Culture, Engineering

IT Engineering: Meet the Team that Keeps Uber Moving

October 24, 2019 / Global

As a global company, Uber employees rely on a host of tools and technologies to enhance our platform and support our millions of daily customers. Our IT Engineering team (IT Eng) develops and maintains the systems and services that let the rest of the company do its work. For IT Eng, every Uber employee is a customer. 

Our goal is to improve employee efficiency and effectiveness through smart technologies and services. We provide the corporate technology strategies and computer system configurations required to support Uber’s explosive growth in all lines of businesses, while always striving to improve the bottom-line through effective optimization. Our team also partners with other business units to deliver a seamless, digitally enabled sales and support experience. 

From infrastructure and enterprise platforms to consumer-facing applications, IT Eng designs, procures, builds, and integrates Uber’s most foundational and mission-critical corporate systems. By continuously improving Uber’s top-line and employee productivity with our systems, we are a key horizontal pillar for all things Uber.

IT Eng’s unique team includes engineers, tech program managers, project managers, service desk technicians, and product designers. We’re spread across the world (we are in 58 cities across six continents!), operating from different regions to help Uber function optimally. 

We interviewed a few of the brilliant minds on our team for greater insight into who IT Eng is, what we do, and how we help Uber run smoothly:

Gina Stefanovic, Senior Program Manager, Compliance

Gina Stefanovic

What does IT Eng mean to you? 

What I usually tell people during interviews is that IT Eng is much more than just an IT team that hands out laptops. Every Uber employee who has a productive workday is using something that we’ve built or deployed. We’re responsible for our service desk, which is very important, but we also run the networks, applications, collaborative applications, development tools, systems, and processes that Uber employees need in order to succeed. We make it possible for Uber employees to do their work efficiently and well. 

Walk us through a typical day at Uber. 

Due to the nature of my work, I spend most of my day in meetings. I partner with our Compliance stakeholders across Uber and ask them questions about their regulatory requirements. I then translate this information into plans to help them implement new technologies, remediate process deficiencies, and harden controls for data security, financial reporting, legal, and engineering. 

I liaise between Uber’s various teams and our IT Eng team so that we can apply the solutions we devise and solve for the regulatory requirements our company needs to meet. It is my role to keep business stakeholders and engineering resources in sync. In doing so, my team and I ensure Uber’s compliance with various regulatory, privacy, and legal requirements.

However, my days have recently become a bit different. I welcomed my baby, Olivia, into the world and I have just returned from four months of maternity leave. I’m looking forward to picking up from where I left off and seeing the progress my team has made in terms of compliance. 

What are the most challenging aspects of your job? 

There are not many companies at Uber’s scale, so our team is often solving compliance problems that have never been solved before. There have been challenges like ours resolved on a much smaller scale, of course, but even the vendors, tools, and other companies we work with have rarely seen a company as large, complex, and multifaceted as Uber. In addition, because a lot of the regulations we work with are new and constantly changing, we’re solving even more distinctive problems. 

Managing compliance in these extraordinary circumstances can be difficult, but it’s also exciting because if we solve a problem at Uber’s scale, we’ve theoretically solved it for a whole lot of other organizations. Companies who aren’t necessarily operating at Uber’s magnitude can then go and use our compliance practices to improve their own businesses. It’s interesting because even though we’re a very small team and work at an individual level, we have a major impact in the compliance world. 

What is your favorite part about your job?

Due to the continuously changing landscape in the regulatory and privacy space, I am constantly learning new things and being challenged on many different levels. Though this is at times challenging and frustrating, I look forward to every day as each is rarely the same.

Ameese Sadath Syed, Senior Engineering Manager, Productivity Tools Team in Hyderabad, India  

Ameese Sadath Syed

What do you do on the IT Eng team?

I lead the Productivity Tools, Platform Team based out of Hyderabad, India. Essentially, I ensure that Uber’s internal platforms work well so that our employees and partners can be as efficient and effective as possible. For example, I help run NAPS (nUber Account Provisioning System), which automates system access permissions for new Uber employees being onboarded and offboarded. I’m also in charge of Perks, the service that disburses Uber Credits to our employees as part of our benefits every month. In addition, I oversee uChat (Uber’s internal messaging application) and uSearch (Uber’s internal search tool). Beyond my work with the Productivity Tools team, I serve as the local manager for other IT Eng teams based out of our India offices.

