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A Day In The Life Of: Uber Techies Who Work With Big Data

A Day In The Life Of: Uber Techies Who Work With Big Data

As the year 2018 draws to an end, Analytics India Magazine is starting a new column called ‘A Day In The Life Of’, where we will try to step into the shoes of the awesome techies from various organisations who are working in New Tech areas like big data, data analytics, artificial intelligence and the internet of things, among others.

This week we decided to talk to two women engineers from Uber. Pallavi Rao, Staff Engineer, and Divya B, Senior Software Engineer, spoke to AIM about their life as two dedicated techies who are working in a top company, in an area which is constantly changing and evolving.

Pallavi, whose day begins at 6:30 am, rain or shine, says that her philosophy towards life is that she considers each day a brand new challenge. She applies the same rule for her work at Uber, “Each day has a brand new technical problem to solve and, I enjoy solving problems,” she says cheerfully.

Divya, who efficiently juggles work and play, says:

My mornings are dedicated to self-care (I work out every single day), and my evenings are dedicated to my family.

As Pallavi walks us through her day, she explains, “My job is to chart out a technical roadmap for the team given the various product requirements and keeping in mind the design principles and good engineering practices. My expertise is in big data systems and machine learning. I work across various projects within the group helping and guiding engineers where needed.”

Her team’s job is to build technology that helps Uber marketers reach the right set of audience, at the right time, with the right message. “Ensuring our marketing spend gives us the best ROI is another goal our team helps to achieve. This involves building systems that ingest data from multiple sources, process them churn GBs or data in an hour,” explains Pallavi.

Divya’s key responsibilities, on the other hand, include:

  • Making technology choices
  • Design and architecture of big data systems
  • Building big data and analytics systems
  • Coding/programming
  • Mentoring teams
  • Setting up a process and good coding practices

She is currently working with the AdTech team. Divya explains, “Uber is spending a huge amount of money in advertising across hundreds of channels throughout the world. Technology built out of AdTech team makes Uber spend efficiently using data analytics and machine learning. It involves processing data at scale using big data systems.”

Both Divya and Pallavi are working mothers and one can see the meticulous planning that has gone into their juggling all these roles efficiently.

For example, Pallavi, who eats her meals at the Uber cafeteria, prefers to eat home-cooked food on the weekends. She also plans her free time in such a way, that it covers all aspects of her vibrant personality. “I would say I have an active social life. I am an extrovert, but not really a party animal. I occasionally go for movies, dinner, games or even treks. However, I like my quiet times too, where I can just curl up with a book or just stay indoors and play a board game with my family. I also play basketball with my son or go for walks with my husband.”

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Painting a vibrant picture of the Uber team in India, Divya says happily that the best part of her workday includes “lunch talks” with the team. On a serious note, she says:

When I solve a problem in a better way than the existing solution if there was a pre-existing solution, totally makes my day.

When asked about their long-term plans, both of them had a clear idea.

Pallavi says, “My five-year plan is to work on company-wide initiatives and drive the technology charter across various sub-orgs. But for now, I want to make the AdTech team successful by bringing in innovative and cutting-edge technology solutions and setting it up for long-term success. Also, work with rest of the engineering leaders at Uber to make this [Bengaluru] site a world-class technology centre.”

Divya says, “Over the next five years I want to move up in my career and see myself in a position that creates a positive impact across the company. My short-term plan is to work on challenging projects that make a difference to my organisation, and which can span across other companies as well.”

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