Why I work here: 5 NYC engineers share what's important to them in an employer

Taylor Majewski

In the world of tech recruiting, supply cannot keep up with demand.

Top-tier engineers are hard to come by, and to that end, an enticing company culture, competitive salaries and exciting technology challenges are weaponized as companies try to attract and retain talent.

To get a little more insight into what engineers think of New York’s tech ecosystem, we spoke with local engineers to find out why they chose the companies they work for.

TransferWise is a peer-to-peer business that allows people to send money virtually on the international scale — with real exchange rates to boot. Challenging old-school banking systems, TransferWise’s mission revolves around creating a transparent way to exchange money, completely backed by technology. We spoke with Stuart Martin, Full Stack Engineer at TransferWise, to find out why he chose to work at Transferwise.

What initially attracted you to TransferWise?

TransferWise is founded on principles of social good. We’re helping people keep more money in their own pocket. We keep in mind that we're building code for real people. It’s easy to stay passionate when imagining more groceries for parents back home or more pints when finally reconnecting with an old friend.

On a personal level, however, there are deep technical challenges in making international payments better, faster and cheaper. And these challenges allow you to grow as an engineer, while also benefiting the business. Whether it be working on mobile or machine learning, front end or back end, you can develop and explore various interest areas at TransferWise.

In what ways is TransferWise's engineering team culture unique?

Engineers are empowered to self-manage. We are encouraged to discover and drive insights. We individually have strong ownership over the direction of the company. The TransferWise engineering team is truly international, which gives us a diverse set of ideas. So, communication and an openness to alternative solutions are incredibly important to building the best product for our customers.

What types of tech challenges are you tackling and why are they exciting to you?

One of the biggest challenges we have is in finding ways to reduce cost and improve speed in a banking system built in the 1980s. To find the optimal way to transfer money, it requires a lot of machine learning and big data analytics. The exciting part is knowing the impact that one person can have, and knowing that you contributed to saving people money is a rewarding feeling.

In three words, how would you describe TransferWise's engineering team?

Collaborative, adaptive and customer-centric.

ADstruc is a workflow automation platform that leverages its technology to deliver audience-focused, out-of-home campaigns for brands and agencies. We spoke with Eric Justusson, VP Engineering to talk why he joined ADStruc in its early stages.

What initially attracted you to ADstruc?

I saw an early-stage company with a compelling thesis to bring change to an industry that was ripe for disruption, and I was excited about the opportunity to build a new product in a space where there was nothing else like it.

In what ways is ADstruc's engineering team culture unique?

We give our engineers a ton of autonomy. Within each sprint, they can choose the projects that most interest them and will contribute to their growth. And they're entrusted with ownership of every component of the product development lifecycle: from speaking directly with users, to building the case for new features, etc... There's a ton of diversity to what we build, so everyone gets exposure to different areas of the company and different parts of our tech stack.

What types of tech challenges are you tackling and why are they exciting to you?

To start, what we've built has become a critical workflow tool within the industry — hundreds of people are using the platform to do their jobs every day. So you're faced with the technical challenge of scaling a product that's constantly growing in use. We're also breaking ground in determining how best to apply big data to a field that has historically been data poor. Lastly, the ethos of the company is to take a technology-first approach to how things are done in our space and try to come up with ways to do it better, which means an engineer's perspective is incredibly important and has the potential to change the industry.

In three words, how would you describe ADstruc's engineering team?

Entrepreneurial, collaborative and valued.


Raise is a gift card marketplace. Using the platform, buyers can save at their favorite stores, and sellers can earn cash for their unwanted gift cards. We spoke with Raise Engineering Manager Zachary Kilgore to learn why he joined the growing e-commerce company.

What initially attracted you to Raise?

