Member spotlight | July 2, 2019

Justen Pinto

Backend Software Engineer, Aspire IQ

We had the opportunity to sit down with Justen Pinto, Backend Software Engineer for Aspire IQ and one of their first Terminal hires out of Toronto.

  • members and community

About Aspire IQ

If you haven’t heard of AspireIQ they are doing some incredible things in the influencer marketing space, producing branded creative at scale for companies including Samsung and Hello Fresh. AspireIQ recently partnered with Terminal to expand their engineering talent pool in Canada.

We had the opportunity to sit down with Justen Pinto, Backend Software Engineer for Aspire IQ and one of their first Terminal hires out of Toronto. We dove into his experience, love for startups, music, and poker as well as his continued dedication to leveling up his technical skill set.

Terminal: Tell us about your career so far, and can you walk us through your journey to joining the AspireIQ team?

Pinto: I graduated from the University of Waterloo with a Computer Engineering degree in 2014. After finishing school, I joined The Royal Bank of Canada (RBC) building trading systems for three years. After that, I moved to New York for a year, where I worked at a startup hedge fund. From there, I decided to move back to Toronto, where I ended up joining AspireIQ.

Terminal: What is one thing you think the AspireIQ team does really well and drew you to working with them?

Pinto: I think the culture at AspireIQ is great. We’re working in a very new and interesting space which was one of the main reasons I joined. I also wanted to experience working in a remote role which has provided a solid work-life balance.

Terminal: What’s a win you’ve celebrated recently (work related or otherwise) that we can share with the community and can you explain it?

Pinto: I joined AspireIQ as a backend engineer but was keen to learn front end technologies in order to round out my skill set. Since joining AspireIQ, I have been given the opportunity to learn a lot about React and Javascript.

Terminal: AspireIQ is relatively new to the Terminal ecosystem. How is it being one of the first members for AspireIQ and what are the challenges and successes?

Pinto: Being one of the first remote workers in Toronto was a bit of a scary thought. AspireIQ only had a couple of remote engineers at the time and I wasn’t sure what the remote culture would be like, however, one of my greatest successes with AspireIQ thus far has been maintaining a high level of productivity and work-life balance.

Terminal: What’s it like to work in the Toronto Terminal Space?

Pinto: Working in the Toronto office is great! There are a ton of awesome people all from different companies. It’s nice that you can always talk to people with technical backgrounds — though we often talk about more than just work. I also live right across the street from the office, so my commute is pretty great!

Terminal: Why did you choose a startup? What about it do you enjoy?

I chose a startup because I wanted to work with a smaller team where my work can have a big impact. Additionally, I get to wear many hats and am constantly tackling new problems which help me grow as an engineer and a person.

Terminal: You have a great deal of background in the financial sector. What caused you to pivot out of the financial space and into marketing?

Pinto: Working in finance is a grind and the engineering problems are not typically as challenging. I think both of these problems are solved working at an engineering/product company where you are judged on the quality of your output. AspireIQ provides a lot of freedom for employees to work on their own time which I think is pretty awesome!

Terminal: What do you like to do when you aren’t at work?

Pinto: I like to play video games, go to the gym, play soccer, play poker, and continue to further my technical knowledge by taking online courses.

Terminal: What’s one thing you can’t do but really wish you could?

Pinto: Play high stakes poker!

Terminal: Hypothetically, if you couldn’t work in tech and money weren’t an object, what’s another business you would launch?

Pinto: Before I decided on engineering for my undergrad, I wanted to be a chef. If money was not an option, I think it would be exciting to own a restaurant.

Terminal: You seem to really enjoy music. What are your most recommended songs/bands of all time?

Pinto: That’s a tough question. I still listen to a lot of the music that I did back in high school and university. I’ve gone from genres like punk to rock to rap to house and back. A couple of my favourite bands of all time are Blink 182 and Linkin Park.

Terminal: What is one thing you are looking forward to doing this summer?

Pinto: Besides enjoying the patio weather, hopefully traveling somewhere interesting! I’m thinking of going to South East Asia to do a work/vacation trip.

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