ASOS Tech Blog
Published in

ASOS Tech Blog

A day in the life of… Sarah McLarnin (Associate Platform Engineer)

My alarm clock goes off…

My first alarm goes off at 06:30 and after hitting snooze what feels like 100 times, I will normally roll out of bed shortly after 07:00!

My commute to work…

Despite not being the best morning person (nothing a coffee can’t fix), I like to get into the office bright and early — usually for 08:00. Don’t get me wrong, there are days when I will have a lie-in and come in shortly after 09:00. We can start between 08:00 and 10:00 so it’s handy to have the option!

I’m responsible for…

I’m an Associate Platform Engineer which essentially means I’m a type of Software Engineer that works specifically in the cloud. My team is responsible for maintaining the infrastructure that ASOS’ Data Services software is deployed upon.

Much of my role is focused on provisioning resources and task automation (in the form of pipelines) — all with security in mind to ensure the platforms we use are reliable and scalable.

I got the job…

Not via the traditional route into tech by any means! I have a pretty mixed bag of experience, mostly in sales and marketing. Back in 2020, I was due to start a new marketing role, but my contract was withdrawn a few days before my start date due to Covid. It was then that I decided to go back to university and do a Master’s in Software Development — something I had considered for a while and was finally brave enough to do!

When I was finishing up my Master’s, I saw ASOS had plans to start up a Belfast tech hub and as an avid ASOS fan I had to apply! I applied through the ASOS Assured Skills Academy just before Christmas 2021 and started the Academy in January 2022. The Academy ran for 10 weeks and during this time I studied a variety of topics from C#, SQL to cloud computing. Keep an eye out for other ASOS Assured Skills Academies in Belfast!

My typical day…

First things first — coffee! Then, I’ll take a look at my calendar, reply to any emails and look at what priorities I have based on our team’s sprint board. Every morning we have a stand-up which is a short meeting to chat about how our tasks are progressing and to see if we need any support. My team is based across Belfast and London so it’s good to have a catch-up with those we don’t see in the office!

After stand-up, I’ll work on any tickets assigned to me. Recently I’ve been working on converting pipelines created through the DevOps user interface into YAML, to get them into source control. Having the pipelines in YAML means that CI/CD strategies can be implemented as code, allowing us to see history as well as making collaboration easier since we can see different versions and make changes to multiple aspects at once.

After lunch, I like to have a catch-up with the other Associate Platform Engineers in my team. Since there are three of us, we like sharing ideas and often have calls to show each other any wins we’ve had or simply to help each other out. Having two other close team members to bounce ideas off helps me to learn new approaches and ways of tackling tasks.

My most memorable moment at ASOS…

Something that was a milestone moment for me was my first day as an ASOSer. After 10 weeks of intense training, it felt like a massive achievement to be able to sit in a room with my fellow cohort from the Assured Skills Academy — officially as colleagues!

Newly qualifiied Assured Skills ASOSers

The best part of my job…

For one, I’m constantly encouraged to take my ideas and run with them. Just last month, I was keen for the Belfast office to get involved with a local charity and since then we have formed a committee and planned our first event. I have also been working closely with the team in London to start planning such activities for the ASOS Foundation too. As much as I love the tech side, there’s so much more to get involved with — from charity activities, social events, Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion to Women in Tech.

I also have to give a special shout-out to the 40% discount, for obvious reasons!

Tell us what you get up to in the evenings…

Since I’m sitting at a desk pretty much most of the day, I like to get outside and I’ll usually take my dog, Ralph, for a big walk and throw a tennis ball about for him!

I also really enjoy getting creative and have an unhealthy addiction to interior design subscriptions which isn’t always a good combo. Recently I’ve been enjoying (attempting to) make different trinkets out of clay. Some are better than others, but it’s always good fun!

My one piece of advice for aspiring women in tech…

Don’t let imposter syndrome stop you from being you! It can sometimes be scary being the only female in the room but it’s important to back yourself, be confident in your abilities and stand up for what you believe in.

Sarah is an Associate Platform Engineer at ASOS in the Data Services team. Outside of work, she enjoys travelling, trying to keep her houseplants alive and chasing her dogs on the beach.



A collective effort from ASOS's Tech Team, driven and directed by our writers. Learn about our engineering, our culture, and anything else that's on our mind.

Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store