Located in the biggest metropolitan area in Latin America, Uber’s São Paulo office opened five years ago and remains the largest tech center in the region. Luciano Bonachela was one of the first senior engineers to be hired for the Safety & Trust team back in 2018. Below, we chat with Luciano about growing the site, his career path, and relocating to Toronto.
Tell us about yourself.
“For the past twenty years, I’ve been developing systems and creating functionalities in a variety of fields, such as games, entertainment, music, photography, and audio and video streaming. At Uber, I’ve had the chance to be part of a multidisciplinary team within a complex, resilient, and efficient system that has a genuinely positive impact on millions of people’s everyday lives. After starting out on our Safety & Trust team in Brazil, I moved to the Riders team in Canada and have been reimagining ever since.”
You were one of the first engineers at Uber Brazil. What made you interested in the role initially, and what still excites you about Uber four and a half years later?
“Before joining Uber, I was already deeply interested in the company’s products and technology, and I even followed the engineering team’s blog and social media feeds. When positions opened up for the first tech center in São Paulo, I applied right away! The interview process was an amazing experience. Engineers came from San Francisco to conduct the technical stages, which took place in person at the office, and I was hired a week later.
When I first joined, there were only five of us at the office. But even with a small team, the spirit was fantastic. We were always helping each other out. We even drafted some useful documents for future recruits, with everyone contributing their own improvements. We set up different teams, familiarized ourselves with day-to-day engineering tasks, and took some initial design steps. We also supported the Talent Acquisition team in conducting technical interviews.
Working together to help get the tech center off the ground motivated every action and product update. Four years later, while I now face different challenges, I’m still as motivated as ever: I continue to work with and learn from some really intelligent and committed people, whom I greatly admire.”
You’ve built a lot over the past four and a half years. What stands out?
“The three that stand out the most are: refactoring the code for Follow My Ride, one of the most used resources in the world; the Westplan migration, which delivered a real impact for our users by making our services more resilient and reducing network latency; and the Request Blockers framework, a server-driven UI solution that improves the user experience thanks to a more consistent and responsive interface.”
Tell us about your career progression and the relocation process at Uber.
“Launching Brazil’s tech center was a huge challenge (and opportunity), but thanks to the support of teams across the world, we successfully tackled many of the problems together. Once the center was set up for success, I began to think of how I could drive my own growth and advance my career. I was also taken with the idea of my son being able to study abroad. With both of these goals in mind, I applied to become a Senior Software Engineer on the Riders team in Toronto. I took part in the internal selection process and was accepted! I’ve now lived in Canada for almost two years. This year I was also promoted to Staff Engineer. Uber’s growth philosophy allowed me to get in the driver’s seat of my own career and supported me in navigating the personalized career path that was right for me and my family.”
What do you enjoy most about working on Uber’s engineering team?
“While I did work with a challenging product at my last company, the scale of Uber is far greater. I’m now working on more than 8,000 interconnected features, which enable solutions to be scaled up both locally and globally. We work on a variety of updates and improvements to provide our users with the best possible experience on a platform that’s available 24 hours a day. We learn from every incident and are constantly making our platform more resistant to errors, enabling people across the globe to get from A to B. This is all made possible thanks to the wealth of expertise on our diverse team, which works together and actively seeks out disruptive solutions.”
Which of Uber’s values resonates with you the most?
“They’re all important, but Built with heart and Do the right thing. Period. stand out for me. They are clear, authoritative, and objective and I do my best to embody them in all aspects of my work.”
Any advice for people considering a career in engineering at Uber?
“Set aside time to prepare for the technical interviews. Of course, there’s no way of knowing in advance what problem you’ll have to solve. However, practicing with algorithmic problems on online platforms and going over data structures will help with the coding part of the interview. For the architecture and design interviews, you’ll have to build some high-level architecture for a large-scale application, discuss design requirements and evaluate trade-offs. There are a few books out there that provide a theoretical grounding. Your communication skills and problem-solving abilities will be assessed throughout every round.”
Posted by Uber