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How Anwaya Aras and her team help Uber Eats users find the best option for what they’re craving

December 15, 2021 / Global

If you’ve ever opened the Uber Eats app to check out new restaurants and relied on ratings to help you find the most delicious option, you have Anwaya Aras, an Engineering Manager based in San Francisco, and her team to thank for it. As part of the first-of-its-kind Consumer Engagement Engineering team, Anwaya works at the forefront of some of the most unique and creative engineering and product opportunities of our time. “Quite a few of our projects are innovative, big bold bets—something that has never been tried in the industry. This, along with the supportive and inclusive culture of our teams is what excites me the most about Uber,” she shares below.

Tell us a little bit about yourself. 

“I was born and raised in Mumbai where I was fortunate enough to be in a family with parents who strongly supported my education. With a lot of hard work and luck, I started doing well in academics and began exploring Computer Science at University. Opportunities, mentorship and ambitions paved the way for my journey from India to the United States. I moved with the intention of getting a Ph.D. in Computer Science but instead joined Uber after my Masters and have never looked back!

I started my career on the fraud team working on systems to combat fraud on the Uber platform. Today, I lead the Uber Eats Consumer Engagement team which curates engaging experiences that benefit our users.” 

You’ve been at Uber for over 5 years. How has your role evolved?

“I joined Uber’s Fraud Platform team in 2016 as a fresh grad right out of school. I had worked in research labs and on academic projects before, but this was my first industry experience. I was excited about learning and Uber did not fail to impress. Back then, Uber was expanding into global markets and with massive growth came instances of fraudsters trying to game our system. They had so many innovative ways and those days were intense! My team worked on building Uber’s fraud detection and prevention platform using sophisticated machine learning models and data pipelines flowing from all over Uber. I was fortunate to be at a company where individual growth is important and received excellent mentorship from my leaders, which built a very strong foundation for my engineering career.

Since then my role grew from a Junior Engineer to a Senior Backend Engineer, to a Tech Lead, and eventually an Engineering Manager. With Uber in hyper-growth, there were always ample opportunities to step up and take on challenges. I did—which made the last five years abundantly rewarding, to say the least.”

What has been one of your proudest moments? 

“When I was part of Uber’s Artificial Intelligence team I built our first speech platform. What started as an idea quickly became a robust platform supporting novel speech use cases. Our Engineering partners quickly found uses beyond our original intention and other teams began using it to create real-world impact. I still remember the day when we onboarded our first production use case and saw the traffic trickle down our metrics dashboard. It’s very rare to get these kinds of opportunities and I feel so fortunate to have experienced them at Uber.”

What are you focused on today?

“Today, I am the Engineering Manager for the Consumer Engagement team within Uber Eats. My team focuses on embracing feedback to improve the Uber Eats experience, offering guarantees based on marketplace conditions, enabling users to effortlessly find what they are looking for, and giving eaters tools to streamline their preferences and habits. I primarily focus on delivering solutions to the problems we’re trying to solve and maintaining a healthy collaborative culture on my team where every engineer gets to do meaningful and impactful work.”

What excites you about the work you do?

“Consumer engagement is a novel area that offers unique, challenging, and creative problems on both the engineering and product front. Quite a few of our projects are innovative, big bold bets—something that has never been tried in the industry. This, along with the supportive and inclusive culture of our teams is what excites me the most about Uber. Every day I get to work with extremely talented engineers who motivate me in a million different ways. 

We live in the golden era of technology, where real-world impact is a few lines of code written from the comfort of your own home: click a button and food is at your door! How could anyone not be excited?”

What are the most interesting challenges you need to solve?

“Uber Eats continues its hyper-growth journey and this means solving problems fast and sustainably. The systems we write are laying foundations of our stack for the next decade and ensuring that we design them in a scalable, modular fashion while maintaining a steady pace of launching new features is hard, but important work. Balancing the technical complexity of projects with pragmatic solutions that serve millions of our users is a unique and yet surprisingly interesting problem I’m working on.”

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