Without a doubt, the quality of the people. I feel incredibly lucky to be working with some of the best engineers that I have at any time in my career. Beyond the people, the vision of our leaders for the future here at Raise is super impressive. Payments are shifting to become increasingly digital, and our engineering team gets to build products that will transform how consumers and retailers think about pre-paid currency. We are primed to become the largest player using pre-paid technologies to help people save and hopefully become the leader in mobile payments. Aside from all of that, our brand-new office in Chelsea is downright beautiful.

In what ways is Raise's engineering team culture unique?

Mentorship, learning and growth are such a key part of everything we do. Whole organization trainings, lighting talk series, two-hour deep dives into engineering topics led by team members and a seemingly endless capacity for patient pairing from our senior engineers are just some of the examples you'll see every week. Raise is a super fertile ground for growth. It’s been amazing to work at a place where any engineer can have a huge impact. Although many innovations that powered Raise's growth came from senior people, many have been born of work by junior members of the team as well.

What types of tech challenges are you tackling and why are they exciting to you?

Not too long ago we launched the latest version of our mobile apps for iOS and Android. However, it wasn't so much an iterative version as a ground-up rewrite of the app. It was essentially a new product, a new mobile wallet serving as the catalyst for our company's new focus — transforming how consumers buy products in-store and online through gift cards.

With the opportunity for such a radical redesign, we decided to embark on a greenfield project developing smaller, domain-focused services, as well as a brand-new platform to run these services. And we’re just scratching the surface. Raise still has a number of systems that we are rewriting or migrating to run on our new platform. I honestly don't plan on being bored for a long time.

In three words, how would you describe Raise's engineering team?

Dynamic, inspiring and cooperative.

Livestream brings high-quality live video to the masses, working with some of the most notable organizations in the world to help them broadcast live events. We spoke with broadcast engineer and test analyst Sam Lyron to learn why he chose the company.

What initially attracted you to Livestream?

I was initially attracted to Livestream because of the products – specifically how our products are disrupting traditional broadcast media industries.

In what ways is Livestream's engineering team culture unique?

One of the most unique things about the culture of our engineering team at Livestream is the people and diverse backgrounds from various industries such as design, web technologies, video production, and hardware engineering.

What types of tech challenges are you tackling and why are they exciting to you?

Currently, I'm working directly on our Media team to update and improve our ingest infrastructure. This is challenging because it's not just moving to a cloud based solution it's also building and improving on what is really core to our business, which is live video.

In three words, how would you describe Livestream's engineering team?

Three words I would use to describe Livestream engineering: dynamic, inclusive and, innovative.


Shutterstock provides the largest collection of stock images online. The digital marketplace sells commercial digital photos, vectors and illustrations. We spoke with director of engineering Rashi Khurana to find out why she loves working for the company.

What initially attracted you to Shutterstock?

The first time I heard of Shutterstock was via a tweet that said “The Earth is art, the photographer is only a witness.” Intrigued by aesthetics, I enjoy working with companies that encourage and inspire us to appreciate what the world has to offer, be it through travel (at Orbitz, my previous company) or imagery and music. An organization like Shutterstock makes solving everyday, challenging technical problems worth it. Being in the Empire State Building always helps too!

In what ways is Shutterstock's engineering team culture unique?

The culture is unique in the sense that everyone can make a difference, regardless of role or title. If you are motivated and have the drive to innovate and collaborate, you’ll find an open playing field with opportunities and encouragement to do so. Shutterstock’s leadership team is easily accessible and enjoys interacting with engineers of all levels.

What types of tech challenges are you tackling and why are they exciting to you?

After a year of transformation, we are now massively innovating. We have so much to build on using our new tech stack, including some incredibly exciting projects that will dramatically improve the way our customers experience our site like identifying the right momentum and strategy for multivariate testing and having a headless CMS to create scalable/dynamic landing pages. We are committed to being industry leaders in computer vision, machine learning, and search, which are by far the most propellant works in technology.

In three words, how would you describe Shutterstock's engineering team?

Gems of NYC!


Photo via featured companies and Facebook. 

Know more companies that deserve coverage? Let us know or tweet us @builtinnewyork.


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