Getting a Tech Job at Uber
It should come as no surprise that the company that upended the hired-vehicle industry with its revolutionary “push a button and get a car” business model offers plenty of career opportunities for information technology (IT) types. Getting a position with Uber isn’t a speedy ride, however.
Uber at a Glance
Travis Kalanick and Garrett Camp founded UberCab in 2009 as a limo time-sharing service. The following year, Uber debuted the app that customers use to order and pay for a car, and the company quickly took off. In 2011, it changed its name to Uber Technologies Inc., and in 2012, it broadened its offerings with less-expensive vehicles. In May 2019, Uber became a public company and began offering its shares on the New York Stock Exchange.
Headquarters: San Francisco, California
Services: Uber has expanded its services in recent years, both by offering more types of ride-hailing options and by entering new areas like food delivery and electric bike-sharing. In September 2019, CEO Dara Khosrowshahi announced that Uber planned to unify its various branches of services under a single Uber app.
Current locations: More than 700 cities around the world (services may vary by location)
Company valuation: Uber made its public debut in May 2019 with a valuation of roughly $82 billion. As of September 2019, Uber's market capitalization had dropped to roughly $53.11 billion.
Uber's Company Culture
Uber encourages its employees to make “bold bets,” as the website puts it, to keep the company moving forward. They must take innovative and creative risks. Uber promises employees that, if they come up with a bright idea, someone will pay attention. Many past and present staffers reviewing Uber on Glassdoor mention the fast pace, collaboration opportunities, and innovative solutions. Moreover, autonomy and influence over product direction are highlights of Uber’s work environment for techies.
As the company has grown, office politics and work-life balance are among the disadvantages workers mention. The company makes it clear that employees need to do whatever it takes to get things done. Employees should expect to work nights, weekends, and holidays at times. One former employee, Susan Fowler, raised sexual harassment concerns in addition to describing a workplace where employees were pitted against each other in an extremely competitive environment. Her public accusations sparked an investigation that came to a head in June 2017 with the firing of 20 employees and the ouster of CEO Travis Kalanick.
Types of Jobs at Uber
Employees work toward a common goal of changing the way the world operates—at least in terms of traveling from point A to point B. Since Uber's success depends on how customers react to its service, behavioral data must be constantly accumulated and analyzed.
Uber’s careers page often lists numerous tech positions for:
- Data scientists
- Data engineers
- Software engineers
- Front-end and back-end software engineers
- DevOps engineers
Technologies at the forefront of required skills include Python, Java, NodeJS, Spark, Storm, Riak, PostgresSQL, and mySQL.
Landing a Job at Uber
Candidates who have gone through the recruitment process report multiple stages of interviews and tests. A telephone screening kicks things off. Besides the standard background questions, coding and algorithmic skills come under the spotlight; it’s not unusual to do a coding test while on the phone. Coding projects are sometimes sent via email.
If a candidate impresses Uber, multiple on-site interviews follow. Applicants typically face questions on design, algorithms, and data structure. When it comes to managerial positions, applicants have to demonstrate analytical skills through an online test that weighs answers differently for specific markets and positions.
Even though the recruitment process can be drawn out, it’s not the most difficult. Glassdoor rates interview difficulty for software engineering positions as average (3.1 out of 5). Candidates report mostly positive (46%) interview experiences, as opposed to negative (33%) or neutral (21%) experiences. Roughly 31% of applicants approach Uber online, while 28% are referred by an employee and 27% are contacted by a recruiter.
Salaries and Benefits
According to PayScale, the salary range of a software engineer is $92,000 to $156,000 after bonuses. That’s a median salary of around $122,000. By comparison, the U.S. average is $79,000. Data scientists at Uber earn between $109,000 and $220,000. The U.S. average stands at around $93,000.
Employee numbers reported to Glassdoor set average salaries for a software engineer and a data scientist at $131,000 and $149,000, respectively.
Benefits and perks at Uber include:
- Paid holidays and vacation
- Casual dress and atmosphere
- Gym or health club membership
- Free nonalcoholic drinks