A day in the life of… Alastair W and Hemang P (Orders Engineers)
As part of our “Day In The Life Of…” series, this time we’ve invited Alastair and Hemang “Sunny” — two recent additions to our Order Management platform — to talk about their onboarding experience, what they’ve learned so far, and what they’re looking forward to over the coming years.
They’ll touch on some of the technical efforts, company culture, and day-to-day habits with some insights into their individual personalities.
Q: How did you find the onboarding experience?
Onboarding was smooth and robust; the team made it extremely welcoming even though it was a remote onboarding. When receiving your tech, you’d be asked to sign in along with setting up your VPN which ASOS provides instructions for. Later, I was assigned a work ‘buddy’ to get me up to speed with all my software and repositories needed to rock and roll. Nobody expects miracles on day one so this allowed me proper time to get up to speed with the team to create that inclusive environment.
Overall, the processes that followed were clearly laid out and the induction was invaluable, giving me a really good feel of what being an ASOSer was going to be like.
Q: Tell us about how you found the shift to Dynamic Working following lockdown?
ASOS has adopted a dynamic working approach that enables staff to work flexibly between home and the office, with the office providing an alternative environment for teamwork and culture.
I’ve found this helps to balance the stress and cost of commuting while still allowing us to see colleagues and get that true collaboration experience that is invaluable to our work.
In the Order Management platform, we are all familiar with, and enjoy remote working and as a result, still achieve high output and deliver on our committed work just as easily as if we were in the office full time.
Q: What do you think of the culture at ASOS?
The culture at ASOS so far is fantastic. It echoes a collaborative, friction-free environment where everyone's voice is heard and valued. Everyone has been very helpful and friendly — guiding and showing me the ropes of the domain along with being willing to advise on technical work. As an employee, ASOS also makes you feel valued with social events, parties, pub quizzes, and other benefits as a thank-you for all our hard work.
Q: How have you found collaborating with your team?
It’s no secret that teamwork is crucial. In the Order Management platform, the team working culture really shines through. Everyone is around to chat about problems, new work, ideas, and anything in between!
We try to encourage pair programming where possible to ensure we are getting the most out of each other and spotting things we may miss. It is always handy to have a second pair of eyes, especially when doing complex technical work. This approach allows us to strive for excellence in every piece of work we do.
We are currently exploring ways to incorporate ‘InnerSource’ into our culture, where teams across our micro-service architecture in ASOS Tech can help each other out and share learnings, allowing the entire business to benefit. I have seen some progress on this front already — we’ve had help from other platforms with some new challenges and likewise we have provided help elsewhere where needed.
You can read more about our approach to InnerSource here:
Adopting InnerSource at ASOS
InnerSource means applying the lessons of the Open-Source community to an organisation. Here’s how we’ve been adopting…
Q: How have you found the office facilities?
ASOS has really invested in their HQ and it shows. The facilities are super-modern, with plenty to fill your time with when you’re on-site. The gym and spa treatment rooms, cafeteria, and the Tech Bar (to name but a few) are some really great places in the office, other than the usual open-plan floors. There is a real energetic and collaborative vibe when walking around, with plenty of booths, sofas, and areas to break away from the ‘traditional’ desk environment, to think more creatively, or have meetings in a more focused space.
We also have a Birmingham office located in the heart of the city centre. For that added touch, every Thursday after work, there are free drinks on the terrace to go chill out and catch up with peers.
We also have a brand new tech hub in Northern Island on the way to help provide us with even more cutting-edge tech expertise to support future growth.
Q: Tell us about some of the technology we are using under the hood
We’re using some great technologies in the Order Management platform, here are just a few:
- .NET core 3.1, 5 and 6
- Azure Functions
- Azure App Service
- Azure Cosmos DB, Table, and Blob
- Azure Virtual Networks
- Azure Application Insights
- Azure Service Bus
- Azure Pipelines
- Blazor (Server-Side)
- Terraform for IaC
We strive to use the best tools for the job at hand. Of course, there are always new technologies being released, so it’s important for us to find a balance of leveraging what the new improved technologies have to offer while ensuring we maintain operational reliability and team knowledge to work on and maintain our services.
Q: What sort of training and development opportunities have been available to you?
There are so many opportunities to develop yourself to become a better engineer. The type of training that ASOS provides include:
- Software Crafters — involves going through best practices (e.g. SOLID, KISS, DRY), tools available, and how to write maintainable high-quality code.
- External Training courses — such as Kanban training and Scrum certification training.
- In-house Training NGC (Next-Gen Compute) — moving from legacy structures to more new advanced technologies such as Azure Kubernetes Service (AKS), Docker, Azure DevOps Pipelines
- Azure Certified Training — take multiple Azure training courses and certification opportunities. Dedicated training material is also provided to support studying for exams.
Finally, ASOS is willing to help you with any knowledge gaps within your job role or any other skillsets by pairing you up with mentors or coaches across the business, encouraging knowledge sharing and learning at all opportunities.
Q: How do you provide support to millions of ASOS customers?
Working in a team where our services are business-critical, we have to be on hand to support the business 24/7 to ensure we are providing the best customer experience to the millions of fashion-loving twenty-somethings that use our platform.
Shortly after joining the Order Intake team and getting up to speed with the systems, I joined the Out Of Hours support rota. This has given me some great experience and learnings, by responding to incidents, learning how to think on my feet calmly and quickly, prioritizing actions, and communicating findings/fixes in a timely manner.
We regularly review our site reliability engineering (SRE) methods to ensure we have the tools available to spot potential issues before they become incidents and act on the alerts quickly. This includes having a range of monitoring dashboards using Grafana, Azure Workbooks, and Azure Monitor, as well as making use of standard alerts and action groups.
ASOS is a company that is mission-led, purpose-driven, and guided by its values. Our purpose is to give people the confidence to be whoever they want to be. Order Management is a critical part of that mission — connecting people to the fashion, face, and body products that they love and ensuring they can get them delivered, in the way that suits them.
Alastair is a Software Engineer at ASOS in the Order Intake team. Outside of work, Alastair likes to get out on the mountain bike and pick up tools for DIY projects.
Sunny is a Software Engineer at ASOS in the Order Details team. Outside of work, he loves to travel, go to the gym, and loves eating different kinds of food from around the world.
Did you know that ASOS is hiring across a range of roles in Tech? See our open positions here.