What’s it like being a woman in Engineering at Careem?

April 01, 2024

Check out our latest colleague spotlight featuring Wajeeha Akram, Senior Software Engineer Manager based in Pakistan. Below we’ll explore Wajeeha’s four-year tech journey as a woman in tech within Careem. 

Background and beginnings at Careem

Over the past four years at Careem, I started in an individual contributor role and gradually transitioned into a slightly more managerial position. Throughout this time, I’ve had the opportunity to collaborate with various teams, particularly focusing on customer and captain experience within the Careem  platform. Before joining Careem, I worked at Cisco as a software engineer specializing in video conferencing, specifically in telepresence and Webex cloud media engineering, based in the UK. During my tenure at Cisco, I actively participated in community initiatives aimed at promoting STEM topics among high school girls.

I’m proud of the progress we’ve made within the captain platform engineering team.  The programme focuses on the development and enhancement of technological infrastructure and tools utilized by Careem captains to streamline their operations and improve their overall experience.  This  has led to significant improvements in the overall experience for our captains across various aspects of our services. From refining in-app features for ride-hailing to optimizing processes for food and grocery deliveries, and even enhancing rewards, payments, and earnings experiences, our efforts have resulted in a more seamless and efficient platform. Working closely with the team, we’ve cultivated a culture of engineering excellence, prioritizing best practices and emphasizing the importance of software craftsmanship to ensure that our technology meets the highest standards of quality and performance.

Women in engineering leadership

As a woman leader in engineering, I believe that diversity and inclusion is necessary for the tech industry to thrive; diverse participants in the building of tech products and services will lead to better, unbiased products. This will in turn help build communities that are more equitable and inclusive. 

We have a lot of amazing things to do in the world of tech.  Women leaders have a unique role and responsibility to promote and champion D&I in their organisations and communities by mentoring, inspiring and empowering other women and minorities to pursue their dreams and aspirations in tech.  Diversity and Inclusion is at the heart of our culture at Careem guided by our core values of building a lasting institution, commitment to developing each other and being responsible for our communities. 

At Careem, our customers, captains and partners are the centre of what we do with a people-first approach. As with the tech industry at large, I think AI will be the most prominent trend shaping the engineering landscape.  The potential applications of AI are boundless, and we’re just scratching the surface of its capabilities. This presents a multitude of exciting avenues for the application of AI, particularly within our engineering teams.

It’s crucial to recognize the importance of ensuring gender equity in the way algorithms and AI systems are structured and implemented. Gender biases can inadvertently creep into AI systems, leading to unintended consequences and perpetuating societal inequalities. By actively promoting diversity and inclusion within our engineering teams and prioritizing gender equity in AI development, we can create more ethical and inclusive technologies that benefit everyone. As we embrace the possibilities of AI, we must also remain vigilant in addressing and mitigating potential biases to ensure that our technology reflects the diverse needs and perspectives of our global community.

Looking ahead

There couldn’t be a more exciting time to join the tech industry and shape the future! My advice to women aspiring to careers in engineering: believe in yourself, adopt a growth mindset and embrace challenges, it is outside of your comfort zone that you learn and grow. Also, seek out mentors to support and guide you.

We are proud of the strides made in captain platform engineering under Wajeeha’s leadership. Her dedication has significantly enhanced the captain experience across various services, including ride-hailing, food and grocery deliveries, and rewards systems. Wajeeha represents our mission-driven culture, with a focus on leveraging technology to enhance people’s lives.  With a people-first approach, she ensures our customers, captains, and partners remain at the forefront of our innovations.

Baber Sheikh, CTO at Careem

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