Shreya Singla - UBER, India
Updated: Dec 29, 2022
Motivation and Preparation
I started around mid-October when BSW took the session on foreign research interns. But way before that, when I was in my first year, I used to explore YouTube and medium and I came across a bunch of YouTube channels where they talked about bagging internships in the second year itself. I started doing basic coding. I learned C++ and coded in the summers which even helped me to through COL106 later. I coded during my winter break and kept looking for opportunities. I had a list where I had written all the opportunities, I had thought of applying for.
I didn’t want to go for a research internship and was quite clear about it because I didn’t like my core and I wasn’t into research. I just thought a corporate intern would look better on my CV than a research intern and research interns were luck based. Not that corporate intern is not luck, but I just thought that it was pointless trying to mail hundreds of professors. At various points in my journey, I thought about going for it but could never do it. And hence I decided to go for corporate interns and started with knowing the dates of all the important ones I had marked. I checked my Gmail for IITD Notices a lot. Then there’s the OCS Notifications app, one should check that. I went onto LinkedIn and approached a couple of start-ups; I talked to a couple of seniors, asked where they had their corporate interns and approached those guys. It was a very continuous process.
I sat for Google STEP in January but couldn’t get in. Although the preparation benefited me as I coded well for three weeks straight. I also applied for JP Morgan Quantitative Research Mentorship and I got through that. Although I soon realized that I cannot engage in it the entire summer as it had a low commitment. So, I kept looking for things, and in March, I applied for Uber. Along with that I also applied for Flipkart, again which was also an only girls’ program and I got through that also. I finally ended up choosing Uber.
UberSTAR Program Application Procedure
I think it was around 2 pm when I saw a mail saying ‘Applications Open for Uber She++’. The deadline was around 5-6 pm. Evidently, one has to check their inbox very regularly (IITD Notices). Uber She++ is the only way to get to Uber STAR. It’s an only girls' program and takes in 75 girls every year, irrespective of their branch of engineering. One has to upload their resume and fill in some basic details like their institute, CGPA, etc. The shortlisted people then have to then undergo an hour-long coding test. The coding test is fairly simple and requires decent preparation. Previous year’s problems help, one can easily get them on GFG, Glassdoor, etc. From 2500 applicants across IITs, a couple of NITs, IGDTU, DTU & NSUT 75 got selected. After this initial screening, they conducted a two-day workshop. After a month one gets a mail from HR and is directed to a separate portal to upload their resume. Then we had an interview with the Project Manager at Uber. It was a short 30–40-minute interview with questions mostly being asked from resumes and technical coding questions asked to some candidates. After that, they offered 35 girls the opportunity.
CV, Tests & Standing Out
The first and foremost thing is to shortlist what you are applying for and make a CV accordingly. When you are in your second year, you don’t have much to write about. My Acads section was well written as my strong points have always been academics. It’s good to mention a DR if you have one, and JEE ranks in percentiles. It’s good to put in any scholarships or academic achievements. Your academic section should be as good as possible. You should have a couple of technical projects if you are applying for technical roles. Most of my projects were Assignments of COL106, some were core electrical projects but still related in a way to what I was applying for. I had a project on Machine Learning which was in a Digital Signal Processing course. I had one on Control Systems, which involved a bit of coding on MATLAB. You don’t necessarily have to build core CS projects.
It’s good to show a little bit of diversity on the CV if possible. If you have some POR/ECA - it portrays you as a well-rounded person. That should be a small section at the bottom of the CV, in case of a technical CV. It’s always good to put the courses you have done, i.e the basic resume structure to be followed.
For me, I think one thing that stood out was my good performance in tests, academics along with projects. The test matters because the first 75/2500 is a major cut. In the interview, you should be able to talk comfortably, you should know everything on your CV, and should be ready to answer any question pertaining to any aspect briefly or in an elaborate manner if asked.
