Campus and Community

Ivo Pinto: a young engineer with a high-performance career

The Técnico alumnus (Computer Science and Engineering at Taguspark campus) will take the position of Technical Leader, Office of the CTO at CISCO, in the United States of America.

The Técnico alumnus Ivo Pinto has just taken the position of Technical Leader, Office of the CTO at Cisco, in the United States of America. Passionate about IT and innovation, the alumnus took advantage of his academic training and seized opportunities as they arose.

When Ivo Pinto applied to university he was determined to study Computer Science and Engineering. “Técnico is a benchmark of academic excellence when it comes to IT in Portugal and it has a very interesting academic offer. Great professionals studied at Técnico”, he says.

His academic journey lasted 7 years. “I remember very well spending my evenings doing projects”, recalls the alumnus. “The most important thing was clearly the spirit of friendship and community. The group projects helped to create these relationships”, he says.

From Técnico to a multinational company

Ivo Pinto had two job offers before completing his master’s degree: one from Cisco and the other from Microsoft. His motivation for working abroad made him choose CISCO, as the proposal involved spending 6 months in Krakow, Poland.

Since his first days of work at Cisco, the Técnico alumnus had heard of CCIEs [Cisco Expert-level certification holders] as “very distinguished people and experts in their domains”. “These are certifications that demonstrate broad knowledge, and include a theoretical component and an 8-hour lab exam”, he explains. It didn’t take long before Ivo Pinto started to take other lower level certifications, but “due to my high performance, they challenged me to take a CCIE,” he says. The challenge required him a lot of study and many sleepless nights. 7 months after joining Cisco he got a CCIE Routing and Switching certification.

Less than a year later, The Técnico alumnus got a CCIE Data Center. “I started to become noticed and known as one of the people with more CCIEs in Europe”, he says. “Later on, I got my CCIE Security”, says the Técnico alumnus. There are less than 800 people in the world with 3 CCIEs, and Ivo Pinto is one of the few Portuguese with this number of certifications. He became the youngest person ever to achieve that.

Later on, he returned to Portugal as Consulting Engineer, but not for a long time. Two years later he jumped into a role of Solutions Architect and moved to Madrid.

A few months ago, Ivo Lopes envisioned himself finishing his career in a team of a Chief Technology Officer (CTO), but this goal came much sooner than he expected. “We have an amazing team. My colleagues are very experienced and skilful” he stresses. “I collaborated with some of these colleagues on a white paper, and I ended up joining the team 30 years earlier than I expected”, he shares, with a smile.

The challenge of working at the world’s leading IT company

“There are constantly new challenges and opportunities at Cisco” he says.

Among the advantages of working in a multinational company, the Técnico alumnus highlights the fact that he can work in different technologies, travel to different countries and, of course, the recognition of his work and dedication. Ivo Pinto assumes that he needs this stimulus and says “every time I finish something, I always start to think about what comes next”.

“Like any other US company, Cisco is much more focused on goals than in number of hours worked. If we reach our goal, it’s ok, but sometimes we don’t reach our goal despite our effort and, in these situations, we don’t get recognition”, he stresses. Another challenge that he often faces relates to the age factor. “Depending on the country and culture, some people do not look favourably on very young people. I’ve been asked how old I was in the first meetings with clients. I try to ignore it and show my value, but it’s a challenge”, he says.

But after all, what is the secret to such a successful career? Ivo Lopes answers: “For me it was 50% working on important projects and, at the same time, trying to participate in large-scale projects, and the other 50% working with more experienced colleagues. The opportunity to meet people worldwide and learn from their skills is very important. There is nothing better than learning from the best”, he adds.

Ivo Pinto is currently working with a publisher on a book that should be released next year. “After so much study, I want to share my knowledge with others”, he stresses. “I hope to contribute to the development of the future of computer networks, through patents or networking standards. I’m in the right place to do that”, he says with conviction.

The Técnico alumnus leaves a piece of advice to current students: “Believe in yourselves, and accept challenges even if you don’t know where they will lead. Now, more than ever, it’s difficult to know everything. There are many technologies and tools, but if you have a solid background everything goes well”.