.
The zip codes in Irvine and all desirable, it just depends on what you are looking for. The older sections, those built in the '70s & '80s tend to be a better buy because the homes are less expensive than the newer developments.
I hope this helps! If you have additional questions, please feel free to post another question or contact me directly.
Real Estate Broker & Lawyer