Tell us about your team and building the IT Eng team in India.

Last year, we started building our IT Eng team with me as the first member of Productivity Tools in India. We chose NAPS as the pilot system at our India Hub before we embarked on other projects. At first, I led a relatively small team, but we scaled up quickly. Now, we are a strong team of eleven full-time engineers. We’ve attracted outstanding talent from surrounding technology companies. Our team is responsible, agile, productive, and fun. 

Why did you decide to join Uber?

From the initial exploratory phone call to my onsite interviews and follow-ups, I was impressed with my interviewers’ openness, humility, and warm nature. Uber employees’ passion in pursuit of the right candidates (I have to give myself a little credit) made me feel welcomed and wanted. Interviews at top technology companies are often akin to trial by fire, but interviewing with Uber was a completely pleasant experience. Prior to Uber, I built customer-facing tools like Amazon Shipping and other products for financial markets.I had never had the opportunity to work in the enterprise software space. While I was interviewing, I realized that working in IT Engineering would help me understand how to run an enterprise at a large scale. I wanted to challenge myself and learn how to deal with the complexities of a multinational business and workforce, so I took the plunge and accepted my position at Uber.  

What makes working at Uber fun?

The past year has been very eventful. It’s been filled with rapid solutioning, out-of-the-box thinking, strategic work, and a load of fun with the team. I love the friendly, open, and honest work culture at Uber. I feel very fortunate to be at Uber, especially in IT Engineering, where we have conscientious leadership, supportive peers, and team members who take ownership of their projects. 

Dan Parker, Software Engineer, Innovation Team  

Dan Parker

What is your background, and how did you get started in tech? 

Like many young boys, I thought I wanted to be a professional athlete while I was growing up. I also thought school was boring. Rather than following the traditional path of going to college after high school, I decided to work as a mover and plumber because I wanted to earn more money. However, my friends kept encouraging me to go into software engineering because I was good in STEM classes. Eventually, I decided to quit my long-term career in a union, buy a computer (that’s right, I didn’t even own a computer then!), and left Minnesota to move to Vancouver, Canada to learn how to code. I then moved around the country to find a job and ultimately ended up in San Francisco, one of the best cities for software engineers. 

What do you do at Uber? 

I’m building the back-end and front-end software for Uber’s Driver Kiosks. These kiosks are located in Greenlight Hubs, a place where users can get driver-partner related support, including uploading onboarding documents as a new driver-partner or talking to a virtual support agent. Our team decided to put physical devices so we can speed up services, minimize lines, and reduce wait times. We are also constantly upgrading the software of the kiosks based on UX research and feedback.

My team also worked on the pilot for Uber’s Airport Kiosks for Riders. These stations allow both our new and continuing riders to easily book a ride on the spot without an Uber app and pay for their ride right away by physically swiping their credit card. The first Airport Kiosks for Riders are now up and running—we launched in Toronto Pearson Airport and we’re very excited to see how it will impact our rider’s Uber experience as they’re traveling to new countries!

What is the most challenging aspect of your job? 

Uber has thousands of tools that engineers use everyday. While it’s great that our IT stack has so many functionalities, keeping up to speed with the pace of growth and learning how to use new tools can be difficult.

Why did you decide to join Uber? 

I joined Uber because it has all the qualities I want in an employer: it’s a global company with so much room to grow and knowing that people around the world are actually going to use what I create is very rewarding. 

Chi Ho, Engineering Manager, Business Systems Team  

Chi Ho

How did you get into tech? 

I started playing with computers when I was about nine years old. One of the first ones I took apart was an IBM 5150 with an Intel 8088 processor that my sister got from her high school for free. I remember it had a black screen with green letters. After I deconstructed it and then rebuilt it again, I started loading software onto it. That’s how I got started, and I’ve worked on computers ever since. 

Why did you decide to work for Uber?  

When I began my career as an engineer at Salesforce, cloud computing wasn’t nearly as big as it is today. There, I developed a background in building business software applications in the cloud. When it was time to choose what I should do for the next chapter of my career, I realized I had two options: I could build business applications that support multimillion dollar (at most) businesses, or I could build software applications to support a single multibillion dollar business. I chose the latter because it was clear to me that the opportunity was huge. 

I wanted to apply everything I had learned, so I chose to stay at Uber because my role gives me an opportunity to teach, which is the rewarding experience. Either I get to teach our employees about our systems and processes and how you integrate the two or our engineers how to solve problems.

