FSQ Faces / Behind the Tech: Jovanni Luna, Junior Software Engineer

What’s it like to start your career in tech at Foursquare? Learn more about Jovanni’s experience.

Jovanni

Meet Jovanni Luna, a junior software engineer who joined Foursquare in July of 2021 as a member of our Places Quality team. A former competitive chess player and lifelong technology enthusiast, Jovanni initially received technical training from the Pursuit organization, which connected him with Foursquare for his first full-time role as a software engineer.

To learn more about Jovanni’s experience, check out our Q&A below.

Why did you decide to become a developer engineer? What led you to that career choice?
I was always interested in technology, and one day my friends invited me to join a seminar for a software engineering bootcamp called Pursuit. What peaked my interest was their goal of helping underserved communities to join the tech space with a supportive fellowship program, so I joined. While I was learning web development, I was interested to find that my instructors were still learning, too. It seems like no matter who I talk to, no matter how experienced they are—everyone is still learning and growing. So, it was that bootcamp, and that idea of always being challenged, that led me to take this career path. It’s been great ever since!

Jovanni 2nd Image

Can you tell us a little about your current role and responsibilities at Foursquare?
I’m a Junior Software Engineer on the Places Quality team. I check Foursquare’s data pipeline and make sure our data metrics are all functioning smoothly before everything gets passed on to other teams and clients.

What’s the most exciting thing you’re working on right now?
Right now, I am working on several projects, including what we use for collecting annotations for machine learning model training and evaluation, cases where ML models fail or are unsure, collecting geocode annotations for our geocode model, closing and opening businesses, etc. It’s interesting to see how many countries Foursquare operates in, and just how much data we have everywhere. Even seeing points of interest in different languages is exciting.

How has your role changed since you first joined Foursquare?
I came in as a Full Stack Web Engineer. In the beginning, I was doing more front-end work, and now I’ve transitioned a bit more to the back-end. The languages and frameworks that I originally studied, like Javascript and React, actually aren’t used as much in the Places engineering team. So, it’s been a lot of learning in terms of programming languages like Ruby on Rails, Postgresql, the Scala Play framework, and right now we touch base in Python.

What excites you most about Foursquare’s technology and products?
I find it really exciting to deal with all the attributes of our points of interest—sharing that places do exist, and these businesses are located around the world. I also like how the different channels within Foursquare are interconnected. It’s really rewarding to see what different clientele use the Places information. I also really like the blend of manual and machine learning; a lot of what we do is automated, but we do verify and check everything.

What skills do you think are most important for an engineer looking to be successful working with location data and technology?
Communication is just as important as technical skills, since all of our teams’ work is connected to achieve the company’s ultimate goal. The company can’t move forward unless we get our tasks and sprints done, and your team is there to help you and support you. I also think having that hunger to learn is very important.

Are there any specific skills you expect to improve upon during your time at Foursquare that you might not have gained elsewhere?
Foursquare has given me a lot of opportunities to advance my career, maybe even becoming a mid-level engineer. I’ve joined a Ruby on Rails book club that we do after work—and through all of this, my manager and team have supported my learning, so I can challenge myself as I continue to develop my skills as an engineer.

How do you keep your skills fresh?
I occasionally read up on documentation, and do research outside of work, too. I also have constructive conversations with my coworkers, even attend classes with them outside of Foursquare, and attend Pursuit workshops.

What’s the best piece of advice that you’ve ever received?
Have an open mind: engineers can get very caught up in our own specific way of thinking or coding, but once you join a team and you’re all building something together, it’s important to remember that everybody has different functions and ways of interpreting tone. You’ll work much better with your team if you learn methods of thinking that are different from your own. If you keep an open mind while working with other skillful people, you’ll always be learning new things and enhancing your own skills.

What do you like to do in your spare time?
My favorite thing to do is spend time with family and friends. I always seem to learn new life lessons by sharing experiences with people. I also love to learn about other cultures through travel and new cuisines. New York city is one of the perfect places for trying new things, but right now I’m actually visiting family in Mexico City, and I’m grateful that remote work gave me the ability to do that.

What do you feel clients who are interested in working with Foursquare should know about the company?
The work culture is very positive. Everyone on my team really cares about getting our work done and we’re proud of what we do. It makes the work feel like more than just a job.