Why I Work at Metromile: Behind the Scenes with Khalal Walker

Metromile aims to put people first. We’re focused on using data science, customer-centric design, and the latest technology to reimagine insurance and make it more affordable, equitable, and flexible.

Our data scientists, engineers, and technologists are obsessed with savings, service, and features that drivers will actually want to use — not buzzwords like disruption, innovation, or other “techie” branding.

For Khalal Walker, a senior software engineer, the realization he didn’t like coding all that much had a big impact on the start of his career. Khalal said he was halfway through his degree program at Jackson State University when the realization struck.

“I thought, ‘I’m going to find a job that has nothing to do with coding.’ I got my first role out of college as a software QA tester, testing code that developers wrote to make sure it matches requirements,” Khalal said. “After a few years of that, I didn’t feel challenged in the role. It was government work, and the iterations were a lot slower. I started looking somewhere else because I wanted to be on a team that was more agile, moved faster, and I came across Metromile.” 

That desire for a challenge was met in his role as a front-end engineer in Metromile’s quote and enroll platform. Anyone who’s seen a Metromile ad or found their way to getting an insurance quote has interacted with that platform. Khalal’s role is to make it easier to become a member of the Metromile community. He develops and tests changes to the platform to see how they impact the user experience and optimize the experience. 

“People say first impressions are everything, and this is the piece of software seen by pretty much everyone who has a policy with Metromile or even just checked us out. They’ve all touched this software,” Khalal said. “I think we play a big role in things… at larger companies, people don’t always feel like they’re affecting the bottom line of the company. But everyone sees this code; it’s very impactful. To have that amount of visibility within a company and outside it, it’s cool.”

But a career is made up of more than the tasks and projects that take up a day’s work. At Metromile, it’s the culture and the people who are just as important as the product and software itself.

“There are a lot of bright people at Metromile, and they’re so willing to answer questions, to share information,” Khalal said. “It’s probably one of the biggest things I enjoy, that work culture that encourages asking questions and gaining more information. Some companies are really competitive, where questions are seen as weak, or you’ll be passed over for promotion if you don’t know some piece of information.”

It was the company culture that brought Khalal back to Metromile recently. 

When a friend joined a startup that helps make it easier to donate stocks to nonprofits, Khalal saw it as his chance to “do some societal good.” But after three months, he knew it wasn’t the right fit.

“When I was contemplating leaving, I wasn’t applying anywhere else; I just wanted to go back to Metromile,” he said. “When you go to a smaller startup, funding, benefits, the people you work with, the working hours, they’re different.”

Khalal wanted the “different” he’d experienced at Metromile.

“All of us on the front-end team have a meeting every Friday that’s just 30 minutes, but it’s not about work; we just catch up. It’s a virtual happy hour; we just chat about life, how things are going,” he said. “I think those things are really important because we’re not robots, where the only conversations that we have are work-related. We’re still people. A company is made up of people first.”

We’re building a community of drivers who come to Metromile for the savings and stay for the experience. Our diverse team combines the best of Silicon Valley technologists with veterans from Fortune 500 insurers and financial services giants focused on using technology to reinvent insurance as a tool for financial resiliency.

Check out open positions at Metromile or give our pay-per-mile auto insurance a try by taking a free Ride Along™ trial from the Metromile app.