What does an average day at Uber look like for you? 

No day is the same at Uber. The company and our business systems are constantly changing. On any given day, I might work with our business stakeholders on architecture and design, meet with engineers to look at new opportunities for projects, and help engineers execute the solutions we’ve devised. 

I currently lead the engineering team that supports Uber Eats’ restaurant sales and support applications. This project requires integrating lead generation, sales, onboarding, support, and customer success of a restaurant’s lifecycle in its partnership with Uber. Our goal is to empower our employees to act swiftly to our partner’s needs so we can enable their success.

How has Uber changed in your time working at the company? 

Since starting in 2016, I’ve witnessed significant growth. When I had just joined Uber, its business systems were still in their very early stages. I was eager to apply everything I had learned in my previous career to this job. 

In addition, Uber is always adapting. I believe that progress makes a big impact in the tech world, and Uber has certainly progressed since its beginning. I’m particularly interested in how Uber has blended geospatial data with sales. Uber, as a business, is unique in that our products, from rides to Eats, are very local. The physical distance between the buyer and seller can be measured in mere miles. For many technology companies, the customer’s physical location doesn’t make a difference. At Uber, on the other hand, we have to understand the geospatial setup of a city, know where business is available, learn how to reach people in that location, and figure out how to create our products accordingly.

My team and I provide these types of crucial geospatial insights for Uber and its employees. In order to make Uber the product of choice for customers, we’ve recognized that we need diversification—for example, we can’t provide just one type of food on Uber Eats. My team’s development work helps ensure that Uber’s acquisitions and sales are focused on the right businesses to partner with so that we can best serve our local communities. I enjoy contributing to Uber’s remarkable business model and its relationship to geospatial data. 

Joaquin Benegas, IT Eng Support Lead, Service Desk Team in Mexico City, Mexico 

Joaquin Benegas

Walk us through your job at Uber.

In order to keep up with Uber’s business needs in the various regions we serve, our work constantly changes. Every day, I have the opportunity to collaborate with business leaders alongside our amazing team. This productive cooperation is my favorite aspect of my work. Since my team acts as the face of IT Eng, we are in direct contact with Uber’s business and operations teams on the ground. On a typical day, employees at Uber come to my team for help, guidance, and even seemingly impossible requests. In turn, our team provides them with the technology, access, and infrastructure they need to move people in cities around the world. 

What makes working at Uber fun? 

One of my long-time goals has been to experience life outside of my home country, so I was very grateful when Uber offered me the opportunity to move from my native Argentina to work in our Mexico City office two years ago. I also love traveling to our many offices in Latin America and meeting talented, driven employees from across the world. 

What do you think makes Uber unique? 

I love the start-up mindset of building what we need to achieve a goal. I enjoy taking on multiple tasks at once in a fast-paced environment and really making a difference. I also enjoy the scale of Uber’s operation since we’re a global business that takes each city’s specific needs into account. I’m passionate about Uber’s philosophy of reshaping the future of transportation through innovation and technology. For these reasons, working at Uber is a unique and enjoyable experience.  

Kamal Boparai, Engineering Manager, IT Eng Compliance and Legal (Engineering) Team

Kamal Boparai

What do you do on the IT Eng Team? 

My role as an Engineering Manager is to help guide the implementation of GRC (Governance, Risk, and Compliance), Data Governance, and, most recently, CLM (Contract Lifecycle Management). Essentially, this means that I support compliance and legal initiatives in regions all around the world.

What is the most challenging aspect of your job? 

The scale of Uber’s work can be both challenging and exciting. When we design tools for the company, we have to consider how we will continue supporting them as the company expands. In addition, the work that we do affects everybody that works for Uber, so if we make one wrong decision, we could potentially upset the entire business. 

Our goal and challenge comes with ushering in a culture that focuses on bringing maturity to those processes and building something that we can consolidate in, easily report on, or provide evidence for. 

What encouraged you to pursue a career in tech? 

I first became interested in tech at eight years old, when I began modding (modifying) my PlayStation. Although I ended up earning my degree in Finance, I was also always keen on helping those around me with their computer problems and showing off the many cool tidbits I had learned to keep my machine running efficiently. When it was time for me to graduate from college, I was presented with a crumbling economy and a struggling finance sector. I realized then that I could use the skills I was developing with my PlayStation and computer to pursue a career in tech. Since I was always fixing my friends and family members’ computers, I decided to begin my career as a help desk tech.

