Otter Spotlight

Get to know Justin Cheng

What's the 'story of you'?

I’m originally from San Francisco. When I was hired by a Chicago-based company, I decided to move over here without having visited the city before. I told myself that if something goes wrong I can just move back, and mentally it felt like taking a very long weekend trip. Two years later, I’m still here.

Currently I am learning how to do two things I had zero knowledge about three months ago: baking bread and how to ride a bike. I recently rode in an unprotected bike lane for the first time, which was less scary than I thought it was. I will be pretty happy if I can eventually do hand signals without tipping over.

What got you interested in software development?

I studied Math in college and minored in Computer Science. I used to wake up at 5 AM on a Sunday to tackle whatever I was stuck on, which was exhausting but I had never felt more excitement. I’m glad that I found a career path that is similar in that I would constantly be given new problems to try and solve.

What do you enjoy most about working at Buildout?

My team is amazing. They are always there to help me on something I get stuck on or take some time to explain concepts to me. In addition to being great at their jobs, they are even better people.

I think that part of why I enjoy Software Engineering at Buildout is that I don’t always exactly know the specifics of what work I will be doing from day to day. But in a more abstract sense, to borrow something I heard from my team lead: “We trick rocks into thinking”.

What project are you most proud of?

I was hired to work on a greenfield project to build our Prospect & Nurture tool and it's cool to see it go from zero lines of code to something that people are actually paying to use; I am glad to be a part of it.

How do you feel Buildout has invested in you and your professional development?

In addition to having varied tasks in my day to day work on so I can learn, the Dev team also has a book club where we read a book and talk about it every two weeks. We are currently finishing up a book called Design For Developers.

Lightning round

How would you describe our culture?


What is your go-to TV show or movie?

Wim Wender’s Wings of Desire

Where’s the coolest place you’ve traveled to?

Hamburg, Germany

What’s on your travel bucket list?

Solely based on how much their food interests me: Vietnam, Iran, and Serbia.

What is an atypical accomplishment you're proud of?

I once went to a Star Wars trivia event and ended up teamless. Since I am Chinese, it was the perfect opportunity to make a pun by choosing the team name Han Solo.

What is the best restaurant in Chicago?

016 Restaurant, a Serbian restaurant and sandwich shop in Lincoln Square. Whenever I have a flight, I go there to get a sandwich to bring along with me.

You might also like

Interested in joining our team?

Explore our open positions to find the right opportunity for you