Speaking of coding, I don’t think you need to learn too many extra concepts apart from what is taught in COL106 if you are in the circuital branches because over there you are anyway doing COL106. Just do COL106 very well and know your basic concepts thoroughly. Since you are in your second year, they won’t expect you to know the complicated stuff. It is very rare that you will get a question on anything beyond some basic algorithms of graphs. You should have done all the basic problems. A good time to focus on programming would be December. If you are applying for Google STEP, you’d be anyway coding for good two-three weeks. Always look into PYQs; they mostly tend to little twisted and repeated.
Role & Overall Experience
I interned at Uber, Bangalore Office. It was an on-site internship. I was in the capacity of an SDE, part of the backend team. It was a two-month paid internship. As an SDE intern, one can work in either Front-End, Back-end, or Machine Learning teams. It wasn’t up for choice but was rather allotted. I was allotted the Back-end team where I worked on building a feature that was part of my team project. The tech stacks I used were SQL and Golang.
I worked in a 10-member team and was allotted a buddy, mentor, and manager. My task was to ideate, develop and integrate a feature in an internal tool used by Uber. I mainly analyzed existing data, ideated on a new strategy to implement the feature using SQL tables, and integrated it into the code base using GoLang.
I live in Gurgaon. Since it was in Bangalore, on the personal front it was the first time for me that I was away from home in an unknown city. It was a good experience because it transferred me into corporate life.I was earning for the first time and had to manage everything on my own. I also learned how to behave and talk more professionally. The people you are exposed to there are extremely talented and smart, and from the best of the colleges. Mostly everybody was very down-to-earth, humble, and helpful. Because it was offline, I got to learn not only from what I was doing but also from what everybody else around me was doing. It was a great networking opportunity where I met people from so many different colleges. Through such an opportunity one also learns how to say no and set one’s boundaries at work in such a setting. Overall, it was a very good experience.
On a professional level, it was a good experience because every company internally has its own tech stack. While working with Uber, I got a lot of clarity on Git, which is the most basic thing anybody should be knowing. I also learned how to work on a big codebase. One gets to know and learn what layered coding is. In IITD, we do basic coding. We are not always compelled to write clean modular code. One gets to learn all this there and approach it in a systematic way.
Girl Program Opportunities
I have done two other girl programs other than the Uber program. The first one is J P Morgan Quantitative Research Mentorship. This comes around mid-January. I got to know about this from IITD Notices again. You are supposed to submit your resume, the shortlisted people get a test link. Here there is no CG or branch criteria. The test is based on JEE Level Maths, the Calculus portion of 12th grade, and Probability. Doing the basics of probability via MTL106 should suffice. It’s a timed online test with a few MCQ coding questions as well. Shortlisted people are then mailed and are supposed to submit a case study solution within a week. And then people are selected for the mentorship program.
In my year, there were 60 girls but they are expanding, so this year there will be more. It’s a six-month mentorship. Every week we have a small session about different finance aspects. It's quite interesting actually and will either be about coding, probability, linear systems, or core financial topics like derivatives, financial markets, stock analysis, risk analysis, etc. They conduct sessions, allot a mentor, and give assignments every week. We are also made to solve Case Studies. We did one on Data For Good- which happened for the first time in India and it was open only to us. It’s a program in which you have to analyze data for NGOs and give them suggestions. One learns to apply things like linear regression, and data analysis to real-world problems and thereby create an impact.
Girl Programs to Look Out For: True North Scholarship Bain, JP Morgan Quantitative Research Program, Flipkart Runaway, DE Shaw Ascend, Texas Instruments WiSH (Women in Semiconductors and Hardware)
Be active and talk to people. A lot of people in my year just missed these things because they were not aware. Try to build a group with whom you can discuss these opportunities and a network of seniors who can help you apply for these opportunities. Make a CV early on because making a CV will tell you where you are lacking. Just apply for everything as it does not take much effort after the CV is finalized, without overthinking whether you’ll get through or not. All the best!
Interviewed by - Aditya Arya