One of my first mentors in the tech industry would randomly say, “all right, I’m going to teach you Linux, so go figure out how to untar (unzip) this file.” To me, “untarring” the file was basically just googling each step of what I should do. Often times, I had to begin by simply googling, “what is an API?” At one point, I remember hearing someone say, “oh, you could just use an API to get that information,” so I thought to myself, “okay, I need to learn about APIs.” This lead me to explore scripting. I decided I wanted to learn everything I could about programming languages. I went to a Python boot camp to learn how to code. Additionally, my good friend and neighbor (and a fellow IT Eng employee!) Chris and I met at cafes, where Chris would teach me even more about Python. Learning to code this way was difficult but rewarding because my mentors helped me through it. Having this kind of community support was vital for me to succeed in tech. 

What makes working at Uber fun?  

Growth and knowledge are very important to me, so I love that I never stop learning and evolving at Uber. I also emphasize these values with the people around me by sharing information that I have come across, encouraging them to take online courses, or listening to audiobooks. I love seeing my awesome Uber teammates constantly improving.  

Uber’s constantly-expanding business also fuels me to move beyond my boundaries and do things I may have never done at other companies. This has presented opportunities for me to think about using scale to enable our end users and improve our internal processes. 

What does IT Eng mean to you?

The IT Eng team is very focused on our end users (Uber employees) and their experiences. We always put our end users first; from there, we can help external end users (Uber’s partners and customers) virtually. We help support our end users through offering tools like Zoom, G Suite, and Slido. Even more importantly, we keep the Uber network functioning properly and create the infrastructure that supports Uber employees. Basically, IT Eng is responsible for everything that happens in the background to keep Uber running smoothly. 

Helene Ridella, IT Systems Engineer, IT Eng Collaboration Apps Team

Helene Ridella

What is your background, and how did you get started in tech? 

My academic background is in the humanities, so entering and working in the tech industry was a little intimidating. I still struggle with impostor syndrome, but ultimately I found that changing fields forced me out of my comfort zone and helped me grow. Tech has presented me with a variety of experiences to say “yes” to. I’ve worn all sorts of hats in my career; I’ve worked as a tech writer, project coordinator, systems administrator, administrative assistant, procurement specialist, and corporate trainer. 

When did you first become interested in tech? 

I’ve been interested in science and technology for as long as I can remember, but as I got older, math and science became a challenge due to a learning disability. I had a couple of teachers who didn’t understand how I learned and encouraged me to focus on the humanities, which were easy for me, rather than on the science subjects I was also passionate about. For a long time, I operated under the misconception that STEM leaves little room for creativity. Over the years, it’s become clear to me that this simply isn’t true—there are an abundance of clever and exciting ways to solve real problems using technology. 

What would you tell kids who want to pursue STEM? 

Don’t be afraid to try new things because they are hard. Don’t be afraid to fail and try again in a different way. Don’t listen to people who tell you “no.” If you want to do something, find a way to do it on your own.

How would you describe Uber’s values as a company? 

One of Uber’s cultural norms that really resonates with me is the idea of citizenship in the company: the basic concept is that we’re all responsible participants in a productive and respectful work culture. Employees are greeted with integrity and expected to embody this value in return. I appreciate how leadership encourages it, how our team talks about it, and how folks at all levels of the organization make it clear that my input and presence matter. From day one, I felt like a valued member of the team who always has a seat at the table, even when (in fact, especially when!) we disagree.

What are you working on right now? 

My team builds and maintains SAAS systems for the company, including G Suite, Box, Single Sign On (SSO), and multi-factor authentication.

I also teach an Uber Engucation course that leads new engineers through their dev environment setup and gets them ready to write and deploy code. It’s gratifying to enable them to be effective contributors on day one, and as a bonus, I get to meet my colleagues on their first day and serve as an ambassador for the company. Teaching Engucation has also given me the chance to work with lots of cross-functional teams to streamline our developer experience.

Tristan Rajaratnam, Eng Senior Program Manager, Applications Program Management Office Team

Tristan Rajaratnam

What is your background and how did you get started in tech? 

I have a Bachelor of Arts degree in Special Education and a Master’s degree in Behavior Analysis and Education. For the first ten years of my career, I worked with kids with special needs both in schools and in their homes. After working in this field for a long time, I decided I needed a change. Initially, I thought I would take a one- or two-year hiatus—luckily I was able to get an entry-level position at a tech company through a friend. 

