A day in the life of… Cat S (Head of Reliability Engineering)

AsosTechBlog
Jun 22 · 4 min read

This ‘day in the life of’ series gives you an insight into what a typical day looks like for our women in Tech at ASOS (hint: there isn’t one) and how they started their careers. Hopefully, you take something inspirational away from it.

This one’s about Cat who’s Head Of Reliability Engineering — Technology Operations.

My alarm clock goes off…

At 5:22am 😴… I do an hour of yoga and meditation to set me up for the day before I get my Mum / puppy Mum / work heads on for the day; it’s the only hour of peace I get. And I like the number 22. 😁

I’m responsible for…

The end to end performance, scalability, observability and reliability of our tech, primarily the customer journey and order processing but the scope is growing. My team also support platforms in building their own performance and resiliency testing capability. We look after the large integrated path to live environments, keep them up to date, healthy and relevant. My team and I have recently moved into Infrastructure and Operations and merged in our App Support function. This will help us bridge the gap between Engineering and Operations and is a big step on the path of building our Site Reliability Engineering (SRE) capability, something I’ve been working towards for a long time!

I got the job…

I joined ASOS seven years ago with the intention of stepping away from leadership and back into a tech role as a Senior QA. My background is test consultancy (performance, automation, test management, agile testing and training), so I’ve had a really varied career. My career progression at ASOS has come about from collaborating on solutions for gaps that have been identified, and it hasn’t been a typical career path but I’ve been lucky to have lots of opportunities and have built an amazing team over the last five/six years. I’ve very recently been promoted to a Head Of role and am super happy about it. I love working here, ASOS has a great culture and great people.

My typical day looks like…

Yoga, meditation, dog walk, kids to school, time for a bit of ‘proper work’ before the meetings start for the day. I schedule in a lunch break for walk two and try to cram in some lunch somewhere. When I’m doing ‘proper work’ it tends to be presentations these days rather than doing anything directly techy!

My evenings have me…

Playing with the pup, catching up with my girls, generally a TV dinner (my Mum would be appalled), maybe a phone call or some coaching work, and it’s bedtime all too quickly! I’m definitely a morning person.

My most memorable moment at ASOS…

Presenting at MS Build in 2018; it wasn’t keynote worthy but it was a career highlight for sure! The presentation was titled ‘Managing global ecommerce at hyperscale with Azure’ and described our microservices architecture and our approach to assuring its scalability and resiliency. Going to the Redmond offices the next day was a great opportunity; I got to feed directly into Microsoft’s monitoring strategy.

The best part of my job…

Time with my team, they are an amazing group of people, they get on really well and are so friendly and supportive. It can be hard working in a central team that supports and has dependencies on so many, but it’s all handled with positivity and an unwavering desire to make things better. They make me proud. 🥰

One new thing I have learnt in the last year…

To coach! I’ve completed a coaching course in my own time since October, and I’m doing a coaching qualification with ASOS. I’ve learnt so much about myself as well as coaching. It’s very rewarding to be able to help people realise their potential. I’ve not put it into practice an awful lot at ASOS yet, but I will be! I’m hoping we’ll see a coaching culture emerge across the business as I truly believe it will make ASOS an even greater place to work, with the added benefit of making it more successful.

My one piece of advice for aspiring women in tech…

Recognise how valuable you are. No one is the complete package, please focus on what you bring to the table and don’t be afraid to stand out. I think women are less likely to put their heads above the parapet (myself included), which robs the world of our amazing talent and potential!

I’m recruiting for SRE roles, if you want to focus on reliability please do get in touch or check out our open vacancies here.

Cat is the Head of Reliability Engineering at ASOS. She loves the sun, being out in nature, spending time at home with her girls and being with friends.