With all the career growth opportunities and connections that I was able to make during my first tech job, I decided to stay in the tech industry a little longer (a little longer has now been years!). 

What do you do at Uber? 

I work as a program manager for Uber Freight. As a program manager, I use many of the same skills as I did as a behavior analyst. Both jobs require looking at the holistic picture of a problem, and then breaking it down into workable parts. Our Business Systems team supports the B2B Sales Ops and Support teams by improving Salesforce process efficiencies and tooling. My job includes gathering requirements, all the way through to deployment of a completed solution, in addition to overseeing the Freight Salesforce project portfolio, including the roadmap and quarterly business reviews.

What do you enjoy most about working for Uber?

We support all of Uber’s internal employees to be efficient and successful, and that puts us in a unique position of being able to help them, and of course vice versa. When I was working with the Uber Eats team, I had a counterpart in EMEA we’ve worked with for quite some time. And when I moved over to the Freight organization and Freight was ready to go live in EMEA, my team was trying to build out the solution for what that would look like for EMEA and making sure it’s right. To ensure that we’re not recreating the same problem and learning from their launch, I was able to reach out to her for best practices even if she wasn’t on my team anymore. She was more than happy to share and answer all our questions and at the end of our meeting with my new team, she said, “Tristan and I are friends. Definitely anything you need, please reach out to me.” 

What is the most rewarding thing about your work at Uber? 

For me, it’s always about relationships. I enjoy building relationships with my coworkers, stakeholders, and vendors. When we can help make each other’s lives easier, it’s a win win for us all! I’ve definitely found those types of reciprocal, rewarding relationships here at Uber. 

Simo El Fellah, Senior Systems Engineer, IT Eng Infrastructure Global Operations Team in Amsterdam, in Netherlands

Simo El Fellah

What do you work on at Uber? 

As a systems engineer on the IT Eng Infrastructure Global Operations team, I provide all levels of operations support (including basic troubleshooting, technical problem resolution, and major problem resolution) to all IT Eng Infrastructure teams including Network, Platform, CorpSystems, Client Platform Endpoint, and Audio Visual. We also monitor all IT Eng Infrastructure systems to make sure they’re up and running in all Uber locations (data centers, enterprise offices, branch offices, Greenlight Hubs, Centers of Excellence, etc.) around the world. 

What is your background, and how did you get into tech? 

I have loved technology my whole life. Growing up, I was fascinated with audio and video production, which took me into the world of audio production and international DJing. My geeky older brother was also a major influence on my decision to go into tech. In 1991, my brother bought his first computer with Windows 3.0 and I remember every little detail: the background was a black tiger image and the first software I ever used was Windows Word. Since my brother was a computer science teacher (and my personal tutor growing up), he taught me everything I know today. Combining digital audio with digital video and IT from my brother’s side, that’s how I got into tech—AV and Collaboration was my first tech job at Uber! 

Walk us through a typical day at Uber. 

I work at Uber’s beautiful office in Amsterdam. On a normal day, I start by checking my emails, then I go on project calls, and finally, I move on to managing the various tasks my team is responsible for. We perform systems monitoring, handle Jira tickets, provide incident triage, send outage communications through our agreed-upon communication tools, and we assist the IT Eng Infrastructure Engineering teams with their engineering projects. There is always a lot to get done, and every day is different. 

Why did you decide to join the Uber IT Eng team? 

I’ve respected Uber’s mission since the first day I pushed a button to get a car. I love how simple and convenient it is for our users. I also appreciate that Uber provides a platform for its partners to make a living. 

In addition, I enjoy being challenged to do things outside my comfort zone, such as moving from an AV Systems Engineer to Ops Governance role. I love that I can use my passion for technology to achieve important operations’ goals and create processes that help my ops engineers resolve issues more quickly. The value my work provides to this important company keeps me going. 


What makes IT Eng unique

Our team plays a distinctive role in helping Uber and its employees do their best work. But ultimately, the people who make up our team truly make IT Eng exceptional. We bring together a diverse staff with myriad different skill sets, and our common goal is to help all Uber employees thrive. In doing so, we move what is moving the world. If you’re passionate about something, Uber is a great place for you to make it happen. We’re always looking for great people to join us. 


If you’d like to be a part of our team, check out our careers page (fun fact, our team was part of a cross-collaborative effort to build this page!).